On Sunday, Novak Djokovic made history as the first player in the Open Era to win all four Grand Slams twice. The World No.1 beat fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7(6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in four hours, 11 minutes, to win the French Open men's title, and secure his 19th Grand Slam trophy. But as thousands take to social media platforms to congratulate him, netizens are loath to forget his opponent.
Djokovic dropped the first two sets of the French Open final against the younger and fresher Stefanos Tsitsipas, looking diminished and depleted at the outset. But while the 22-year-old Tsitsipas initially retained the upper hand with a 2-0 lead, the Serbian rallied strongly to beat the fifth-seeded Tsitsipas 6-7 (6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
"It was not easy for me, both physically and mentally," Djokovic told the media. Eventually, though, Djokovic started making fewer mistakes, got his best-in-the-game returning on track and served so flawlessly down the stretch that he did not face a single break point over the last three sets.
Taking to Instagram after the match, Tsitsipas revealed that he had received news of his grandmother's death mere minutes before the match commenced.
"Five minutes before entering the court my very beloved grandmother lost her battle with life...I would like to say that regardless of the day, circumstance or situation, this is entirely dedicated to her, and only her," he added.
Stefanos Tsitsipas incidentally is the first Greek player to reach a Grand Slam final. And while he may not have won the match, Twitter was brimming over with congratulatory messages for the player on Monday morning. "Congratulations! Novak Djokovic one of the toughest ever final. Tough fight by Stefanos Tsitsipas," read one tweet.
"You are the winner in our hearts!" assured another user tagging him.
Take a look at some of the reactions:
The 34-year-old Djokovic had earlier eliminated 13-time French Open champion Nadal - a challenge the Serb likened to scaling Mt. Everest - in a semifinal that lasted more than four hours on Friday night. He is now just one major trophy away from tying the men's record of 20 shared by Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The reigning Australian Open champion also stands halfway to a calendar-year Grand Slam - something no man has accomplished since Rod Laver in 1969.