Saturday provided the French Open with history, as Maria Sharapova completed the career Grand Slam in winning for the first time at Roland Garros. She is only the sixth woman and 10th player overall in the Open era to have captured the career Grand Slam.
On Sunday either Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokoic will make history. A Nadal win will give him seven titles at Roland Garros, breaking a tie with Bjorn Borg. Djokovic is attempting to win his first French Open. A title in Paris would give Djokovic a career Grand Slam. He would also become just the second male in the Open Era to hold all four Slams at once.
Rod Laver won all four Grand Slam tournaments in 1969. At 24, Djokovic would become one of the youngest players to complete the career Grand Slam.
NBC Sports will broadcast the men’s final live at 9 a.m. ET. They have a five-hour window until 2 p.m. Playing in a men’s final for the fourth straight time, Djokovic and Nadal should bring NBC the ratings and buzz that Roger Federer brought a few years ago. Their meeting in the final of this year’s Australian Open took five hours and 53 minutes, with Djokovic winning in five sets.
The Tennis Channel will re-air the men’s final on Sunday night at 7 p.m. ET, to be followed by the women’s final at 11 p.m. The channel will continue with with encore showings during the week, including on Monday at those same times.
The men’s final will be streamed live by NBC via eventbee.com.
Djokovic vs. Nadal has quickly become the biggest rivalry in men’s tennis. It could become the greatest rivalry in the history of men’s tennis. Their four straight meetings in the finals of a Grand Slam is extremely rare on the men’s side.
They have met 32 times, with Nadal holding an 18-14 edge. Djokovic dominated their meetings in 2011, winning all six of their matches. He continued that into 2012 with a win in their epic meeting in Australia. Nadal has recovered to win the last two, both on Clay.
One of the key stats to look at is the amount of time they have been on court. Nadal has spent more than four hours lesson court than Djokovic during the tournament. Fatigue might play a factor.
Although both had relatively easy semifinals, Djokovic’s previous two matches were anything but easy. He had to rally from a two set deficit in the fourth round to defeat Andreas Seppi. He then had to save four match points in the quarterfinals against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to advance.
Nadal has looked like the much stronger player. He has only been broken once on his serve to 16 service breaks against Djokovic. Djokovic has lost four sets to just one for Nadal. Nadal has lost 35 games in the French Open to 81 for the Djoker.
Both players have much more to gain with a victory than claiming a French Open title. Their past history tells us we should see another epic match.