Spaniard Rafael Nadal knows he will have to up the ante in the Final of the 2014 French Open as he goes head to head with Serbian rival Novak Djokovic on Sunday.
Spaniard Rafael Nadal knows he will have to up the ante in the Final of the 2014 French Open as he goes head to head with Serbian rival Novak Djokovic on Sunday. Rafael Nadal will be chasing his ninth French Open title but Novak Djokovic stands in his way of stopping the ‘Rafa Express’.
Nadal brushed aside current Wimbledon champion Andy Murray to win their semi-final 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 battle with an awe-inspiring display. With quick-fire forehands, strong serves and accurate groundstrokes, Rafa did almost everything right to reach the Sunday’s showpiece where Serbia’s world number two awaits.
The quarterfinal though proved to be quite competitive as David Ferrer pushed the French Open champ to the limits until the latter got the better of Ferrer. Rafa Nadal is hoping to become the first man to win five consecutive French Open titles and with the history of the Championship behind him. Though he was termed ‘favourite’ to win the Grand Slam, Rafa did show signs of nerves in the early clay court season, losing three matches on his favourite surface, a first in the run-up to Roland Garros. Djokovic got the better of the Spaniard at the Rome Masters while compatriots Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer also claimed surprise wins over Rafa.
Standing in his way is Serbian Novak Djokovic, who has six majors to his name and needs to claim the Roland Garros trophy only to become just the eighth man in history to have won all four Grand Slam events. He also has the advantage of having defeated Nadal in their last four meetings.
The rivalry between the two men stretches back to 2006. Their first meeting was in the quarter-finals at the French Open when Djokovic retired with back trouble. Since then they have fought out a series of classic battles, most notably the 2012 Australian Open final which lasted almost six hours. Nadal won the dual in the 2012 French Open as he steamrolled Novak in the final.
Rafa has a great record going into the final. Since winning his first title in 2004, Rafa has suffered just 15 defeats on clay. Astounding stat yet beatable one that according to the ‘Nole’. Before the game, Djokovic emitted his views about the final and said that, “the win in Rome definitely gives me confidence and hopefully self-belief. On the other hand, the physical challenge that we present to each other is a very important factor in our matches. I know that I’m going to be facing a player who plays every point like a match point. He’s a great fighter, and I know that it’s going to be a physically very demanding match. But I’m ready for it.”
And so be it. Let the battle begin as we witness some exemplary tennis between two greats in the world of sports today!