The Australian Open has not disappointed this year and it only seems right that two of tennis’ best ever players battle it out to win the first major of 2019 and close this magnificent event. Rafael Nadal is looking for just his 2nd Australian Open title whereas Novak Djokovic is looking to take home his 7th (yes, seventh) title!
In what has been dubbed as one of tennis’ greatest ever rivalries, this match will not disappoint. The winner also cashing in a A$4.5m cheque, not bad for a couple weeks work right?
Having been on the ground here in Melbourne throughout the competition, I have been able to experience this event for the first time this year and it has been extremely clear that the two players in the final have been very dominant throughout.
Nadal has not dropped a set en route to the final and much of that has been down to his adapted serve. He has started to address the fact that as he gets older his body isn’t going to be able to do everything that is has done previously.
Likening himself to Roger Federer, the Spaniard said “I can’t play like Roger when I do not have the serve of Roger. You know Roger gets a lot of free points, have a lot of times he starts with the serve then he not have a very difficult forehand”.
Nadal further added that working on his serve has allowed him to do damage a little bit earlier than before, especially during this event where he has been serving great.
The evidence is there to back up Nadal’s words, as he hasn’t even been broke on his service game since his opening match against James Duckworth and in his dismantling of Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi final (6-2, 6-4, 6-0) he gave only faced one break point which came in the final game of the match.
Although still dominant, Djokovic hasn’t been able to replicate Nadal’s dominance. But, there is a case to argue that Novak’s opponents have been of a higher calibre, with the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Denis Shapovalov, Daniil Medvedev and Lucas Pouille all failing to beat the world number one.
His quarter-final match with was a bit of a gimme after Kei Nishikori retired in the second set whilst trailing 6-1, 4-1. He will not care that he has dropped a set or two when he is standing at the opposite end of the court to Nadal in Rod Laver Arena on Sunday aiming to win yet another Grand Slam event.
There will be no doubt that Djokovic will be thinking of how dominant he has been in the past over Nadal on hard courts, with the record currently standing at 18-7 in the Serbian’s favour.
As always when these two players share the court us viewers are treated with top class tennis where this one could go either way. Both players performing at their very best in their semi final matches, winning with ease; showing that the upcoming players still have a lot to learn.
The last time the duo met was in the 2018 Wimbledon semi final where Djokovic emerged victorious after a solid 5 hours and 16 minutes of tennis spanning over two days.
Along with the rest of the tennis world, I am very much looking forward to seeing how this final unfolds but I don’t need to hope its going to be a cracker because I think that’s guaranteed.
I personally think Nadal will just edge this match – he seems confident in himself and has been so impressive to watch over the past 2 weeks.
No doubt it will be hard for him to find Djokovic’s weaknesses but if there’s anyone out there that can, its definitely Rafael Nadal.
Who do you think lifts the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup: Nadal or Djokovic? Let us know below!