Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal share the record for the most Grand Slam titles in men's singles tennis history. But Novak Djokovic has now done something that neither of those two has: complete the career Grand Slam twice.
On Sunday, Djokovic won the 2021 French Open in impressive fashion, rallying back against Stefanos Tsitsipas to earn a 6-7 (8), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory at Stade Roland-Garros. With his second French Open title, Djokovic joined Roy Emerson and Rod Laver as the only men to achieve a career Grand Slam more than once.
Because of Nadal's French Open pedigree (he had won the tournament 13 times in 16 years heading into the 2021 event), Djokovic had only captured the French Open title once before, back in 2016. But this year, the top-seeded Serb took down the No. 3-seeded Nadal in the semifinals before defeating Tsitsipas, the No. 5 seed, to end up on top.
But there were numerous times in each of Djokovic's past two matches when he appeared to be on the verge of elimination. In the semis, Djokovic lost the first set 6-3. And when Nadal starts strong at Roland-Garros, that typically spells trouble for his opponent.
Yet Djokovic won three straight sets to defeat Nadal and advance to Sunday's final. That included winning the crucial third set, which went to a tiebreaker that Djokovic took 7-4.
Djokovic was in even greater danger against Tsitsipas, who took the first two sets of their match and appeared to have a great chance to earn his first career win at a major tournament. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Tsitsipas was 20-0 when winning the first two sets at a Grand Slam event before Sunday, while Djokovic was 0-5 when going down 2-0 in a Grand Slam final.
While Djokovic had an impressive comeback, Tsitsipas didn't help himself out as he tried to put things away. After committing only 12 unforced errors over the first two sets, he had 11 in the third set, per the ATP Tour. Djokovic then lost only three service points while winning the fourth set.
The Serb kept the momentum going in the fifth to secure the 19th Grand Slam title of his career, moving one shy of the all-time men's singles record held by Federer and Nadal.
At the other three major tournaments, Djokovic has had no trouble winning multiple times, as he owns nine Australian Open titles, five Wimbledon titles and three U.S. Open titles. It took longer for Djokovic to win two French Opens, but he's finally made history by doing so.
"Of course, I am thrilled, and I'm very proud of this achievement," Djokovic said, per the ATP Tour. "[Being] part of the history of the sport that I love with all my heart is always something that is very inspiring and very fulfilling for me. I couldn't be happier and more satisfied with this kind of scenario in the last 48 hours."
For Tsitsipas, Sunday marked the first time he had played in a Grand Slam final. He had reached the semifinals at a major tournament three times before, including the 2020 French Open, where he also lost to Djokovic in a five-set match, nearly coming back from a 2-0 deficit of his own.
Tsitsipas is only 22, so it's likely he's going to win a Grand Slam title at some point—and potentially even more than one. But right now, Djokovic is just too tough to beat. His latest triumph means the 34-year-old has won seven of the past 11 Grand Slam events.