Wimbledon 2011: Rafael Nadal to play Novak Djokovic in final

Wimbledon Championships

Venue:
All England Club, London
Date:
20 June-3 July
Coverage:
Live on BBC One, Two, 3D, HD, Red Button, online (UK only), Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra; live text commentary from 1200 BST on BBC Sport website (#bbctennis); watch again on iPlayer
The Champion: Road to the men's Wimbledon final

Rafael Nadal can take some measure of revenge for losing his world number one ranking to Novak Djokovic when the pair meet in Sunday's Wimbledon final.

Djokovic will overtake the Spaniard at the top of the standings on Monday, no matter what the result on Centre Court.

But Nadal is focused on winning a third Wimbledon and 11th Grand Slam title.

And the gulf in experience is marked as the Majorcan prepares to appear in his fifth straight final at the All England Club, and Djokovic his first.

"It's something very important for me," said Nadal. "I never thought I'm going to be able to play five finals. I think it's a great effort after years without a Spaniard playing the semi-finals or finals here."

Nadal is on a 20-match winning streak at Wimbledon, with his last defeat coming in the 2007 final against Roger Federer, and the only interruption when he missed the 2009 tournament through injury.

However, Sunday's final will be his fifth meeting with Djokovic this year and the Serbian comes into it having won all four to date as he has enjoyed the second-best start to a year in modern tennis history.

The 24-year-old has amassed a 47-1 record in 2011, his only defeat coming against Roger Federer in the French Open semi-finals, and he beat Nadal in the finals in Miami, Indian Wells, Madrid and Rome.

"His mental position over me today is probably a little better because he won the last four finals against me," said Nadal. "I'll try my best. I think I'm playing well, really well.

"Probably he's defending a little better than previous years but in my opinion, his general game, his total game, is really complete. His biggest ability is to take the ball very early. That's something very difficult. Roger does it very well too."

Overcoming Djokovic will not rescue his number one ranking but it would move the Spaniard on to 11 Grand Slam titles, five behind Federer's record tally of 16.

"I care about records, I care about statistics and I care about the history of tennis, but it's not the right moment for me to talk about that," said Nadal.

"I'm 25 years old. I am playing. We will see when I finish my career where I am in the history of tennis. Right now for me, my history is I am in the final of Wimbledon and very happy for that."

Djokovic is through to his first final at Wimbledon, having twice made the semi-finals, and has his sights set on adding to his Grand Slam haul of two Australian Open titles.

Asked if the pressure had been raised by his imminent move to the top of the rankings, Djokovic said: "I don't need to prove anything to anybody, just to myself.

"I want to win this trophy. This has always been my dream, to be in the finals of Wimbledon, so I am very much looking forward to it, very much excited.

"There is no bigger challenge at this point in our sport than playing in the Wimbledon final against Nadal, who has won two out of the last three times here. It's a big match."

Nadal leads their head-to-head 16-11 and, despite having lost the last four, has won all five of their meetings at Grand Slams.

"It is quite different playing Nadal in a Grand Slam because it's a best-of-five," said the Serbian. "So physically we all know that he's superior and he's the strongest player around, the most prepared.

"So I'm ready for long rallies, long points. I need to be physically ready, which I am. I feel fit in this moment and mentally obviously motivated. It's my first Wimbledon final.

"The four times I won against him this year can probably help me in some ways mentally prior to this match."

And asked whether victory on Sunday would outdo the achievement of becoming number one, Djokovic said: "Yes, because it's Wimbledon. It's just simply something I've dreamed of forever."

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