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

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence