Novak Djokovic will have a date with destiny when he takes on Casper Ruud in the Roland Garros men’s singles final on Sunday. The Serb’s eyes will be on a 23rd grand slam title, which would take him clear at the top of the men’s list for the first time in his career, setting a record in the process.
Djokovic is currently tied on 22 with Rafael Nadal, and two clear of Roger Federer’s total of 20. Those three players formed the so-called “big 3” of men’s tennis for much of the 21st century, but were often also looped in with Brit Andy Murray, who was away from the best of the rest — often included in the “big 4”.
Injuries have put a dampener on Murray’s career, as his hip became an issue for him. He came up with Djokovic since they were in the juniors, and while Murray no longer reaches the deepest stages of grand slams, he continues to put in remarkable performances, including a victory over Matteo Berrettini in the Australian Open earlier this year. This week, while Djokovic competes in the French Open final, Murray will be playing the final of the Surbiton Trophy in the UK, a tournament which is part of the ITF’s Challenger circuit.
Speaking to Eurosport following Djokovic’s defeat of world number one Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinal, Murray said “It would be amazing to see him do it on Sunday, I will be supporting him, and I hope he can do it because it is incredible what he has done. I think that was Novak’s 45th Grand Slam semi-final which is incredible numbers.” Djokovic has an incredible record at the major tournaments, having reached 34 finals in 70 attempts — a ratio unmatched by any other male competitor.
Murray, who is using this period of time to prepare for his home slam at Wimbledon by playing grass court tournaments, also had words of credit for the young Spaniard Alcaraz. Alcaraz is already a grand slam champion, winning the US Open in 2022. 3-time slam champion Murray also won his first slam at the 2012 US Open, and boasts of 7 other slam finals appearances. He is also one of only 7 men to have played in the final of every grand slam in the Open Era.
“Alcaraz is obviously going to win multiple slams, I feel like from my experience that when you are coming up against guys who have won 10 or 20 Grand Slams in the final or semifinals, it is different to competing against those players who have not had those experiences,” said Murray of Alcaraz after his 4-set loss in the semifinals.
“I did not watch the match but the fact that Alcaraz cramped probably suggests that he was feeling some nerves, which is completely normal and understandable in that situation,” concluded Murray.
Norwegian Casper Ruud is appearing in his third grand slam final, and will be looking to play spoilsport in a contest where Djokovic is heavily favoured.
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