Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2024

Novak Djokovic ‘glad to be part of history’ after 3am Roland Garros finish

Novak Djokovic has come through a four-and-a-half hour battle with Lorenzo Musetti, resulting in the latest finish in Roland Garros history.

Djokovic came from two-sets-to-one down to beat his Italian opponent, 7-5 6(6)-7 2-6 6-3 6-0, to progress to the second week of Roland Garros for an 18th time.

The match finished at 3:07am Parisian time, surpassing the previous record held by Rafael Nadal and Jannik Sinner that ended at 1:26am back in 2020.

This was the second time that Musetti had taken Djokovic to five sets at Roland Garros, something that the world No.1 paid credit to his opponent for, “I was in real trouble. Credit to Lorenzo for making me uncomfortable on court and playing some really amazing tennis, really high level.

“At one point, I didn’t know what to do. From both ends, he was getting a lot of balls back, winners from both corners, good servers, running every ball down the court. It didn’t feel great playing him in that third set and the beginning of the fourth.”

In his on-court interview, Djokovic thanked the fans who stayed on Court Philippe-Chatrier into the early hours, something that he continued to do in his press conference.

“I really mean what I said on the court that the crowd definitely got me going. I really needed that push, I needed that energy at two-all in the fourth,” explained Djokovic. “They started chanting my name, and I just felt a great new wave of willpower and energy. I think I was a different player from that moment onwards. I think from that moment onwards I only lost one game.”

He continued, “The fifth set was just amazing. I was on a high, riding that wave and really not letting go of that stranglehold that I created on Lorenzo at the end of the fourth. I just kept going, kept on plugging away and an amazing winner to finish the match.”

Djokovic then reacted to the news that he had made more history, with the latest ever finish at the Paris major, “I heard it was the latest finish of Roland Garros in history, so I’m glad to be part of the history with Lorenzo. I told him at the net that he played amazing and it was a great battle. I know it’s a tough one to swallow, but he can be proud of his performance.”

Despite being part of history, it was clear at some stages during the match that Djokovic was not enjoying being out on court at that time.

The match did not even take to the court until 10:40pm due to rain delays causing schedule changes, but Djokovic did not appear to want to get involved in a debate.

“I don’t want to get into it [the schedule],” responded the 24-time major winner. “I have my opinions but I think there are great things to talk about in this match today. Both Lorenzo and my performances stand out, so I don’t want to be talking about the schedule.

“I think some things could have been handled a different way but there’s also a beauty in winning a match [so late].”

Djokovic will have to try and recover today, before taking on Argentine Francisco Cerundolo in his fourth round match on Monday.

Inside the baseline…

Even after all of the things that Novak Djokovic has achieved in his career, this was a seriously impressive feat. Although it is never ideal to finish a match this late, maybe this is what Djokovic needed after a tricky first half of 2024. Lorenzo Musetti was playing some outstanding clay court tennis last night, but the world No.1 just showed why he is so good in a best-of-five set format.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.