Djokovic vs. Tsitsipas: Career Stats and Prediction for 2021 Men's Final

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IJune 13, 2021

Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts as he defeats Spain's Rafael Nadal during their semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Friday, June 11, 2021 in Paris. Novak Djokovic won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Michel Euler/Associated Press

Rafael Nadal may be the King of Clay, but he won't be the men's 2021 French Open champion. For the first time since 2016, another men's singles player will leave Stade Roland-Garros in Paris triumphant.

It will be either the No. 1-seeded Novak Djokovic or the No. 5-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas, who advanced to Sunday's final with impressive victories in the semifinals. Djokovic defeated Nadal, the No. 3 seed, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2. Meanwhile, Tsitsipas beat No. 6-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3.

This will be the second time that Djokovic and Tsitsipas will play each other at a Grand Slam event. At the 2020 French Open, Djokovic defeated Tsitsipas in the semifinals 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1.

Here's everything else you need to know heading into this year's men's French Open final.


Men's Final Information

Date: Sunday, June 13

Start Time: 9 a.m. ET


Live Stream: NBC Sports app


Career Stats, Prediction

Djokovic won the first major tournament of 2021, February's Australian Open. Now, he's looking to add another Grand Slam title to his resume, which is quickly approaching those of Nadal and Roger Federer.

Nadal and Federer each have won 20 major tournaments. Djokovic's total is at 18, so he could move within one of that duo with a victory Sunday.

Although Djokovic has been one of the top men's singles players for more than a decade, he's only won the French Open once (2016) because of Nadal's dominance at the event. Last year marked the first time he reached the final of the tournament since his Roland-Garros triumph, but he lost to Nadal in straight sets.

If Djokovic wins this year's French Open, he will have won each of the major tournaments at least twice.

"I know it's going to be another tough one," Djokovic said, per Howard Fendrich of the Associated Press. "I'm hoping I can recharge my batteries as much as I can because I'm going to need some power and energy for that one."

Tsitsipas has never played in the final of a major tournament. He's reached the semifinals three times, including at last year's French Open.

But the 22-year-old knows how challenging of an opponent Djokovic is. In seven previous meetings between the two, the Serb has won five times, including each of the past four. The last time Tsitsipas beat Djokovic was in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Shanghai Rolex Masters.

Djokovic has defeated Tsitsipas in each of the three matches between the two on clay.

The most recent first-time men's singles winner at a Grand Slam event was Dominic Thiem at last year's U.S. Open. With Djokovic, Nadal and Federer dominating the major tournaments, the opportunities have been scarce for others to win titles. But Tsitsipas could break through with one more victory at Roland-Garros.

"I'm obviously just blessed to have the opportunity to play against the best and test myself, something that I've always dreamed and wished to happen one day," Tsitsipas said, per Fendrich. "I'm able to be here and really going for it. I love that."

Tsitsipas isn't going to go out without a fight. And he will win a set against Djokovic, who has a ton of momentum coming off his incredible victory over Nadal.

However, Djokovic is one of the greatest of all time. He's trying to climb to the top of the men's Grand Slam career leaderboard, and the French Open is one of the rare events wherein he hasn't had as much success.

So while Tsitsipas will give it his best, Djokovic will win in four sets and move one Grand Slam title closer to Nadal and Federer, setting himself up to pull even with that duo later this year.

Prediction: Djokovic wins in four sets.


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