Nadal - I'm going to fight
Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal will continue their great rivalry when they face each other in the Australian Open final on Sunday.
By Razwan Mirza - Follow me on Twitter @RazMirza
Last Updated: 28/01/12 9:39pm
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will continue their great rivalry when they face each other in the Australian Open final on Sunday.
The duo come head-to-head at Melbourne Park with the Serbian currently holding the upper hand in meetings.
The two modern-day tennis stars have so far played each other 29 times, with the Spaniard currently leading the score at 16 wins to Djokovic's 13 but more significantly Djokovic leads their hard court meetings 10-5.
The World No.1 has beaten Nadal in their previous six meetings, including the last two Grand Slam finals at Wimbledon and the US Open.
The Spaniard took the French Open title but finished runner-up to the Serbian at the All England Club and Flushing Meadows.
Meanwhile, the Serbian will be aiming to be only the fifth man since the Open Era started in 1968 to win three straight majors and is in the form of his life after winning 70 matches out of 76 last year.
His only loss at a Grand Slam last year was against Swiss ace Roger Federer in the French Open semi-finals, but this year, he's hungry for the big sweep.
Djokovic comes into the clash under a cloud physically after struggling with his breathing during the quarter-final win over David Ferrer and his dramatic last-four defeat of Andy Murray which lasted almost five hours.
The 24-year-old claims he may have been hit by an allergy, saying: "I've seen the doctor and I've talked with some people.
"I've also talked with a couple of players that have had little allergy problems this year in Australia for some reason, ones they didn't have in the last couple of years but they have had reactions this year. I suppose that's my problem."
In any case, Djokovic accepts he will have to be at his best to retain his crown Down Under and expects yet another gruelling challenge against Nadal.
"Rafa never gives up, has a great fighting spirit and very few weaknesses," he said.
"He's eager and motivated to win the title, like I am. It's unpredictable as to what's going to happen."
Nadal, the 2009 Australian Open winner, beat four-time champion Federer in Thursday's semi-final and has had the extra day to prepare for the final.
The Mallorcan, who injured his knee prior to the tournament, has won ten major singles titles, including six French Open titles.
He completed the career Grand Slam by winning the 2010 US Open, being the seventh player in history, and the youngest in the open era, to achieve it.
Nadal, who is one year older than his opponent admits he is happy with his current form heading into the clash although he is expecting a huge test.
"I am happy with how I am doing," admitted Nadal, "but I don't know if it's going to be enough against him. I need to play a little better, in my opinion, to have a chance.
"But I think I am going the right way to compete against the best players in the world.
"I got here by beating the sixth best player (Tomas Berdych) and the number three (Roger Federer).
"So it's a fantastic way to start the season but now is another big, big test. I don't know if I am ready to win the match, but I am going to fight for it."