It will not be just another day. Novak Djokovic (1st) and Rafael Nadal (3rd) will define the title of the Masters 1000 in Rome at the Foro Italico, in what will be the reunion on a court of two of the best tennis players in history after almost a year without facing each other. A special game not to be detached from the ESPN screen.
How to see the long-awaited ending? It can be followed this Sunday from 12 a.m. ARG and 10 a.m. MEX on ESPN 2, and from 11 a.m. CHI and 10 a.m. COL / PER on ESPN 3.
The plus: Rafael Nadal will seek to reach 36 Masters 1000 titles that Novak Djokovic already won. Both left Roger Federer (28) behind.
Djokovic is coming off a long day, as his quarter-final match against Stefanos Tsitsipas (5th) had been interrupted. He battled with the Greek and, almost without rest, jumped onto the track to face Lorenzo Sonego (33rd), whom he beat 6-3, 6-7 (5) and 6-2.
At the same time, the Serbian will be present again in a final, given that in Belgrade that dream was cut short after the loss to Aslan Karatsev (27th) in the semis. He was not present at the Masters 1000 in Madrid and returned to Rome as one more part of the road to Roland Garros. This season he has only one title, nothing more and nothing less than the Australian Open.
On the other hand, Nadal arrives somewhat looser to the decisive duel. Without surprises, in the semifinal he beat Reilly Opelka (47th) by 6-4 and 6-4 and got into a new definition of the title. And with a plus: in the quarterfinals he left Alexander Zverev (6th) on the road, from whom he took revenge for the game he had won in the same instance in Madrid, possibly one more mental clean-up.
It should be noted that Rafa, after the match against Opelka, acknowledged that this final is “important”, although he also stated that he had already concluded his “preparation for Roland Garros”. In this sense, the manacorí, who has already played four tournaments on clay, said: “I made my full schedule, I played two quarter-finals, I won one and I am in the final in Rome.” In 2021, the Spanish was consecrated in the ATP 500 of Barcelona and will go in search of his second title.
This will be the 56th time they will face each other, which will represent a new chapter to be written in a place where they have already faced each other on other occasions. The last time at the Foro Italico? In 2019, with a triumph for Nadal in three sets. Of all the duels they played, 29 were in the hands of the Serbian and 27 in favor of the Spanish: a historical rivalry and with certain nuances to analyze.