8 Jun 2014

Paris final beckons titans Djokovic and Nadal

12:45 pm on 8 June 2014

This is their 42nd clash, so there will be few surprises for the world's top two players Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic when they face each other over the net in the French Open final on Monday.

Nadal is gunning to be the first man to win five straight Paris titles to take his total to nine. Djokovic wants to complete his career grand slam by bagging the only major to elude him.

On paper, Djokovic, 27, may appear to have the upper hand, having won their last four tussles, including on the red dirt in Rome last month, when he dismantled Nadal 4-6 6-3 6-3 to hand the number one his third claycourt loss this year.

But they are not playing on paper. They are playing on the Roland Garros clay, Nadal's spiritual home, where he has an eye-watering 65-1 win-loss record.

Only four of Djokovic's 19 wins over Nadal have come on claycourts, and he lost to him in the Paris final in 2012.

While Djokovic has former world number one Boris Becker in his corner, Nadal will have the history of Roland Garros, named after a French aviator, on his side when they vie for the Musketeers' Cup and the $2.65 million cheque.