Rafa vs Novak – the Rivalry

Rafa vs Novak – the Rivalry. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have met more than any two players in the Open Era, a record 55 times. They will write a 56th chapter in their storied rivalry on Sunday when they clash in the 2020 Roland Garros final.

Nadal is chasing a record 13th Coupe des Mousquetaires in Paris and his 100th match win at the clay-court Grand Slam, where he is currently 99-2. Top seed Djokovic is trying to complete a second Career Grand Slam and increase his lead atop the FedEx ATP Rankings as he pursues Roger Federer’s record of 310 weeks at World No. 1. Djokovic is looking for his 18th Grand Slam title and 2nd French Open title.

Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic – Head2Head 26-29

Djokovic leads their ATP Head2Head rivalry 29-26 and has won 10 of their past 12 contests, but Nadal has emerged victorious from six of their seven Roland Garros battles. The Serbian started the 2020 season off with a bang, defeating Nadal 6-2, 7-6(4) in the final of the inaugural ATP Cup.

Overall 26-29

Nadal had the upper hand on Djokovic in the early parts of the rivalry. In 2011 Djokovic flipped the momentum and defeated Nadal in a record 7 straight meetings. After the French Open final 2014 won by Nadal in 4 sets, Djokovic once again won 7 straight matches against Nadal. Since 2017 when Rafa won in the final of Madrid, the pair are 3-3 with Djokovic winning the last match at the ATP Cup final on hard in January 2021 6-2, 7-6.

Clay 17-7

Djokovic is the only player with more than 4 wins on Nadal on clay and one of two to defeat the Spaniard at Roland Garros (3-0 in the QF 2015). Nadal won their last meeting on Clay in the Rome final last year 6-0, 4-6, 6-1. That was the first time that either player bageled their opponent.

French Open matches 6-1

The one time Djokovic has won against Nadal at Roland Garros was in the QF 2015. Nadal was at a career low in self confidence and dropped to his lowest ranking (9) he has ever held between 2005 and present time. Djokovic lost in the final that year to Stan Wawrinka. The most classic match between the two legends came in the Semi final of 2012 with Nadal winning in five sets  6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3), 9-7. It was only the second five-set match Nadal had played at the major, with the first being a first-round win over John Isner in 2011.

Grand Slam finals 4-4

Nadal won the first Grand Slam final between the all-time greats back in 2010 in New York. With the 3-1 victory Nadal became the youngest player of all-time to achieve a Career Slam winning all Grand Slam titles at the age of 24. He also became the youngest player to achieve the career golden slam (winning all 4 majors plus olympic gold in singles).

 

Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic – Slam Finals – 4-4

The all-time greats are currently at 19 (Nadal) and 17 (Djokovic) Grand Slam titles won. Only Roger Federer at 20 is ahead. Behind Djokovic in third place is America Pete Sampras who won 14 Grand Slam titles between 1990-2002.

In Grand Slam final meetings Nadal and Djokovic are all square at 4-4.

Nadal is 2-0 in French Open finals against Djokovic, 2-1 at the US Open, 0-2 in Melbourne and 0-1 at Wimbledon.

2019 AUSTRALIAN OPEN FINAL
Djokovic d. Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3

Djokovic played his best match in his career and destroyed a Nadal that was in the finals without dropping a set.

2014 ROLAND GARROS FINAL
Nadal d. Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4

Nadal won his 9th French Open title after coming back from losing the first set.

2013 US OPEN FINAL
Nadal d. Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1

One of the best year’s for Nadal was peaking when he won his second US Open title in his third final against Djokovic.

2012 ROLAND GARROS FINAL
Nadal d. Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5

Nadal won his 7th French Open title, surpassing Bjorn Borg’s old record at 6 titles. Djokovic had the chance to hold all 4 majors at the same time here.

2012 AUSTRALIAN OPEN FINAL
Djokovic d. Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5

Dubbed by tennis legends such as Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Stefan Edberg and more as the best tennis match ever played. Nadal was up a break in the fifth set but Djokovic won in the longest Grand Slam final in history after 5 hours and 53 minutes.

2011 US OPEN FINAL
Djokovic d. Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-1

Djokovic won his second straight GS final against Nadal and claimed his first of 3 US Open titles in a easy win. This year was the first year Djokovic dominated world tennis and he became the best player in the world.

2011 WIMBLEDON FINAL
Djokovic d. Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3

Nadal was the slight favorite playing his 5th straight final at SW19, but was injured in his hand and could not come close to this title. Djokovic claimed his first of now 5 Wimbledon titles.

2010 US OPEN FINAL
Nadal d. Djokovic 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2

Nadal had perfected his serve at this year’s US Open serving at 200km/hour and became the youngest player in history to achieve a career slam winning all 4 majors. He also became the second in history with a career golden slam (Agassi) winning all slams plus olympic gold in singles)

 

Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic – Slam Matches – 9-6

Nadal is 9-6 in total Grand Slam meetings with Novak Djokovic so far.

Rafa vs Novak – the Rivalry is the No.1 rivalry in tennis history when it comes to most matches played (56th match on Sunday). When it comes to Grand Slam final meetings the Rafa vs Novak Rivalry is second to Rafa vs Roger. The Spaniard has a 6-3 record against Federer in Grand Slam finals. Federer won the first two Wimbledon finals against Nadal 2006 and 2007 and the last in AO 2017. Nadal won the classic Wimbledon final 2008, the magic Australian Open final 2009 and all the French Open finals 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011. On Sunday Rafa vs Novak – the Rivalry will equal the Rafa vs Roger rivalry when it comes to Grand Slam finals played.

 

ALSO READ: The stats on Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal’s French Open Stats

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Mikael Olsson

Mikael is a passionate tennis-lover since Björn Borg won the epic Wimbledon final against John McEnroe 1980. Mikael has written over 4 000 articles covering the ATP World Tour and has a +80% success rate in his tennis predictions.

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