By Mark Meadows

The two greats of the modern era meet in Sunday's French Open final in yet another grand slam showdown after crushing the new wave which Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray represented.

Paris is a place of traditions, from the pavement artists and street cafes to the age-old architecture and classic menus.

The Roland Garros fans were not going to give up on the chance of dining on another Nadal v Federer final and the way they roared Swiss Federer on in Friday's semi-final as Djokovic lost for the first time in 42 matches this year was testament to that.

"Obviously I've got my hands full with (Nadal) now," Federer, beaten in three Paris finals by the Spaniard, told reporters.


But this is a different Federer, who has looked happier than ever on the red stuff over the last fortnight having not been in a grand slam final for over a year as Nadal took over the number one ranking and Djokovic threatened.

Despite Federer's upsurge in form, he faces a huge task in the final given Nadal has only ever lost one match in the men's singles at the French Open, losing to Robin Soderling in 2009.

The 25-year-old, who celebrated his birthday by beating Murray in the last four, endured his first five-set match at Roland Garros in the first round and labored in his following matches before rediscovering his spark.

He reckoned halfway through the tournament that he was not playing well enough to win a sixth crown and equal Bjorn Borg's record in Paris.

Now his confidence has flowed back in droves and he is the same single-minded Nadal he has ever been.

"A lot of respect for the great Bjorn, but I am focusing on trying to play well," he said as he looks to cling to his top ranking.

"For me, it is much more important to win Roland Garros than equal Bjorn."

(Editing by Alastair Himmer/Alan Baldwin)