Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have a special history. Picture: AFP Photo
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have a special history. Picture: AFP Photo

Victory is vital, history can wait

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are united in a common Australian Open mentality: victory is the sole imperative, history can wait.

Title success for either man will rewrite the record books.

If Djokovic triumphs, he will become the first man to win seven Norman Brookes Challenge Trophies, breaking his tie with Roy Emerson and Roger Federer.

If Nadal succeeds, he will become only the third male to lift all four singles majors at least twice. The others to accomplish the feat are Rod Laver and Emerson.

For all that, the only thing occupying the minds of the world's top-ranked pair is the business of winning.

"We can promise one thing, and that's knowing both of us that we're going to give absolutely everything out on the court," Djokovic, the reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion said.

"Of course, playing Rafa requires a different approach tactically. I'm sure it's the same from his side towards me.

"The intensity that he brings on the court is immense. Without a doubt, probably the most intense tennis player that I have witnessed and played against.

"He doesn't allow you to kind of ease your way into the match.

"Mentally obviously and emotionally what I think will do it for both of us, that will allow us to cross the finish line as a winner, (is) who is able to kind of stay more focused, more determined.

"It's no secret."

Nadal will pocket an 18th major - just two shy of Federer - if he wins his second Melbourne Park Crown.

Triumphant in 2009, the Spaniard is desperate to avoid adding a fourth straight finals loss here after defeats in 2012, '14 and '17.

The left-hander says he has no interest in history until his career is over.

"That's the main reason probably why Roger, Novak and me, we're still here, because we pushed each other during a lot of years," Nadal said.

"I always say the same: I do my way, then when I finish my career, we'll see where I am, where Roger is, where Novak is.

"My real goal is just try to keep doing the things that I am doing as long as possible, of course, giving me chances to compete at the highest level.

"If I'm able to make that happen, maybe I will keep having chances to win.

"Against a player like Novak, especially when he was playing well. Will be a tough one. I need to be 100 per cent ready for the action.

"At the same time it is a motivation for me to play against a player like him in this very important place against the No. 1 of the world when he's playing so well, too.

"For me is a motivation. I am excited about that match."