The no 1 in the world, Novak Djokovic, not even in his best form, was crowned for the seventh time in Paris, the 40e in Masters 1000, dominating the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (17e) 6-4, 6-3 Sunday.
Djokovic, 36, made his return to the circuit in the Parisian venue, after a break of a month and a half following his 24e record Grand Slam title at the US Open in September.
Bercy becomes the Masters 1000 tournament that he has won most often in his career, ahead of Miami and Rome.
This title is also the 97e of his career, which allows him to get closer to the record held by Jimmy Connors (109 titles) and Roger Federer (103).
Next objective, the end-of-year Masters in Turin, which he has won 6 times (a record he co-holds with Federer) and which brings together the top 8 in the world in mid-November.
With this victory, Djokovic took a giant step towards remaining on the throne of world tennis at the end of the season and reaching the never-before-reached milestone of 400 weeks in place of no 1 worldwide. This would be the eighth time in his exceptional career, at 36 years old, another record.
Arriving in Paris with only 500 points more than Alcaraz in the Race, the ranking for the calendar year, he will leave the French capital with more than 1000 points ahead of the young Spaniard. In Turin, a maximum of 1500 points are at stake.
The Serb also won his sixth trophy of the season, as many as his young Spanish rival.
For the second time in his career after 2021, he won at Roland-Garros and Bercy the same year. Andre Agassi is the only other player to have achieved this, in 1999.
But the Serbian had to fight this week, weakened by a virus and far from producing his best level, he was seriously pushed around in the Parisian room: 2 h 39 min by the Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor on Thursday, then 2 h 54 min by the champion outgoing Dane Holger Rune on Friday, and 3:01 am in the semi-final against Russian Andrey Rublev on Saturday.
In this final, which seemed to be played at a strange false rhythm, the Serb managed to take the Bulgarian’s throw into play on his first break point at 4-3, to win the first set 6-4 after 52 minutes.
The second round was of the same ilk. Djokovic, untouchable on his throw-in, first reached 2-2, to win 6-3, on the Bulgarian’s serve, in 1 hour 38 minutes of play.
He hasn’t lost for ten years against his opponent of the day, a player he has just beaten for the twelfth time in thirteen matches.
For Dimitrov, 32, who still eliminated the no 3 in the world, Daniil Medvedev, and the no 6, Stefanos Tsitsipas, in the semi-final this week, the drought continues, six years after winning his last trophy. He ended up in tears and with his head in his towel, supported by loud ovations from the Parisian public.
The old no 3 in the world, recent semi-finalist in Chengdu (China) and at the Masters 1000 in Shanghai, and quarter-finalist in Beijing between the two, nevertheless confirmed his current good form and will re-enter the top 15 for the first time since 2018.
He was playing in a Masters 1000 final for the second time (after his victory in Cincinnati in 2017).