French Open 2014 Men's Finals: Must-Know Information for Nadal vs. Djokovic

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French Open 2014 Men's Finals: Must-Know Information for Nadal vs. Djokovic
Gregorio Borgia/Associated Press

The two best players in the world will go at it on Sunday morning, as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will face off in the 2014 French Open men's final from Roland Garros.

After investing so much time in the earlier matches of the tournament, you're not going to want to miss the final—especially one as compelling as this. These two players have competed against each other multiple times, and the level of familiarity between them will certainly make the match even more special.

Below you'll find important viewing information for the epic finale of the 2014 French Open, as well as some other crucial information to help you get the most out of the men's final.

 

When: Sunday, June 8, at 9 a.m. ET

Watch: NBC

Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra

 

Previous Matchups

Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Even the most casual tennis fan knows that Nadal and Djokovic square off quite frequently. Chris Chase of USA Today tweeted exactly how many times the two have competed:

But how many times have they competed against each other in the French Open? ESPN Stats & Info pointed out that this will be the sixth time:

The Nadal-Djokovic rivalry is a well known one, but their French Open history has been pretty one-sided. As the above tweet states, Djokovic has only won three sets in their five previous matchups at Roland Garros.

The career head-to-head results are pretty even, but Djokovic has actually won each of the past four between the two men's stars. Prior to that, Nadal had won five of six.

With plenty of history between these two players, it will be interesting to see how they prepare for each other. Given how well they know each other's strategies and skills, this match could turn into a marathon event.

 

Will Nadal's Back Hold Up?

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Earlier in the tournament, a back injury resulted in some negative (albeit not horrible) performances for Nadal. The Associated Press, via USA Today, broke down how the back impacted his game:

Nadal arrived at Roland Garros dealing with some doubts. There were the three losses on clay in 2014. There was the pain in his back that resurfaced early last week, leading to a dip in his serve speeds and prompting him to wear vertical strips of tape under his shirt for support.

He was fine by Friday's match, however. Much of the speed on his serve had returned, and his range of motion was noticeably better. No longer was there a grimace when he was forced to move laterally. He showed that he was back.

It's still something worth monitoring moving forward, even if he appeared just fine a few days ago. Back pain can be a nagging injury, and while Nadal has played well with it during the tournament, he has yet to face a competitor like Djokovic.

Djokovic is good enough to exploit that weakness if it reappears. All signs point to Nadal being just fine but definitely keep an eye out for it in the final.

 

Will Djokovic Complete the Career Grand Slam?

Michel Spingler/Associated Press

There's a ton on the line for Djokovic. For one, the winner of Sunday's final will be No. 1 in the world on Monday. The loser will be No. 2.

Aside from that, the Serbian seeks an even loftier accomplishment. By winning at Roland Garros—something that has proved difficult for Djokovic in his career—he will complete the career Grand Slam.

Seven men have completed the career Grand Slam in men's singles play, so this would obviously be a major accomplishment. Nadal is the king of clay, but Djokovic's recent success against the Spaniard would suggest that he'll be able to play him just fine.

The pressure is on for Djokovic on Sunday. Defeating the king on what might as well be his court will be no easy task, but Djokovic is certainly equipped with the skills necessary to do so.

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