Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal – one of the greatest rivalries tennis has ever seen – will clash for the 47th time when the two superstars meet in the Qatar Open final in Doha on Saturday.
Djokovic has been the man to beat in the last couple of years, with the Serbian enjoying one of the greatest ever years in professional tennis in 2015. The world number one -- and he is certainly the best player in the world without any argument -- won three Grand Slams in 2015, while reaching the final of the other, and Djokovic will already have his sights on defending the Australian Open title, which begins in nine days' time.
A win over Nadal in a big final will be a big boost in confidence – not that Djokovic needs it – heading into his Australian Open title defence in Melbourne.
"I guess it's a pretty important match, let's see what happens," Djokovic was quoted as saying by AFP. "It's a final so you fight for the trophy.
"And knowing that across the net you have the player that you played against the most ever in your career adds more importance to that final."
Djokovic had to fight past Tomas Berdych to book his place in the final against Nadal, who had little trouble dispatching Illya Marchenko in his semifinal. Nadal, though, has not been able to find a way past Djokovic in recent years, with the Spaniard crashing in the semifinal to the Serbian at the ATP World Tour Finals in London a couple of months back.
While Djokovic was revelling in 2015, Nadal had a year to forget, failing to win a single Grand Slam, with those injuries of his rendering him a pale shadow of his usual self. However, towards the latter part of the season, the Spaniard showed signs of returning to the marauder we know him as, and this match against Djokovic will be a good test to see where he stands going into the first Grand Slam of the year.
"I did a few good things, and I'm happy with the victory, being in the first final of the season in the first official tournament is something great," Nadal told ATP's official website after defeating Marchenko. "For sure it's important for my confidence, confirming that the end of the 2015 season had been something realistic and [in] the beginning of 2016 I [am] still playing well."
Nadal will have to play better than well if he is to beat Djokovic, playing his 16th consecutive final, in this Qatar Open summit clash.
Where to Watch Live
Djokovic vs Nadal is set to begin at 6 pm local time (8.30 pm IST, 3 pm GMT, 10 am ET). Ten HD will broadcast the Qatar Open final live in India.
The Qatar Open Final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be shown live online for viewers around the world, including India, on the ATP website.