2020 French Open men’s final info, recent form, betting and preview: Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal

French Open
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal French Open men's final

Episode No 56 of the Novak Djokovic-Rafael Nadal rivalry will play out in the French Open men’s final at Roland Garros on Sunday and we give you all the info you need to know ahead of the big match.

Defending champion Nadal will be gunning for a 13th title at Roland Garros and a 20th Grand Slam, which will see him tie Roger Federer on most majors won, while Djokovic is searching for an 18th Slam.

Novak Djokovic
Age: 33
World ranking: 1
Career-high ranking: 1
Career singles titles: 81
Grand Slam titles: 17

Rafael Nadal
Age: 34
World ranking: 2
Career-high ranking: 1
Career singles titles: 85
Grand Slam titles: 19

Recent form

Djokovic is yet to lose a match in 2020 as the only time he didn’t win a tournament was at the US Open when he was defaulted from the fourth round after accidentally hitting a line umpire in the throat with a ball.

He kicked off his clay season by winning the Italian Open, beating Diego Schwartzman in the final. At Roland Garros he won his first four matches in three sets before being taken to four sets by Pablo Carreno Busta while his semi-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas went the distance with the Serbian winning 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1 in three hours and 54 minutes.

Nadal, meanwhile, restarted his season in Rome and looked in excellent nick until he was stunned by Schwartzman in the semi-final.

However, he is not the King of Clay for nothing as he has been in superb form so far at Roland Garros, winning his six matches to date in straight sets. Jannik Sinner (quarter-final) and Schwartzman (semi-final) managed to take him to a tie-breaker in one set.

Head-to-head

This will be episode No 56 of the Djokovic- Nadal rivalry and the Serbian leads the H2H 29-26, but Nadal has won six of their seven matches in Paris, including the 2014 and 2012. Djokovic’s only win at the French Open came in the quarter-final in 2015.

Djokovic won their last meeting, a straight sets victory on the hard-courts at the ATP Cup at the start of 2020, while Nadal won their last encounter on clay, a three-set win in Rome in 2019.

They have played 24 matches on clay with Nadal winning 17 of those matches on the red dirt.

What they said

Novak Djokovic: “Finals of a Grand Slam is always huge. But I don’t think it’s the biggest match that I have ever played in my life. I think there were some bigger ones.

“In terms of importance, I mean, if I have to compare, even though I don’t like, probably the first Wimbledon final that I actually played against him (in 2011). Wimbledon was always the one that I wanted to win as a kid and dreamed of winning.

“That’s probably the one that stands out. And the French Open 2016 against Andy Murray here. Every French Open final that I played was the match of my life before I actually won it.

“This is the (Grand Slam) that I won the least, so of course I am extremely motivated to try to get my hands on another one.”

He added: “[Rafa] has lost twice in his entire career on this court. Obviously the conditions are different than the ones that we are used to playing in May and June.

“I think that could be better for me, obviously the ball not bouncing as high over the shoulder as he likes it usually. Regardless of the conditions, he’s still there, he’s Rafa, he’s in the final and we’re playing on clay. Best-of-five playing him in the final at Roland Garros, I know that feeling.”

Rafael Nadal: “I can’t predict the future… The only thing I know is to play against Novak, I need to play my best. Without playing my best tennis, the situation is very difficult.”

He added: “I know that is a court that I have been playing well for such a long time, so that helps. But at the same time he has an amazing record here, too, being in the final rounds almost every single time.

“He is one of the toughest opponents possible. But I am here to keep trying my best. I like to play in this scenario. I know I have to make a step forward.

“I need to make another step forward. That’s what I’m looking for. I am going to work hard to try to make that happen.”

Betting

Unsurprisingly, the bookies have Rafael Nadal down as the favourite with 4/6 the best you will get. You can get Djokovic at 7/5 at BetVictor.

Nadal is 7/2 to win in three sets (remember Djokovic beat him in straight sets at this year’s Australian Open) and 7/2 to win in four sets while Djokovic is 11/2 for a five-set win.

Conclusion

It would take a brave person to bet against Rafael Nadal on Court Philippe-Chatrier in a French Open final. He has played 12 finals and on each occasion he was the last man standing while his overall record at Roland Garros reads: played 101, won 99, lost 2.

When you take the hiatus into account, Djokovic’s match fitness and sharpness is perhaps better considering his US Open and Italian Open exploits, but Nadal has spent less time on court at Roland Garros and has brushed his opponents aside with ease. Djokovic has also struggled with a niggling arm injury.

All the stats point to Nadal claiming a record-extending 13th French Open title come Sunday evening so it would take a monumental effort for Djokovic to win, but this is sport and anything can happen. If Djokovic does pull it off, it will perhaps be one of his greatest victories.

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