PARIS, June 5, 2016
Novak Djokovic completes his career Slam, winning Sunday’s final of the French Open against Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. By clinching his 12th major title he joins Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to succeed at all of the world’s four greatest tennis tournaments.
After a slow start, the world number one managed to find his rhythm in the following sets, winning 76% of his first service points, hitting 41 winners to secure victory to convert his third match point after three hours of play.
“A lot has been going on in my mind ever since I arrived in Paris, but I felt like this year when I arrived that it’s really different from any other year. The relationship and connection I had with fans and with people around that are contributing to the organization of the event, that I see on a daily basis, from security to ball boys, ball girls and all the people around, it was just different,” Djokovic told after lifting his first trophy at Roland Garros.
“Obviously, as any other year, I was hoping that this is the year. I felt that kind of support and love from the people around that allowed me to be sitting here with the trophy. That’s for sure. That kind of support was very well present at the stadium today.
“I entered the court quite prepared. I started well in the first game, and then I dropped four games. You know, nerves kicked in. I needed a little bit of time to really find the right rhythm and start to play the way I intended, which happened in the beginning of the second and practically till 5-2 in the fourth set. It was flawless tennis. I really felt like I played on a high quality and putting a lot of pressure on Andy’s serves and just trying to hang in there,” Djokovic told in his post-match conference.
“I was coming into the court today knowing that I need to give it all in every aspect of my being and every meaning of that word in order to win this trophy, and when I broke him the second time and I got to 5-2 in the fourth, I just started laughing. I don’t know. I had that kind of emotion. I didn’t feel too much pressure, honestly. Maybe I took things a bit too lightly and just played a loose game at 5-2. Andy encouraged himself each point to come back and fight through, which he did,” the 29-year-old from Serbia analyzed the encounter on court Philippe Chatrier.
“You train as a professional athlete to always be in the moment and focus on the next point and not care too much about what’s in the past or what is coming up because you can’t influence that. We’re all humans, and arriving so close like never before in my life to this trophy and winning it, I felt it. I felt the tension and excitement, all the emotions. I was just trying to focus on serving well, getting the first serve in and trying to put myself in a good position those points, which I have done in the last couple of exchanges. In the last point I don’t even remember what happened. It was really one of those moments where you just try to be there. It’s like my spirit has left my body and I was just observing my body, you know, fight the last three, four exchanges, going left to right and hoping that Andy will make a mistake, which has happened.”
Murray had to admit the defeat.
“He did play extremely well. Gave me very few errors. Started hitting the ball a bit close to the lines and I was sort of dropping a bit far back behind the baseline. Against him, obviously if you’re letting the best players control points, that’s tough. I wasn’t able to dictate enough points after the beginning of the match, and made it tough,” the world number two said.
“I am very disappointed. 13 days ago, I maybe would have signed to have been in this position. I was struggling. I was a couple of points from going out of the tournament in the first round but then when you get there obviously you want to win. I didn’t do that today. Right now I’m very disappointed, but obviously the tournament could have been quite different.”
Murray is looking forward to the start of the grass court season now, playing at the Aegon Championships at the Queen’s Club next.
“I have played some of my best tennis on clay, for sure, over the last few weeks and definitely last couple of years. Hopefully that translates well onto the grass, which is a surface that comes way more natural to me. So, I will try and have a good run on the grass. If we meet on the grass, try and learn from the last few weeks’ matches and see things I could have done better.”