Djokovic and Nadal meet for the 39th time in the London final. Image courtesy of tennisworldusa.org
There is no doubt the two best men’s players in the world meet in London on Tuesday morning (AEST) when Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal meet for the 39th time in a fitting decider in the ATP World Tour Finals. Nadal leads the head-to-head count between the two 22-16 and he has won three of the five clashes in 2013. Djokovic comes in to this as the hottest player on tour with 21 straight wins under his belt, including tournament victories in Beijing, Shanghai and Paris.
Nadal made the final after outplaying a weary Roger Federer 7-5 6-3 . The Swiss master had little juice left in his tank after taking two-and-a-half hours to overcome Juan Martin Del Potro the day before. The Serb had the easier passage after disposing of Switzerland’s No. 2, Stanislas Wawrinka, in straight sets . Djokovic struggled to overcome Wawrinka in both the Australian and US Opens, but he had no such problems in London.
After missing eight months of tennis due to a knee injury, Nadal produced a spectacular comeback this year taking out Slams at Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows. He also beat Djokovic on hardcourt at the Montreal Masters prior to the US Open. Nadal’s slight advantage over his opponent over the years is skewed, somewhat, by his 13-3 record against the ‘Djoker’ on the Spaniard’s preferred surface of clay. Djokovic has won two of their three battles on an indoor hardcourt, and overall on hardcourt he leads 12-6.
Nadal looked like he was running on empty when the pair met in Beijing a few weeks ago. With the left-hander in full defensive mode, Djokovic took advantage to win comfortably 6-3 6-4. He has never won the year-ending championships, while the Serb is the defending champion in London, and he also took the corresponding title in 2008 in Shanghai. They’ve met twice before at this event in London with Djokovic winning in straight sets in 2009 and Nadal doing the same in 2010.
LIVE on ESPN
Click here to bet on ATP World Tour Finals matches