Djokovic eyes Golden Slam, turns rivals green with envy

Mon Jun 6, 2016 6:43am EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

PARIS (Reuters) - He is the tennis version of the Incredible Hulk and on Sunday Novak Djokovic made his closest rivals turn green with envy as he finally achieved something no man had accomplished for nearly half a century.

Playing what he described as "flawless tennis" over the last three sets of his 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-4 win over Andy Murray, Djokovic cracked his Roland Garros jinx at the 12th attempt -- and fourth final there -- to win the French Open.

It allowed the Serbian world number one to hold all four grand slam titles at the same time -- a milestone that is so difficult to reach that it had not been done by a man since Australian Rod Laver won the second of his calendar Grand Slams in 1969.

In an era when it is tough to keep track of the countless records achieved by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal -- who own 31 majors between them -- Djokovic managed to complete a feat that was tantalizingly just out of reach for his rivals-in-chief.

"It's one of the ultimate challenges that you have as a tennis player. I'm very proud, very thrilled," he said on becoming the third man after Don Budge and Laver to hold the Wimbledon, U.S., Australian and French Open titles simultaneously.

Federer had two attempts at completing four in a row -- in 2006 and 2007 -- but each time he was thwarted in the French Open final by Nadal.

The Spaniard similarly arrived at the 2011 Australian Open as the holder of three grand slam titles but fell in the quarter-finals.

Despite all their success, Federer and Nadal, who are among eight men to have completed a career grand slam, never managed to win the Australian-French Opens back-to-back.   Continued...

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros - Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with the trophy at Place de la Concorde, a day after winning the tournament - Paris, France - 06/06/16.   REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes