Novak Djokovic is halfway to a Grand Slam.
After dropping the first two sets to 22-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, the top-seeded Djokovic rallied to win his second French Open crown, 6-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. The victory, coupled with the Australian Open championship he won earlier this year, gave Djokovic his 19th career Grand Slam title, one behind the men’s record shared by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The tournament’s No. 5 seed, Tsitsipas came into the match much fresher than Djokovic, who knocked off Rafael Nadal in a four-hour-plus semifinal late Friday night.
“It’s not the first time that I play an epic semifinal in a Grand Slam and then I have to come back in less than 48 hours and play a final. My recovery abilities are pretty good, I must say, throughout my career,” Djokovic said Friday. “I know what I need to do.”
The 22-year-old Tsitsipas won the first set 7-6, breaking Djokovic when the Serbian had a chance to serve out the set. Tsitsipas then seemingly had the upper hand after winning the second set 6-2, but Djokovic stormed back to win the next two and force a decisive fifth set.
Djokovic took control of the match by breaking Tsitsipas in the second game of the fifth set and holding serve the rest of the way.
The age gap between Tsitsipas and the 34-year-old Djokovic is the largest for a French Open men’s final since Mats Wilander, 17, defeated Guillermo Vilas, 29, in 1982.
Until today, Tsitsipas had never advanced past the semifinals at any of the four majors. He made the semis of the 2021 and 2019 Aussie Open and the semis of last year’s French.
Djokovic has now won seven of the last 11 Grand Slam events.