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Nadal Ready For 40th Djokovic Duel

Miami, U.S.A.

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal seeks his first Miami crown as he faces Novak Djokovic for the 40th time on Sunday.

Rafael Nadal will renew his rivalry with second-seed Novak Djokovic when they battle for the 40th time in the Sony Open Tennis final.

It will be just the third time in tournament history that the top-two ranked players in the Emirates ATP Rankings will vie for the title, and the first since Nadal and Djokovic contested a thriller in 2011.

Djokovic emerged victorious in a deciding tie-break in that encounter. When they meet on Sunday, Nadal will be seeking revenge as he eyes his first title in Miami and 27th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown.

The Spaniard hopes his 10th trip to Crandon Park is the charm. “When I go on court, when I start in the tournament, I always have the motivation, the passion and the love for tournament that I'm playing,” Nadal said. “Miami is a very important tournament that I never had the chance to win in the past. It is my fourth final, by the way. Positive results. To be able to play four finals in one tournament is because you did well, and I’m going to try to be ready for Sunday.”

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When asked what his game plan will be against one of his biggest rivals, Nadal confirmed that he has to continue to attack often and play aggressive. After 39 FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters with Djokovic, there are no secrets.

“My thoughts are always the same,” added the World No. 1 “The only chance to win against Novak is to play to the limit, play my best. I will see. I know I have to be solid with my serve. I need to play aggressive, no doubt about that.

“For me, it is a very important result to be in the final of Miami. After Indian Wells, to be able to compete for the title in the tournament where I have a lot of friends, a Latin crowd that supports me every day, that’s very important for me. To be in the final already there are 600 (Emirates ATP Ranking) points that for me, at this part of the season, are very important.”

Novak & Rafa: The Rivalry

Nadal enters the final having dropped a mere nine games through his first three matches and having battled back from an early deficit against No. 12 seed Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals.

“I played well the first three matches, and I think I finished the match yesterday playing much better again,” said Nadal. “You know, you have to be at 100%. The adrenaline has to be very, very high to play over your regular level.

“In general, I think I played more solid than what I did in Indian Wells and Rio and I played with better movement too. I lost my serve only one time during the whole tournament and that's very important for me on this surface.”

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