This On Sunday at the Rod Laver Arena, world number 1 Novak Djokovic stands on the cusp of a record-breaking 7th Australian Open title. Standing across the net from him on January 27 will be the unbreakable man of world tennis – Rafael Nadal.
The first grand slam final of 2019 could not be set up any better – the two best players in the world will take on each other to determine the better man on the night. But Nadal does not have a great record in Australia compared to his generally lofty standard. He has won the Australian Open only once while Djokovic is the master of Melbourne Park with as many as six titles.
The Serb has been in terrific form since his return to the summit of world tennis and Nadal was one of those men he left behind on his way to one of the two grand slams he won last year. He also left the Spaniard behind in world rankings when Nadal was injured.
This is Nadal's first official tournament since his return from the injury that forced him to retire in the semifinal of the US Open. Here's a look at some of the statistics ahead of the mouth-watering clash.
- Sunday's clash will be the 52nd match between Nadal and Djokovic.
- Djokovic holds a 27-25 head to head advantage over the Spaniard.
- Djokovic holds an 18-7 advantage over Nadal on hard courts.
- The Mallorcan holds a 9-5 advantage over the Serb in major championships and a 4-3 advantage in finals.
- The Serb won the most recent meeting between the two at Wimbledon by 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(9), 3-6, 10-8.
- Nadal won 49 of his 61 service points and hit 28 winners in the semifinal against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
- Djokovic won 45 of his 48 service points and hit 11 winners in his semifinal match against Lucas Pouille.
- If Nadal wins Sunday's match, he will become the first man in the open era -- and the third man in his history -- to win every grand slam at least twice.
- Nadal has won five consecutive matches at Melbourne without dropping serve and has been broken just twice.
The match on Sunday will, either way, create history. If the Serb wins, he will be the first man to win seven times in Melbourne. On the other hand, if the Spaniard wins, he will be the first man to win every grand slam at least twice.
After two underwhelming semifinals, the sold-out Rod Laver Arena will hope the world number 1 and world number 2 can combine to dish out a grand slam classic like only they can.