Going into the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal has never been closer to Roger Federer‘s career men’s Grand Slam singles titles record. Same goes for Novak Djokovic.
Nadal and Djokovic could again meet in the Melbourne final, each continuing his quest for tennis history.
Nadal, ranked No. 1 and the top seed, would tie Federer’s record of 20 Slams with his second Australian Open title (and first since 2009). The Spaniard would also join legends Rod Laver and Roy Emerson as the only men to win all four majors multiple times.
Djokovic, a record seven-time Australian Open champion (including trouncing Nadal in the 2019 final), is at 16 Grand Slam singles titles after winning a pair each of the last two years.
But Djokovic may need to beat Federer (a six-time Aussie Open champ) in the semifinals to reach the final.
Nadal’s half of the draw includes two men he beat in 2019 Grand Slam finals — No. 4 Daniil Medvedev and No. 5 Dominic Thiem.
Nadal, Djokovic and Federer combined to win 14 of the last 15 Australian Opens, but a new generation began making headway last year.
Djokovic could get Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals, a year after Tsitsipas knocked out Federer in the round of 16.
Federer, 38, could get 20-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the fourth round and 23-year-old Italian Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals.
Nadal’s potential path includes mercurial Australian Nick Kyrgios (24) in the fourth round and Thiem (26) or Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime (20) in the quarterfinals.
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