French Open history won't matter in final against Djokovic, says Nadal
By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) - The past will mean nothing to Rafa Nadal if he takes on Novak Djokovic, the world's number one, in Sunday's French Open final and has two more milestones to win.
The Spaniard, who has dominated the clay court for over a decade, will keep an eye out for a record-breaking 13th Roland Garros title and a record-breaking 20th Grand Slam crown as he resumes an old rivalry with Serbian Djokovic.
Nadal marched into his 13th French Open final by defeating Diego Schwartzman 6: 3, 6: 3, 7: 6 (0) on Friday. This made the Argentine not the third player to beat him twice on clay in the same season, twice achieved by Djokovic and Italian Fabio Fognini.
The second-placed Spaniard has only lost two of 101 games at Roland Garros, one of them in the 2015 quarter-finals against Djokovic.
However, the Serb lost twice to Nadal in the 2012 and 2014 finals and four times in earlier rounds.
World number two Nadal said none of this will matter on Sunday.
"Different circumstances, different types of tournaments and different situations," said the 34-year-old at a press conference.
"I can't predict the future ... I just know that I have to play Novak. I have to do my best. Without playing my best tennis, the situation is very difficult."
No other player knows Court Philippe Chatrier as well as Nadal.
"I know this is a court that I've played well on for a long time. It helps," he said.
"At the same time, he has an amazing record here too, as he is in the finals almost every time.
"He's one of the toughest opponents. But I'm here to do my best. I like to play in this scenario. I know I have to take a step forward. I think I made one today."
Nadal avenged his loss to Schwartzman at the Italian Open by playing "with a plan, with the right determination" and "the right game tactically".
However, he believes that he must move up a gear against Djokovic.
"It's not enough for Sunday. I have to take one more step forward. This is what I'm looking for. I'll work hard to make this happen," he said.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)
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