ATP World Tour Final: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic set to collide in battle for the unofficial 'Fifth Grand Slam'

Djokovic recognises the importance of the season-ending tournament while Nadal is looking to win the title for the first time

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The Independent Online

Both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic head into tonight’s ATP World Tour Finals finale in London with hopes of securing the unofficial ‘Fifth Grand Slam’, in what is set to be an epic battle between the two best currently playing the game.

Nadal has already taken Djokovic’s place at the top of the world rankings, and he hopes to round out his brilliant year with one last triumph which has seen him win 33 of his 37 matches since his first round exit at Wimbledon – landing three titles along the way.

Nadal beat former world Number One Roger Federer in Sunday’s semi-final, and he was quick to praise the Swiss’ achievements during his unprecedented career.

"It will be very difficult for anyone to improve his numbers,” Nadal admitted. “I never saw Rod Laver play but I know his history. He was away for a few years because he became a professional but he was able to win all four [majors] before and all four after.

“Today the question is not about me or Roger, more about Rod Laver or Roger. When I finish my career, we'll see where I am in the history of tennis."

“The most important thing for me is [that indoor] is the toughest surface for me to play,” Nadal added when looking ahead to the final. “The most difficult for me was to be able to win four matches against top-eight players. It’s a very good way to finish the year.”

Djokovic meanwhile was quick to praise the season-ending Finals at the O2 Arena, and claims that the tournament ranks almost as highly as the four Grand Slams competed for during the season.

"This is probably the most competitive tournament we have after grand slams and we both want to crown the season in the best possible way and end it with a title,” said the Serbian, having beaten another Swiss in Stanislas Wawrinka.

“I hope that I can carry today’s (Sunday) performance into Monday’s match because this was the best match I had so far this week. I felt great on the court. Of course, [there is] no clear favourite in the final tomorrow. It’s always expected that we [will] go the distance.”

Despite being displaced at the top of the rankings, Djokovic heads into the game as the slight favourite due to his favouritism for the hard court surface. Bet-makers have the 26-year-old as  4/7 front-runner, while Nadal is a close underdog at 5/4.