Rafael Nadal: Who Would He Rather Play in Final, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic

Dimitri KayCorrespondent IJune 2, 2011

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 27:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Roger Federer of Switzerland embrace at the net after their semifinal match during day eleven of the 2011 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 27, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

If Rafael Nadal beats Andy Murray in their semifinal match on Friday, the Spaniard will meet either 16-time grand slam-winner Roger Federer or Mr. Unbeatable, Novak Djokovic.

Both players have beaten the Master of the Terre Battue in two clay masters finals. However, the Serb has beaten Nadal in the last two clay finals they have contested in.

The Spaniard has a positive head to head against both players. He is 16-8 against Federer and 16-11 against Djokovic. The latter has closed the gap significantly this year after beating the world No. 1 in four consecutive finals.

Nevertheless, Djokovic has never beaten Nadal in a grand slam match, while Federer has. The Swiss is looking very dangerous in these championships and the new balls, which are lighter and travel faster through the air, must be helping him greatly.

If five-time defending champion Nadal were to meet Federer on Sunday in what would be their fourth French Open final, the Spaniard will play a different kind of Swiss. Federer will play more offensive than in previous years and could cause Nadal some problems.

Even so, at the end of the day, Rafa would prefer the Swiss Maestro in the final rather than Djokovic. The reason is not solely because the Serb has outplayed the Spaniard this season and could pose a task too big to overcome—it is more than that.

Call it sentimentality or a walk down memory lane—a time when it was just "them two" without a thorn in their side. It will be reminiscent of the days when all they had to worry about was each other.

Most importantly, Nadal has beaten Federer in three Roland Garros finals, and that will be his greatest memory of all.