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Djokovic captures first Roland-Garros title

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By Stuart Fraser   on   Sunday 05 June 2016

Novak Djokovic completes his Grand Slam set and becomes the first man since 1969 to simultaneously hold all four major titles after winning his first title at Roland-Garros.

The wait is finally over for Novak Djokovic. In his fourth Roland-Garros final, the Serbian triumphed at last to become the eighth man in history to complete the career Grand Slam.

Djokovic fought back from a set down to beat Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 6-4 over three hours and five minutes. As a result, the 29-year-old also becomes the third man ever to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, joining American Don Budge and Australian Rod Laver in a quite remarkable feat.

Djokovic said: “In the last point I don't even remember what happened. It was really one of those moments where you just try to be there.

“It's like my spirit has left my body and I was just observing my body, fight the last three, four exchanges, going left to right and hoping that Andy will make a mistake, which has happened. [It was] a thrilling moment. One of the most beautiful I have had in my career.”

Match point and heart: Novak Djokovic wins Roland-Garros

Djokovic came out knowing he had a dominant hold in recent times over Murray, winning 12 of their last 14 meetings since the 2013 Wimbledon final. He also had the crowd on his side, with a mixture of passionate Serbian fans and those hoping to witness history.

A Djokovic break in the opening game pleased his legions of fans but Murray immediately broke back with a neat drop shot and lob combination. Serving big and controlling the rallies with his forehand, Murray broke for 3-1 as Djokovic looked tense on his forehand.

With Murray serving for the set, Djokovic and his fans were furious when umpire Damien Dumusois decided to award a point to Murray rather than replay it after an incorrect out call by the line judge. After a cacophony of booing, Murray sealed the set as Djokovic dumped a backhand into the net.

Final highlights: Djokovic v. Murray

Murray knew how crucial winning the first set was. He had lost to Djokovic on all 19 occasions that he had lost the first set and all 10 of his wins over his arch-rival had come after winning the first set. He then came close to a break in the opening game of the second set, but Djokovic saved break point with a smash and managed to hold. This proved the turning point as a Murray double fault gave Djokovic the break for 2-0.

Galvanised and re-energised, Djokovic was in full flow and claimed a double break for 5-1 with a backhand winner down the line. Murray’s level had dropped and a backhand return into the net saw Djokovic serve out the set to level the match.

“It's like my spirit has left my body and I was just observing my body, fight the last three, four exchanges, going left to right and hoping that Andy will make a mistake, which has happened. [It was] a thrilling moment. One of the most beautiful I have had in my career.”

Murray had to work hard to hold his serve at the start of the third set as Djokovic ground him down. A poor volley from Murray, though, saw Djokovic break for 2-1 and a stunning angled pick-up sealed a double break at 4-1 as the match started to slip away from Murray. Djokovic then served out the set and, for the first time, moved to within one set of the Roland-Garros title and a career Grand Slam.

A break at the start of the fourth set took Djokovic a step closer, his defence unbreachable at times. Murray typically hung in there as he so often does but struggled to make any impact in his return games. A double break for 5-2 gave Djokovic two shots at serving out history but the nerves were clear to see as he failed the first time.

Murray then held to force Djokovic to try and serve it out a second time. Two championship points came and went amid almost unbearable tension before finally claiming his third, falling onto his back on the clay in both celebration and relief.

Djokovic said: "I entered the court quite prepared. I started well in the first game and then I dropped four games. Nerves kicked in. I needed a little bit of time to really find the right rhythm and start to play the way I intended, which happened in the beginning of the second and practically till 5-2 in the fourth set.

"It was flawless tennis. I really felt like I played on a high quality and putting a lot of pressure on Andy's serves and just trying to hang in there."

Final press conference: Novak Djokovic
Next Article: French duo claims first Grand Slam together
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