During a breezy afternoon in Paris, Novak Djokovic achieved a new milestone at the French Open by surpassing one of Rafael Nadal’s records. He advanced to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros.
Novak Djokovic secured his spot in the quarterfinals of the French Open for the 17th time with a dominant 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory over Peru’s Juan Pablo Varillas on Sunday. This win also surpassed Rafael Nadal’s record of 16 appearances at this stage, as he was unable to compete in this year’s tournament.
The victory brought the Serbian player closer to breaking the men’s record for most career grand slams, now at 23. Djokovic is currently tied with Nadal, who revealed on Saturday that he will be taking a five-month break from the game due to a recent hip surgery, both with 22 grand slam wins.
Varillas holds the 94th spot in the global rankings, but at Roland Garros, they achieved the feat of being the first Peruvian player in 29 years to make it to the fourth round of a major tournament.
Unfortunately, he was not able to compete with the third-ranked Djokovic. Djokovic will now face 11th seeded Russian player Karen Khachanov.
The Serbian player has had a contentious week due to a political statement he made about Kosovo during the tournament. He has since reaffirmed his stance on the issue.
Following his successful first round win on Monday, Djokovic expressed his support for Serbia by writing “Kosovo is the [heart symbol] of Serbia. Stop the violence” on a TV camera lens. This statement was made in response to recent violent conflicts in Kosovo, a region that declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
“I understand that many may have differing opinions, but this is my stance,” Djokovic stated on Wednesday following his win against Hungary’s Márton Fucsovics in the second round. “It’s something I strongly believe in.”
On Wednesday, he stated, “I don’t believe I can achieve a drama-free grand slam. I suppose that also motivates me.”