Novak Djokovic: How world No 1 can match unique Steffi Graf feat with French Open victory

Novak Djokovic and Steffi Graf
Novak Djokovic is looking to match Steffi Graf.

Novak Djokovic and Steffi Graf are two names you’ll see more than once when trawling through the tennis record books.

No man has spent more weeks as world No 1 than Djokovic, no woman has spent more time at the top than Graf, and both have their fair share of other individual achievements.

Djokovic is the first man to win 24 Grand Slam singles titles – and could yet extend that record further – while Graf is the only player in history to achieve the Calendar Golden Slam, doing so in 1988.

The Serbian’s 24 Grand Slam singles titles puts him narrowly ahead of the German’s total of 22 majors, but all-time great Graf holds a record that, so far, no one has ever emulated.

But it is a record that is within striking distance for Djokovic at the French Open – can he win the title, and emulate one of the most extraordinary feats in tennis?

What’s at stake

Victory in last year’s Roland Garros final against Casper Ruud saw Djokovic claim a third French Open title, and a 23rd Grand Slam singles title overall.

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Triumph at the US Open later that season saw him win a 24th major, with a combined collection of 10 Australian Open, seven Wimbledon, four US Open, and three Roland Garros crowns to his name.

That makes him the only man in history to win every major at least three times, with Rafael Nadal the only other man to win multiple titles at all four events.

Djokovic is level with fellow legend Serena Williams by winning all four Grand Slams on at least three occasions, with the American also holding three French Open titles – making it technically the weakest major for both.

Only Graf is ahead of them, with the 22-time major winner the only player in history – male or female – to win each major at least four times.

Graf won her fourth and final Australian Open crown in 1994, and won Wimbledon seven times, the French Open six times, and the US Open five times.

Of all of the German’s immense accomplishments – of which there are many – perhaps it is only her Golden Slam of 1988 that sits ahead of this feat.

The consistency demonstrated across all four Slams, across three differing surfaces, is remarkable, and highlights why she is so revered.

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Djokovic’s chances of emulating this feat have in the past been hindered by Nadal, who has conclusively dominated at Roland Garros.

But he has been handed a gilt-edged chance to emulate this and create more history over the next few weeks, despite his patchy form in 2024.

Key rivals Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz enter under a significant injury cloud, while the likes of Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are yet to get over the hurdle of winning a major.

The world No 1 dominates the record books, and could yet join Graf in writing another very special chapter of tennis history.