mutua madrid open acts as the second big clay court event of the season and except for Roger Federer who won't commit to an extended clay schedule, all other relevant names on the men's tour are currently in the Spanish capital seeking to improve their numbers. Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are the main stars of the first half of the draw, while on the bottom side of it there are Novak Djokovic and Nadal -- each of them with a similar goal in mind but with totally different backgrounds lately. If the Spaniard is a clear favorite to win the tournament, keeping in mind his latest clay court numbers, things are a bit unclear at the moment judging by his latest decision to part ways with his staff.

Djokovic leads the fourth quarter of the draw with Nadal being surrounded by young ATP stars in the third one

An encounter having Djokovic and Nadal on opposite sides is only possible if they both reach the semis. The draw seems to give Djokovic a clearer path towards the higher stages. As a top seed, the Serb received a bye in the first round and will face either Tommy Robredo or Nicolas Almagro in the next session. For the third round, Gilles Simon may pose as an opponent for the Serb, while in the quarterfinals things might get interesting as Djokovic may face either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Albert Ramos-Vinolas or Kei Nishikori. The one with the most compelling results of these three players is Ramos-Vinolas, who saw his game going to a new level as he reached the final in Monte-Carlo and the quarters in Barcelona.

On the other side, Rafael Nadal, who got himself into a winning bubble lately is sharing quarter with the younger wave of ATP stars, Milos Raonic, David Goffin, and Nick Kyrgios. Also a top seed, Nadal received a bye in the opening round and he is set to face Fabio Fognini next. In the third round, it's likely that Nick Kyrgios will cast a shadow over the Spaniard's side.

The last 8 stages could bring up Goffin or Raonic to battle against Nadal.

Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal has already won the status of a classic rivalry in tennis history

Their rivalry goes way back in time, having their first showdown at the 2006 French Open. Its been about 11 years since they first met and their shared history consists of 49 matches.

So, at 2017 Mutua Madrid Open, the 50th page of the saga could be written. Their head to head stats have Djokovic in front, with the Serb leading 26-23 in win/loss ratio. The more important thing is that Djokovic won the last 7 matches, while Nadal hasn't won since 2014 in the French Open final.

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