French Open final 2014: Rafael Nadal bids to win title five times in a row but must overcome his fierce rival Novak Djokovic who continues his hunt for maiden French title

Nadal could become the first man in history to win a grand slam title in 10 straight years while a win for Djokovic will return him to the number one ranking

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are used to facing each other with huge prizes at stake and it will be no different on Sunday when they meet in the French Open final.

Nadal, who is chasing a remarkable ninth title at Roland Garros, is bidding to become the first man to win it five times in a row and the first man in history to win a grand slam title in 10 successive years.

Djokovic, meanwhile, is looking to win the one slam trophy he has never lifted, becoming the eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam, and reclaim the world number one ranking from Nadal.

He was close two years ago, when victory in Paris would have given him four slam titles in a row, but Nadal gained revenge for final defeats in the other three.

This will be their 42nd clash, more than any other two men in the Open era, and their seventh grand slam final - they have currently won three each.

Although Nadal and Roger Federer will probably be the rivalry that defines this era of men's tennis, Nadal and Djokovic is a more fascinating contest, not least because their games match up so well.

Nadal has won their last three slam matches, including in the semi-finals here last year, but Djokovic is on a four-match winning streak and beat the Spaniard in the final in Rome three weeks ago.

"Novak already did a lot of times, positive results here," said Nadal. "It's nothing new for him to be in the final. He has the motivation to win Roland Garros for the first time for sure.

"But at the same time, he has the pressure to win for the first time. I have the pressure that I want to win and the motivation that I want to win the ninth.

"I'm going to go on court with the same motivation as him. I don't know if it's the same pressure as him. Probably we are in different situations.

"But I don't know if that's going to make a big impact on the match. What's going to make the real impact is the player who will be playing better."

Djokovic admitted that last year he had become too obsessed with winning the French Open.

His semi-final loss to Nadal, where he had led 4-2 in the fifth set, hurt him, and he has not won a grand slam title since last year's Australian Open.

Djokovic insists the pressure on him is not as great as in the last two years, saying: "I guess each year I gain that experience in knowing how to handle certain situations psychologically.

"So it is more of a motivation for me, I would say a positive emotion going into the finals. Of course pressure is there. Expectations are there. They are always present when you are playing at this level.

"But I'm trying to channel this energy into the right direction and not get carried away too much by the stress of the occasion.

"So it is the final. It is the finals of a grand slam that I never won. Of course I'm going to give my best to lift the trophy.

"I'm going to have the ultimate challenge on clay across the net, Nadal. We all know how successful he is. But I have to believe and I have to try to win it."

Djokovic went into the tournament as the favourite after winning in Rome, handing Nadal his third defeat on clay this season, but that changed after the semi-finals on Friday.

Nadal played his best match of the season in thrashing Andy Murray while Djokovic was below par in a four-set win over Ernests Gulbis.

However, Serena Williams' coach Patrick Mouratoglou believes Djokovic should win.

The Frenchman said: "The key is in Novak's hands because I think if he plays with the right mindset, being aggressive, and the way he starts matches usually against Rafa, I think he has the keys to win.

"But there is so much pressure on this match. It's such an important match for his career.

"If, on the other hand, he comes to the match being a bit under pressure and he lets Rafa play, which he did a few times in the past, especially in that semi-final that he lost against him here last year, then he's going to lose.

"His mindset is going to be the key thing, but it's all in his hands."

PA

Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor