For Novak Djokovic, stellar returning has helped him demoralise opponents. For Stefanos Tsitsipas, it’s been all about the forehand.

Which weapon will prove the most potent when they clash in the Australian Open men’s singles final?

Djokovic’s return has long been legendary.

And it has helped push him into yet another AO final, where he will target an incredible 10th singles title at Melbourne Park.

He will also be aiming for a 10th straight win against Tsitsipas.

The 35-year-old Serb has thrived on return at AO2023, among the top five in multiple return-of-serve categories.

He is winning 60 per cent of second-serve return points (fifth best of any man in the draw) and 40 per cent of first-serve return points, putting him equal third with Jannik Sinner.

He is winning 44 per cent of return games (second best in this category), and he has struck a tournament-high 18 return winners.

He is also the tournament leader in early breaks converted; that is, how often he wins a set after breaking serve in one of the first four games of the set.

Djokovic is doing this 96 per cent of the time, which means that, when he gets a fast start in sets, it spells doom for opponents.

Yet Tsitsipas is playing with a similar urgency, and this is reflected in his forehand statistics.

After striking his serve, the Greek star is playing a forehand as his next shot 86 per cent of the time, the third highest percentage of any man in the tournament.

This far exceeds the men’s average of 71 per cent – a demonstration of his intent to dictate.

Further proof of this comes in Tsitsipas’ average rally length at AO 2023, which at 3.74 shots is shorter than during his semifinal runs of 2021 and 2022.

And he is doing damage when he gets a chance to strike that ferocious forehand.

TSITSIPAS: “It is important to keep a steady mind”

He is among the top five players when measured on forehand heaviness – a combination of his speed (130.3 kph average) and spin (3,013 rpm average) – and he has struck a tournament-high 105 forehand winners.

So, how will one of the sport’s great aggressors, in Tsitsipas, fare against perhaps its greatest neutraliser, in Djokovic?

We will find out when the men’s final begins at 7.30pm AEDT on Sunday.