Rome Masters 2021 final preview: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal face off in Clash of the Gladiators
Novak Djokovic is a Serbian tennis sensation who is the reigning world number one. Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal is ranked number two in the ATP Singles, while he is commonly referred to as the King of Clay, having won countless titles on the platform.
In what could genuinely be said as the Clash of the Gladiators, reigning world number one, Novak Djokovic of Serbia, would go head-on against Spanish great Rafael Nadal in the final of the 2021 Rome Masters on Sunday. It would be their ninth clash at the venue.
Djokovic vs Nadal
So far, the Serbian holds a lead of 29-27 over the Spaniard. However, judging by their performance in Rome, Nadal has a 5-3 lead, while in 25 matches on clay, Nadal leads 18-7. Meanwhile, considering their encounters in ATP Masters to date, the world number one leads 16-12.
Road to final
Considering their road to the final, it has been interesting, with Djokovic overcoming the challenges of Taylor Fritz, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Stefanos Tsitsipas before fighting it out against Lorenzo Sonego in the semis. As for Nadal, he survived a tough draw against Jannik Sinner, Denis Shapovalov, Alexander Zverev before outplaying Reilly Opelka in the semis.
“It’s great to play him again in the final. He’s the guy that I have encountered the most in my career. Definitely, my biggest rival of all time. Playing him on clay in the finals of one of the biggest tournaments in the world is always extra motivating for me. Even after all we have been through in our careers, there’s still this excitement when we have to face each other,” Djokovic said following his semis win on Saturday.
“Rafa and I had a little laugh today in the locker room after I won against Tsitsipas. We kind of joked around that the old guys are still not giving up. I saw he said somewhere a few days ago that Roger, him and I are old, but I disagree with him. I think we’re showing some different, fresh energy,” Djokovic added.
Djokovic and Nadal lead the chart for most Masters title win, having won 36 and 35, respectively. The two have also won the most on clay, with the Spaniard leading 25-10 to the Serbian while they fight it out for their first Masters title of the year.
Date and day: May 16, 2021 (Sunday)
Venue: Foro Italico, Rome
Time: 8.30 PM (IST)
Where to watch (TV): No broadcasters in India
Where to watch (Online): TennisTV (App and YouTube)
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