After battling in two Grand Slam finals in 2011, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic opened 2012 with their third consecutive battle for a major title. Luckily for fans, the Aussie Open final will have plenty of encores on the 2012 tennis schedule.
With 30-year-old Roger Federer on the wane, Djokovic and Nadal are proving themselves to be head-and-shoulders above the rest of the men’s tennis world. Both men are in their primes—Djokovic is 24, Nadal 25—and are sure to land top seeds at every tournament they enter.
That’s not to say that all four of this year’s majors are going to end with Djokovic facing Nadal, but it would be a surprise not to see at least one more rematch in 2012.
Neither player has a particular surface that he’ll struggle on at this stage of his career, and there are only three or four other players in the world who have a serious chance to beat (or even challenge) this pair in a Grand Slam tournament right now.
Overall in 2011, Djokovic and Nadal appeared in the same tournament 11 times, and played each other in six of them (all six times in the finals). There’s no reason to expect either of them to cut down his tournament calendar, and if anything, they might be harder to upset this season with all the momentum they’ve gained over the last year.
Considering their penchant for gritty, back-and-forth matches, it’s all to the good for tennis fans if Nadal and Djokovic continue to face each other on a regular basis. Luckily, that scenario appears to be far likelier than the alternative this year.