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French Open: Novak Djokovic says he will leave GOAT discussion for someone else as he looks ahead to Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic stood proudly at the pinnacle of men's tennis with a record 23rd Grand Slam title - and then warned his rivals there is plenty more still to come; the 36-year-old also confirmed Wimbledon will be his only grass-court tournament this summer

Serbia's Novak Djokovic points at 23 on his garment as he celebrates winning the men's singles final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Norway's Casper Ruud in three sets, 7-6, (7-1), 6-3, 7-5, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Sunday, June 11, 2023. Djokovic won his record 23rd Grand Slam singles title, breaking a tie with Rafael Nadal for the most by a man. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Image: Novak Djokovic will not be stopping at 23 Grand Slam titles

Novak Djokovic says he will leave the GOAT discussion for someone else after winning his 23rd Grand Slam at the French Open, while also revealing Wimbledon will be his only grass-court appearance this summer.

Since claiming his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 2008, Djokovic has been pursuing Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal through the history books, but he has surpassed both having broken the record he jointly held with Nadal by claiming his 23rd trophy at the French Open.

Djokovic's victory over Casper Ruud draws him level with Serena Williams and he could equal Margaret Court's all-time singles mark at Wimbledon next month.

It is now all but impossible to make the case for anyone other than Djokovic being the greatest male player of all time and, having won six of the last eight major tournaments he has played, at 36 he is more dominant than ever.

I still feel motivated, I still feel inspired to play the best tennis at these tournaments the most. I look forward already to Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic

"I don't want to say that I am the greatest because I feel it's disrespectful towards all the great champions in different eras of our sport that was played in a completely different way than it is played [on Sunday].

"So I leave those kind of discussions of who is the greatest to someone else. I have, of course, huge faith and confidence and belief in myself and for everything that I am and who I am and what I am capable of doing.

"I feel incredibly proud, fulfilled. Of course the journey is still not over. I feel, if I'm winning slams, why even think about ending the career that already has been going on for 20 years?

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"I still feel motivated, I still feel inspired to play the best tennis at these tournaments the most. I look forward already to Wimbledon.

"The grass season is around the corner, so for me it's going to be only Wimbledon in the plans. I will move to London quite soon and then train and get ready for another Grand Slam."

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Djokovic beat Casper Ruud in the final of the French Open to become the first man to win 23 Grand Slams

Djokovic arrived in Paris without a title on clay this season but once again has showed that probably his biggest strength is being able to peak when it really matters.

Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic has seen it all before. The former Wimbledon champion said: "He has this software in his head that he can switch when a Grand Slam comes.

"Grand Slam is a different sport comparing to other tournaments. The day we arrived here, he was better, he was more motivated, he was more hungry."

With Tom Brady, Kylian Mbappe, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Olivier Giroud and Mike Tyson all in attendance Djokovic celebrated with his support camp and then apologised for "torturing" them during his on-court speech.

"He is not an easy guy," Ivanisevic said. "Especially when something's not going his way. But we are here to put our back [for him] and to get beaten.

"He was torturing us, taking our nails off. A lot more things, but I cannot tell you that. But we are still here, we're alive. My heart is still OK. I'm an old man, I need to be careful of my heart.

"I'm very proud of him, especially the last two matches. He's unbelievable, and he's still moving like a cat on the court. He's there. Like a ninja, he's everywhere.

"He takes the legs, then he takes your soul, then he digs your grave and you have a funeral and you're dead. Bye-bye. Thank you for coming."

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Anne Keothavong thinks Djokovic has to be considered as the greatest of all time after winning his 23rd Grand Slam and becoming the first man ever to win at least three Slam titles at all the major tournaments

Ruud joins an unwanted club including Andy Murray, Ivan Lendl and Dominic Thiem of players to have lost their first three Grand Slam finals, with Carlos Alcaraz having got the better of him at the US Open last summer.

The Norwegian took confidence from having overcome a poor start to the season and his own doubts to make it back to the final, saying: "I think this is maybe the most important final that I reached.

"Here I sort of proved that whatever happened last year is not a one-time case. Even for next year when we come back to Roland Garros, people are going to look, 'Oh, Casper didn't just make one final but he made it twice'.

"Probably going to plant some respect in my opponents' eyes and hopefully I can build on that, and one day I'm going to try to obviously aim for a slam title. That's my biggest goal, my biggest dream in my career and in my life. It's been close - close but no cigar."

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