Few would have predicted it, but Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will contest Sunday’s Australian Open final on Rod Laver Arena.
Federer was at the peak of his powers in the mid 2000s, Nadal at his best towards the end of that decade.
Their dominance of that era led to some epic encounters – few will forget their five-set marathon in the 2008 Wimbledon final – but many thought another Federer-Nadal grand-slam showdown was too much to ask.
Injury woes have blighted both men over the recent past but their resurgence over the last fortnight at Melbourne Park has been akin to stepping back in time.
And so, here we are. The Spaniard has dominated their meetings at majors over the past few years and, with the help of Opta, we look at the stats behind Sunday’s mouth-watering tussle.
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) January 27, 2017
– The pair have 31 grand-slam titles between them. Federer has 17 to Nadal’s 14, with four Australian Open crowns to the Spaniard’s one.
– If Nadal wins this match he will move clear of Pete Sampras in second place on the list of most men’s grand-slam titles in the Open Era.
– Only Novak Djokovic (six) has more Australian Open men’s singles titles than Federer in the Open Era. The Swiss will move clear of Andre Agassi if he wins this match.
– This will be the 35th meeting between Nadal and Federer. The Spaniard holds a big advantage in the head to head, having won 23 of their 34 previous matches (68 per cent).
– Sunday will mark the 12th time they have met in a grand slam. Nadal has won nine of the previous 11 encounters, including the last six in a row.
– Nadal has won all three meetings with Federer at the Australian Open, the most recent of which was a straight-sets victory in the 2014 semi-finals.
– It will be the pair’s ninth grand-slam final, with Nadal winning six of the previous eight. Federer’s two successes came at Wimbledon in 2006 and 2007.