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Ruud: Novak Is Not Human

Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Casper Ruud of Norway pose with their winners and runners up trophies after the Men’s Singles Final match on Day Fifteen of the 2023 French Open at Roland Garros on June 11, 2023 in Paris, France. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

A backhand bolt whizzed past Casper Ruud leaving the world No. 4 looking haunted by the ruthless spirit rising on the red clay.

After tennis terminator Novak Djokovic dismantled Ruud 7-6(1), 6-3, 7-5 in the Roland Garros final today to capture his men’s record 23 major championship, Ruud exposed the secret of the Serbian’s success.

“Novak is just not human sometimes,” Ruud told NBC’s Maria Taylor after falling in his second straight French Open final today.

While the fourth-ranked Ruud took an early 4-1 lead, Djokovic’s precision and prescience turned this final into fright fight.

“It’s just scary how good [Novak] can play, how well he reads the game, how much he sort of makes you work for every point,” Ruud said. “I’m disappointed that I let him get away in the second set. I wasn’t able to keep it close in the beginning [of the second] then just did my best from there…

“In the end, I had a game plan. It worked well in the beginning and then he had the answers. He was just too good in all the sets.”

At 36 years, 20 days, Djokovic is the oldest Roland Garros men’s champion in history, breaking rival Rafael Nadal’s record. Djokovic made history as the first man to win each of the four Grand Slam titles three times.

Ultimately, Ruud said Djokovic stands as both conqueror and inspiration.

“I was maybe hoping he would feel the pressure, be a little nervous, but at the same time he has more motivation than ever he’s playing to get a new record; 23 Slams is just a ridiculous number,” Ruud said. “And it’s tough to describe how incredible it is.

“It’s another day of history in the tennis world and he’s set the bar high now. It’s inspiring to see how much someone can achieve in a career.”