Three days later, Nadal was on the receiving end. "I am not new on this".
"I have been playing against a player that was at the highest level possible".
Despite having clashed 14 times previously at the slams, and nine times in finals, Djokovic and Nadal haven't stoushed at the pointy end of a major in nearly five years.
It was the statistics on hard courts that were most relevant for Melbourne Park, though.
At 31, Djokovic has time to chase down that record, with Federer winning the most recent of his 20 at the age of 37 at last year's Australian Open.
Djokovic made only nine unforced errors against Nadal, taking his tally to just 23 in his final three matches - a total which was fewer than the number he had made in each of his opening four matches. With the win at the Australian Open, his unbeaten streak at Grand Slams has now been extended to 21 matches and during this run he has dropped just eight sets. Now they're 4-4 in Grand Slam finals.
"I was not able to have that extra thing tonight, being honest".
Nadal and Djokovic remain at the top of their sport.
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Part of the problem was that the Spaniard did not appear to trust the more aggressive game that had carried him through to the final without the loss of a set and instead reverted to his more defensive clay-court style.
Nadal only had one look at break point - 1 hour, 46 minutes into the match - and he couldn't convert after netting a backhand. He looked as good as ever on a hard court throughout these couple of weeks.
He reduced one of the greats of the game to just another outclassed opponent _ just a guy, really _ and one so out of sorts that Nadal even whiffed on one of his famous forehands entirely.
Nothing comes free from Djokovic and Nadal couldn't even get anything cheap.
I might have figured him out for the match, but not for life.. Up two sets, he even deployed a few weird, rather unnecessary drop shots-not to toy with Nadal, one would think, but just because he could. "I'm going to keep fighting, keep practicing, [doing] all the things I have to, to give myself a better chance in the future".
"Of course, Novak is the favourite tomorrow", said Nadal after defeating Tsitsipas.
"Unbelievable", said Nadal's coach, Carlos Moya. But, five months without competing, having that big challenge in front of me, I needed something else. "I played against a player that today was better than me".
"I mean, I'm sure we're still going to have a lot of matches against each other on different surfaces". Djokovic said in the aftermath of his latest victory.
In eclipsing the six Open titles of Roger Federer and Australian Roy Emerson, Djokovic also surpassed American legend Pete Sampras to elevate himself to outright third on the all-time grand slam title leaderboard with a 15th career major. This was the most startling example of what Djokovic can do on the Melbourne stage.