Djokovic joins greats with maiden French Open title

Sports Sunday 05/June/2016 21:00 PM
By: Times News Service
Djokovic joins greats with maiden French Open title

Paris: Novak Djokovic joined the tennis greats on Sunday when he downed British second seed Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 to claim his maiden French Open title and hold all four grand slams at the same time.
The world number one recovered from a nervous start to impose his pace on Court Philippe Chatrier and clinch his 12th grand slam crown after three previous failures in a Roland Garros final.
Djokovic is only the third man after Don Budge and Rod Laver to hold the four majors at the same time, and the eighth man to triumph at Wimbledon and the French, U.S. and Australian Opens.
"It's a very special moment, possibly the biggest moment in my career," the 29-year-old, who now has a 5-2 win-loss record against Murray in grand slam finals, said courtside.
It looked like Djokovic got off to a dream start, taking Murray's serve to love in the first game.
But the Briton, who was playing his 10th final at a major, hit the ball early to set up three break points in the following game, converting the third with a fine lob. He held to love and then broke again, winning 16 of 20 points to lead 4-1.
Tension threatened to boil over when Murray shouted "get him out", pointing to a French TV interviewer who was in the player's box, before Djokovic had an altercation with the chair umpire.
As Murray was serving for the set, he was awarded a point to lead 30-0, Djokovic having hit his return before an 'out' call on the serve was made.
"The call was after you hit the ball. I'm 100 per cent sure," Damien Dumusois told a frustrated Djokovic.
Murray, who beat Djokovic in the Rome Masters finals on clay last month, went on to win the set when his opponent netted a backhand.
He had a break point in the first game of the second set but that was as good as it got for the Scot.
Djokovic, his aggression now channelled and matched by his accuracy, won the remaining games.
He raced to a 4-1 lead in the third set, breaking in the fifth game with a delicate angled drop shot that triggered chants of 'Nole, Nole, Nole, Nole' in the stands.
There was no comeback in that set for the 29-year-old Murray, who then dropped serve in the opening game of the fourth set.
Djokovic, who is now on a 28-match winning streak in grand slams, broke to love to lead 5-2. Murray pulled a break back but Djokovic shook off late jitters to win the title on his third match point when the Scot netted a backhand at the end of a nail-biting rally.

Australian Open: 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016
French Open 2016
Wimbledon: 2011, 2014, 2015
U.S. Open: 2011, 2015
Born: Belgrade, May 22, 1987
Began playing tennis aged four.
His father was a professional skier and wanted his son to be a skier or professional soccer player but changed his mind when Djokovic excelled at tennis from an early age.
* First full year on tour in 2005: Made grand slam debut as a qualifier at the Australian Open, losing to Russian Marat Safin in the first round. Finished as the youngest player (18 years, five months) inside the top 100.
* In 2006, he won his first ATP tour title at Amersfoort.
* He retired in the 2006 French Open quarterfinals against Spaniard Rafael Nadal when trailing by two sets, and again a year later due to blisters in the Wimbledon semi-final against the same opponent.
*In 2007, he won five titles (Adelaide, Miami, Estoril, Montreal and Vienna) and reached his first grand slam final at the U.S. Open, losing to Federer.
*Beat Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win his maiden grand slam title at the 2008 Australian Open -- thus becoming the first Serbian man to win one of the four majors.
*Failed to successfully defend his title in Melbourne the following year after controversially pulling out of his quarter-final against American Andy Roddick citing heat exhaustion on a sweltering day.
*Led Serbia to their first Davis Cup title with victory over France in Belgrade in December 2010.
*Began 2011 by winning the Australian Open, beating Briton Andy Murray in the final, to end his three-year wait for a second grand slam title.
*Won his next six tournaments in Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Belgrade, Madrid and Rome. Did not lose again until June 3 when Federer ended his 41-match winning streak in the French Open semifinals.
*Secured the number one spot on July 4 2011 by beating Tsonga in the Wimbledon semi-finals, then beat Nadal to clinch his first Wimbledon crown, his first title on grass.
*Saved two match points to beat Federer in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open then defeated Nadal in the final to become the seventh man to win three grand slam titles in a year since tennis turned professional in 1968.
*Won his third Australian Open title in 2012 by beating Nadal in five hours and 53 minutes.
*Began 2013 by beating Murray to become the first man in the professional era to win three successive Australian Open titles.
*Beats Federer in a five-set Wimbledon final in 2014.
*Reached all four grand slam finals in 2015. Began the year by capturing a fifth Australian Open title, then missed out on the French Open again -- his third loss in the title match --after falling to Stan Wawrinka in the final.
*Five weeks later draws level with his coach Boris Becker's Wimbledon haul of three titles by defeating Federer in the All England Club final. Beat Federer in U.S. Open final, giving him three grand slam titles in a year for a second time.
*Beats Murray in the 2016 Australian Open final to win his 11th grand slam trophy.
*Beats Murray again in the French Open final to finally win the claycourt major at his 12th attempt. The win not only completes his grand slam collection but he also becomes only the third man -- after Don Budge and Rod Laver -- to hold all four majors at the same time.