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Nadal and Djokovic: Old foes chase glory

tennis Updated: Jun 08, 2014 10:58 IST
French Open


This is their 42nd clash, so there will be few surprises for the world’s top two players Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic when they face each other over the net in the French Open final on Sunday.

Both are looking to cement their positions among the greats. Nadal is gunning to be the first man to win five straight Paris titles to take his total to nine. Djokovic wants to complete his career Grand Slam by bagging the only major to elude him.

They each have the strokes and the stamina. It will come down to who can control their on-court aggression and handle the pressure better in front of the 15,000 crowd on Philippe Chatrier.

“He has the pressure to win for the first time. I have the pressure that I want to win and the motivation that I want to win the ninth,” Spaniard Nadal said.

“I’m going to go on court with the same motivation than him. I don’t know if the same pressure than him. Probably we are in different situations.”

The Serbian second seed said he was trying not to get carried away by the stress of the occasion, after a wobble in the semis allowed Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis to take a set off him before he regained his near metronomic consistency.

On paper, Djokovic, 27, may appear to have the upper hand, having won their last four tussles, including on the red dirt in Rome last month, when he dismantled Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to hand the No 1 his third claycourt loss this year.

But they are not playing on paper. They are playing on the Roland Garros clay, Nadal’s spiritual home, where he has an eye-watering 65-1 win-loss record.