The Paris crowd and excitable media are expecting a classic Roger v Rafa classic in the French Open final, Federer himself too, but the world number one is eager to douse expectations.
The Swiss won the title last year by beating Swede Robin Soderling, the very man who did him the favour of knocking out Nadal in the fourth round.
Following his title in Madrid earlier this month, the Spaniard jumped to second in the ATP standings, making sure he could only face his fierce rival and close friend in the Roland Garros final.
"We've talked about this already a little. I don't know if I need to answer the same question all the time, but I hope I'll be playing the finals. If it's him, it's perfect," Federer told reporters after a commanding 6-4 6-1 6-2 win over Australian Peter Luczak in the first round on Monday.
Federer treated the centre court crowd to some stunning strokes, including a few jaw-dropping drop shots, showing glimpses of his brilliant best.
"Otherwise, what a pity for him; what a pity for me if I don't reach this stage, the finals," Federer added.
"We'll see. It's the first round, not the semifinals, unfortunately. But we'll see."
Four-times champion Nadal starts his French Open campaign on Tuesday with a first-round encounter with France's Gianni Mina.
(Editing by Miles Evans; To query or comment on this story email email@example.com)