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Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal: Career Stats, Prediction for 2020 Men’s Final | Bleacher Report

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Spain's Rafael Nadal plays a shot against Argentina's Diego Schwartzman in the semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Christophe Ena/Associated Press

Nobody is more dominant at Roland Garros than Rafael Nadal. He’s won 12 French Open championships, four more than anybody else. And at 34, the Spaniard isn’t slowing down, having won the tournament each of the previous three years.

On Sunday, Nadal could potentially make it four in a row and win his 20th career Grand Slam title. But it’s never an easy task when he has to take on Novak Djokovic.

It’s not much of a surprise that Djokovic and Nadal, the top two seeds in the tournament, are in the men’s singles final at the French Open, which is set to take place at 9 a.m. ET on Sunday on NBC. Djokovic has 17 career Grand Slam titles and is always a contender at major tournaments, even though he only has one French Open victory (2016).

But that’s mainly because of Nadal’s dominance at the tournament. He’s won the French Open eight of the past 10 years and has a 99-2 career record at Roland Garros, per ATPTour.com. His only two losses came in the fourth round in 2009 to Robin Soderling and the quarterfinals in 2015 against Djokovic, whose 74 career wins at Roland Garros rank second behind Nadal.

When Djokovic won the French Open in 2016, Nadal withdrew from the tournament prior to his third-round match due to a wrist injury.

Djokovic leads the all-time series against Nadal 29-26, which includes victories in 10 of their past 13 meetings. They’ve only played each other once in 2020, a match that Djokovic won 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) at the ATP Cup on Jan. 12. And although Djokovic won their last meeting at Roland Garros in 2015, Nadal won the six previous French Open matchups between the two.

Djokovic may be one of only two men

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LeBron James stats: Lakers star does something only Larry Bird has

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He really does it all

There’s no question that LeBron James is one of the two best players in the history of the NBA. His status as an all-time great rivaled only by Michael Jordan is obvious, but it’s possible to still find ways to be amazed by him 17 seasons into his career. 

Take, for example, this stat. 

Accomplishing something only previously done by Larry Bird is impressive enough. Doing it six times? That’s ridiculous. 

The last thing I want to do is wade into the tired LeBron vs. Jordan argument, but this stat is a perfect illustration of why I prefer LeBron’s all-around dominance to Jordan’s scoring-focused greatness. The way he’s able to impact the game in so many different ways is what makes him a joy to watch. 

The stat almost seemed too good to be true when I first read it. (I believe it’s ESPN baseball writer Sam Miller who says every fun fact tells one small lie.) I thought it had to be a case—like Derek Jeter’s cumulative playoff stats—of LeBron playing more postseason games than guys who came before him. But no, the NBA playoffs have included 16 teams since 1984 (although the first round was a best-of-five until 2003). LeBron really just is that dominant. 

So, I decided to do some research of my own and adjust the numbers to include guys who aren’t triple double machines like LeBron, searching for players who have had a single postseason with 500 total points, 100 rebounds and 100 assists. The results just make LeBron’s playoff career more impressive. 

There have been only 15 players to record such a postseason: LeBron, Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Tim Duncan, Richard Hamilton, Allen Iverson, Paul Pierce, Isiah Thomas, Russell Westbrook