Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will renew the “greatest rivalry” in modern tennis when they collide in a mouth-watering 107th Australian Open final on Sunday.
The top two players in the world have 31 Grand Slam titles between them and each can claim another slice of history with victory.
Djokovic, 31, will lift a record seventh Norman Brookes Trophy with a win while Nadal, 32, will become the first man in the Open Era to win all four Grand Slams twice if he adds to his 2009 Melbourne Park crown.
Nadal’s 18th Grand Slam title would see him close the gap on Federer’s 20 at the top of the all-time list and Djokovic’s 15th would give him sole ownership of third place ahead of Pete Sampras.
“These are the kind of matches that you live for: finals of Slams, playing the greatest rivals at their best,” said Djokovic after dismantling Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 in a lopsided 83 minutes in Friday’s semifinal.
“What more can you ask for? This is where you want to be.”
It will be the 53rd meeting two giants of the games and their eighth in the final of a Grand Slam.
Djokovic is a whisker ahead with 27 victories to Nadal’s 25. But the Spaniard has the edge in Grand Slam finals 4-3 and has won the last three.
In all Grand Slam meetings, Nadal has a clear advantage with a 9-5 win-loss record.
No two men have met more often in the Open Era, and no pair have pushed one another harder or further.
Their only previous final in Australia, in 2012, developed into a record-breaking 5hr 53min slugfest.