At the moment Djokovic leads 29-26 overall and he also leads 15-11 in finals. Whereas Rafa leads 9-6 in Grand Slam finals and he also leads 6-1 at the French Open (Djokovic is one of only two players to have ever beaten Rafa at the French and neither of those beatings were in the final. Rafa has played 12 French Open finals and has won all 12.
The stakes are particularly high in this year's final as prize money aside so much is on the line in terms of records and history-making for both men.
If Rafa wins he will then have won 20 Grand Slam titles, thus equalling Roger Federer (who wasn't playing at this year's FO). If Djokovic wins he will be on 18 Grand Slam titles (one behind Rafa and two behind Federer). Even more importantly (in terms of history) he will the first man in the Open era to have won all four Grand Slams twice - something neither Rafa nor Federer have managed. Rafa has had his chances more than once at the Australian Open, but has fallen at the final hurdle and ended up as runner up.
Obviously I am hoping Rafa wins and lifts his 13th FO title and equals Federer's GS tally and on paper, the FO stats do favour him. However, matches aren't played on paper and Djokovic is him nemesis, in a way even Federer isn't. Plus with the FO being played at this time of year in cold, damp, heavy conditions, added to which the balls have been changed to make them heavier, Rafa doesn't have quite the edge his normally has on clay and his trade-mark looping, spin-heavy forehand has been somewhat negated.
I actually think it going to come down more to which man can handle the extra mental stress and expectation that will go with this year's title battle, than it will to the actual physical tennis. Whoever can handle 'history and record' making the better, I think will win. I do believe it will be close and I am expecting a five-setter - an exhausting five setter (or me watching as well as for them playing *g*). I hope it's a good match, an epic even and I really do hope the 'King of Clay' gets to lift what really has become 'his' trophy one more time. We'll see.
And one more small thing to consider: Rafa is going for his 13th FO title and the time he has spent on court up to this point at this year's FO is 13 hours and 13 minutes . . . Spooky? A sign? Irrelevant? Take your choice.
I know there are some other Rafa fans on my friends' list so let us hope that we will all be happy after today. And that one more picture will be added to this one. Albeit adding a 13th will make it very 'odd' to look at *g* Twelve makes for such a nice balance, but I'll very happily for for unbalanced for Rafa.
EDIT: To add one more ‘ingredient’ into the mix, the roof is closed, thus making it more of an indoor match, which definitely favours Djokovic.
EDIT 2: So far the roof being closed seems to have had the opposite effect. Rafa has won the first set 6:0. Wow! I was not expecting that. Not that I’m relaxing now; not at all.
EDIT 3: Secon set to Rafa 6:2. *Boggles* It’s not as if Djokovic is playing badly, he isn’t. It’s just that Rafa is playing amazingly and making so few errors. I do think part of it is down to Djokovic being affected more by the whole ‘history’ in the making’. It does seem to be getting to him. However, I am still not relaxing and taking anything for granted.
EDIT 4: Well the third set was closer, Rafa broke early, but Djokovic broke straight back and played better (not that he’d played badly up until then) plus Rafa started to miss the odd shot. In the end though he prevailed 7:5 in the third & he won the tournament with an ace. Vamos, Rafa! We now have two Male players on 29 GSs - that really is beyond words, especially when you add in Djokovic’s 17. Wow.