PARIS: French Open runner-up Casper Ruud tipped Novak Djokovic to break the all-time record for Grand Slam titles after the Serb claimed his 23rd major on Sunday by winning at Roland Garros for the third time.

Djokovic, 36, moved out in front of Rafael Nadal as the man with the most Grand Slam triumphs, drawing level with Serena Williams and to within one of Margaret Court’s record of 24.

He is the first man to win all four majors at least three times and is once again halfway to the first calendar Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.

“He holds all the records and these stats that are just ridiculous,” said Ruud, the 24-year-old Norwegian who lost 7-6 (7/1), 6-3, 7-5 to Djokovic.

“Just shows how complete of a player he is. He can win on any surface, anywhere, any balls that we play with. He will be up for the challenge.

“And now it’s probably the most significant record that he breaks of 23 Slams. But I’m sure he will aim for even more if I know him the right way.”

“He’s not done yet, I think,” added Ruud, who has yet to take a set off Djokovic in five meetings.

“He’s one of the biggest legends of our sport, and hopefully one day I can beat him. But at the Grand Slam level, it’s going to be tough, for sure.”

‘Can’t sit and make excuses’

Twelve months on from losing in the final to Rafael Nadal, Ruud finished as runner-up for the third time in five Grand Slam tournaments after also being defeated by Carlos Alcaraz at the 2022 US Open.

“Anyone you play in a Grand Slam final is going to be a good player,” said Ruud.

“But the three players I’ve played is just Rafa going for, at the time, the record for 22, and then Carlos who was just on fire in New York, and then here, Novak, going for 23. I played very tough players.”

“I can’t just sit and make excuses,” he added.

“I think this is maybe the most important final that I reached. Here I sort of proved that whatever happened last year is just not like a one-time case.”

Ruud will head to Wimbledon with limited expectations having won just one match in three visits to the All England Club.

He went out in the first round in 2019 and 2021 before falling in the second round a year ago as the third seed.

But he hopes his latest run in Paris will further boost his standing within the sport and eventually help him go all the way at a Grand Slam.

“Probably going to plant some respect in my opponents’ eyes and hopefully I can build on that, and one day I’m gonna try to obviously aim for a slam title,” said Ruud.

“That’s my biggest goal, my biggest dream in my career and in my life. It’s been close, but close but no cigar, so I’m going to keep working and try to get it one day.”


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