Novak Djokovic became the first man in nearly a half-century to win four consecutive major championships and finally earned an elusive French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam, beating Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday in Paris.
This was the top-seeded Djokovic’s 12th appearance at Roland Garros, and his fourth final, and after being stymied in years past, he managed to cast aside a shaky opening set to dominate No. 2 Murray the rest of the way, buoyed by a supportive crowd that repeatedly chanted his nickname, “No-le!”
When his victory was over, Djokovic took a racket to etch a heart in the red clay that had given him such heartache in the past, then dropped down on his back.
Since losing the 2015 final in Paris, Djokovic has won 28 Grand Slam matches in a row, from Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, to the Australian Open in January, and now, at long last, the French Open.
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PATH TO FRENCH OPEN TITLE
First round: beat Lu Yen-hsun 6-4, 6-1, 6-1
Second round: beat Steve Darcis 7-5, 6-3, 6-4
Third round: beat Aljaz Bedene 6-2, 6-3, 6-3
Fourth round: beat Roberto Bautista Agut 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5
Quarterfinals: beat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-3
Semifinals: beat Dominic Thiem 6-2, 6-1, 6-4
Final: beat Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4
HOW HE GOT HERE
How Djokovic won the other Grand Slam events during the streak:
Feb. 1, 2016 in Melbourne – To watch Novak Djokovic sweep aside Andy Murray in the closing round of this Australian Open was to watch a champion still in command. Although Murray made Djokovic grind for his record-tying sixth Australian Open men’s singles title, Murray could not win a set. Final score: 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (3) in favor of Djokovic, who is now tied with Roy Emerson for the career lead among men’s champions at this tournament.
Sept. 13, 2015 in New York – After stopping Roger Federer’s momentum in four sets in this year’s Wimbledon final, Novak Djokovic did the same on Sunday, prevailing against an inspired opponent and a hostile crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Djokovic’s 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory gave him a second U.S. Open singles title and a 10th Grand Slam singles title, moving him into a tie with Bill Tilden for seventh place on the career list.
July 12, 2015 in Wimbledon, England – For the second year in a row, Novak Djokovic solved Roger Federer’s superb serve in the final at the All England Club. This time, the No. 1-seeded Djokovic beat No. 2 Federer 7-6 (1), 6-7 (10), 6-4, 6-3 thanks to brilliant returning.
BY THE NUMBERS
1: World ranking (since July 7, 2014).
2: Career U.S. Open titles (2-4 in finals).
3: Men to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time.
3: Career Wimbledon titles (3-1 in finals).
3: Men who have won more Grand Slam titles than Djokovic: Roger Federer (17), Rafael Nadal (14) and Pete Sampras (14).
6: Career Australian Open titles (6-0 in finals).
7: Men before Djokovic to complete the career Grand Slam: Andre Agassi, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Roger Federer, Rod Laver, Rafael Nadal and Fred Perry.
8: Losses in Grand Slam finals.
11: Sets lost in Grand Slam matches during the streak.
12: Championships won in Grand Slam events.
12: Appearances in the French Open (1-3 in finals).
28: Matches won in Grand Slam events during the streak.
The New York Times contributed to this report; compiled by Noel Harris.