Djokovic vs Nadal: Seven stats to know ahead of their ATP Cup final match-up

Hannah Wilks:

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will face off for the 55th time as Serbia take on Spain for the title at the inaugural ATP Cup on Sunday: Here are the seven most significant stats to know ahead of the match.

Serbia vs Spain ATP Cup final is live from Sydney on Sunday 12 January at 5.30pm local/6.30am GMT

The first ever ATP Cup, the new international team competition started by the ATP in response to the revamped Davis Cup Finals which debuted in 2019, will see the world’s top two players facing off in the final.

With 35 Grand Slam titles between them, Djokovic and Nadal have played each other 54 times over the course of their careers, and their rivalry is considered one of the greatest that men’s tennis has ever known. They have played eight Grand Slam finals and 13 Masters 1000 Series finals against each other, but have rarely faced off at the level of international competition, although both have been part of Davis Cup-winning teams – Nadal clinched the Davis Cup for Spain in Madrid barely six weeks ago.

Here is the full order of play for the ATP Cup final:

Djokovic vs Nadal: Seven vital stats

1. Djokovic’s recent dominance

While Nadal won two-thirds of the matches the two played in the 2006-9 period, the picture has become quite different over the past decade.

Djokovic now leads the head-to-head 28-26, and has won 13 of their last 17 matches.

2. Djokovic’s hard-court dominance

While Djokovic owns a fairly narrow lead in the overall head-to-head, that’s because Nadal has largely dominated their meetings on clay, leading to the Spaniard owning a 26-28 record against the Serb.

But when hard-court meetings alone are considered, Djokovic possesses a clear advantage. Of the 26 matches they have played on hard courts throughout the years, Djokovic has won 19 and Nadal just seven.

This has become particularly pronounced in the past decade. Since the 2010s began, Djokovic has beaten Nadal in 14 of their 16 hard-court matches and all eight of their most recent meetings, including last year’s Australian Open final, which Djokovic won 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

3. Djokovic’s hard-court set streak

Not only has Djokovic won their last eight hard-court meetings, he has also won 17 straight sets on hard courts against Nadal.

Nadal’s last victory against Djokovic on hard courts came in the final of the 2013 US Open.

4. At international level

Any tennis observer will tell you that adding the element of team competition and representing one’s country can completely change the normal complexion of a match-up.

With tennis being an individual sport, players are unused to being part of a team. Some thrive and some shrink when representing their nations.

Djokovic and Nadal have both been part of Davis Cup-winning sides. Djokovic has a 34-7 record in Davis Cup singles and played a crucial role in Serbia’s 2013 Davis Cup triumph. Nadal has a 29-1 record in Davis Cup singles and was part of winning sides in 2009, 2011 and 2019.

Nadal won on both occasions when the two played at international level, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and in Davis Cup in 2009. The Spaniard won Olympic gold in 2008, with Djokovic winning a bronze in the same games.

5. Nadal’s streak snapped

Up until a few days ago, Nadal had won 32 straight singles matches when representing Spain (not including the Olympics).

David Goffin of Belgium snapped that streak when he scored a shock 6-4, 7-6(3) win over Nadal during the ATP Cup quarterfinals.

Djokovic has won 20 straight matches for Serbia.

6. Match records at the ATP Cup

Djokovic is an unbeaten 5-0 in singles at the ATP Cup so far and has beaten two players ranked inside the top 10 as well as world no. 14 Denis Shapovalov, although the average rank of his opponents is 41.6 (Kevin Anderson is currently ranked well outside the top 100 due to a serious knee injury in 2019).

His record in sets is 10-2. Djokovic has also played and won one doubles rubber alongside Viktor Troicki.

Nadal has gone 4-1 in singles this week, losing to the only top-15 player he faced. The average rank of his opponents has been 34.4.

His record in sets is 8-3. Nadal has also played and won two doubles rubbers alongside Pablo Carreno Busta.

7. Time spent on court at the ATP Cup

Djokovic has spent a total of 12 hours and 23 minutes on court at the ATP Cup.

Nadal has spent a total of 13 hours and 46 minutes on court at the ATP Cup.

On the face of it, this is not such a big difference. However, Nadal has played three matches, each of which lasted over two hours, since the elimination stages began on Friday. Djokovic has only played two.

Serbia have also had the day matches, so Djokovic will have had more rest.

Djokovic vs Nadal: Our tip

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