Djokovic, who has won 29 of their previous 55 matches, has also won 14 of the last 18. That includes their last Grand Slam final, in which he dominated Nadal, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, in last year’s Australian Open final. The match lasted just over two hours.
Nadal, however, has won the last three matches the two have played on clay, most recently in the Rome final last year, and 17 of 24 clay matches over all.
Nadal has won six of their seven matches at the French Open, including the finals in 2012 and 2014. However, it will be fresh in his mind that his last defeat at Roland Garros, way back in the 2015 quarterfinals, came at the hands of Djokovic.
Experts are divided on this match: oddsmakers have Nadal as a slight favorite, while the analytics website Tennis Abstract puts Djokovic’s odds of winning at 54 percent.
Nadal, nicknamed the King of Clay, could win his 100th French Open match.
Nadal, the long-reigning King of Clay, arrives at the French Open final on Sunday with a 99-2 record at Roland Garros and a chance to hit some big round numbers with a 100th win at the tournament and a 20th Grand Slam title.
Nadal had less tournament preparation for this event than ever before, however. After skipping the United States Open, Nadal lost in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open in Rome, which was his only warm-up event on clay and the only event he had played since winning a title in Acapulco, Mexico, in late February — just before the tour ground to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The conditions in Paris this year were considered unfavorable for Nadal, with the cold air causing the ball to bounce lower, tempering some of his heavy topspin compared with how the ball would leap if the tournament were held in June as usual. But his results seem to be unaffected: He has not dropped a set in his first six matches.