Paris: Novak Djokovic can become the first man in 52 years to win all four Grand Slam titles twice in the French Open final on Sunday after conquering Rafael Nadal, the ‘Mount Everest’ of Roland Garros.
World number one Djokovic takes on Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas for the title with tennis history on the line.
Victory for the Serb will take him alongside Roy Emerson and Rod Laver as the only men to capture the four majors more than once.
It’s an achievement that has proved even beyond the capabilities of Nadal and Roger Federer.
It is so rare an accomplishment that it hasn’t happened since 1969 when Laver completed his second calendar Grand Slam.
Djokovic can pocket a 19th Slam with victory and move just one behind the record of 20 jointly held by Nadal and Federer.
Djokovic insists there will be no letdown physically or emotionally after reaching the final in Paris for a sixth time with an epic triumph over 13-time champion Nadal.
“It’s not the first time that I play an epic semi-final in a Grand Slam and then I have to come back in less than 48 hours and play finals,” said the 34-year-old.
“My recovery abilities have been pretty good throughout my career.”
His four-hour, four-set battle with Nadal is already jostling for a prime spot in the list of “greatest ever matches” at the Slams.
It featured a lung-busting 92-minute third set and required government intervention to allow the 5,000 fans inside Court Philippe Chatrier to watch the match’s conclusion despite it extending beyond the 11pm Covid-19 curfew.
The 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 triumph gave Djokovic the honour of being the only man to have beaten Nadal in Paris more than once, having first achieved it in the 2015 quarter-finals.
Nadal has only lost three times in 108 matches since his title-winning debut in 2005.
Djokovic, the 2016 champion, said it was his best win in Paris and ranked it among his “three greatest” ever performances. AFP