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Sporting Flashback: How Djokovic joined the greats of the game


Just champion: Novak Djokovic winning the French Open

Just champion: Novak Djokovic winning the French Open

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Just champion: Novak Djokovic winning the French Open

Novak Djokovic completed the career Grand Slam on this day four years ago as he got his hands on the French Open title after coming from a set down to beat Andy Murray in the final.

In defeating Murray 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-4 at Roland Garros, Djokovic became the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four grand slam crowns at the same time.

Djokovic had on three previous occasions lost in the French Open final - twice to nemesis and clay king Rafael Nadal in 2012 and 2014 while Stan Wawrinka thwarted the Serbian in 2015. However, with Nadal in the midst of a slump in form and Roger Federer withdrawing altogether because of injury, Djokovic was the overwhelming favourite to get his hands on the trophy he coveted most.

He lost only one set en route to the final, while Andy Murray spent much longer on court after being taken to a decider in each of his first two matches.

Djokovic boasted a 23-10 lead in his head-to-head rivalry with Murray, although the Scot had gained his first clay-court win over the world number one in Rome the previous month.

And it was Murray who came out firing on all cylinders and after three quarters of an hour and at the third time of asking, Murray wrapped up the opener.

Djokovic discovered his rhythm at the start of the second set, establishing a 2-0 lead after Murray double faulted on break point down.

From there, Djokovic began to dominate the exchanges with powerful backhands and delicate drop shots to level proceedings.

The momentum was with Djokovic in the third as he broke twice to move into a two-sets-to-one lead. Murray dropped serve at the start of the fourth but refused to throw the towel in at 5-2 down, pulling a break back. However, he netted a backhand to give Djokovic the win after a little more than three hours.

After getting his hands on the Coupe de Mousquetaires for the first time and becoming the eighth man in history to complete a career Grand Slam, Djokovic lay flat on his back in the clay as he soaked in his achievement.

"It's a very special moment," he said afterwards. Murray said: "To Novak, this is his day. What he's achieved the last 12 months is phenomenal, winning all four of the grand slams in one year is an amazing achievement and this is something that is so rare in tennis."

Belfast Telegraph