Will it be 20-20-17 or 20-19-18? Major history is on the line as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal do battle in the final of Roland Garros on Sunday. The Grand Slam race among the Big 3 has been heating up for years, and it’s nearing its boiling point—today either Nadal will tie Roger Federer, or Djokovic will close in on them both.
Nadal’s going for his 20th career Grand Slam title, which would tie Federer for the men’s all-time record. Three women have won 20 or more majors: Margaret Court (24), Serena Williams (23) and Steffi Graf (22).
Djokovic is trying to become the first man in the Open Era to complete a Double Career Slam. If he wins his second Roland Garros crown today, he’ll have won every major at least twice, which no man has done in the Open Era. Roy Emerson and Rod Laver did it but either partially or fully pre-Open Era.
Nadal’s trying to become the first player ever, male or female, to win 100 matches at Roland Garros. People have done it at the other majors, but never here. He’s 99-2 here going into the final.
Nadal’s also trying to become the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to win the same tour-level event 13 times. The 12-time Roland Garros champion is one of two players to win the same tour-level event 12 times—Martina Navratilova won the WTA event in Chicago a dozen times.
Djokovic leads Nadal in their overall head-to-head, 29-26, but… Nadal leads 17-7 on clay, 9-6 at majors, 6-1 at Roland Garros and, perhaps most relevantly, 2-0 in finals at Roland Garros.
There are good signs in the head-to-head for Djokovic, though. The Serb has won 14 of their last 18 meetings, and Nadal’s 17-7 lead on clay actually used to be 9-0 (it’s 8-7 since the start of 2011).
Nadal’s won five of his last six major finals. The Spaniard has a 19-8 career record in major finals, which includes a flawless 12-0 in Roland Garros finals (he’s actually 25-0 here from the semis on).
Djokovic has won his last five major finals, and nine of his last 10. The Serb has a 17-9 career record in major finals, but it was 8-8 at one point—since July 2015, he’s 9-1 in major finals.
Nadal’s playing his 1,200th career tour-level match. He’s 998-201 in his first 1,199.
Yesterday’s Trivia Answer: Before Iga Swiatek, the last player to win their first tour-level title at a major was Jelena Ostapenko at Roland Garros in 2017.