We should have seen it coming.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course, but gave us all fair warning he was ready for everything could throw at him.
Having meandered through the tournament, hinting at a loss of focus and concentration in the aftermath of back-to-back Grand Slam titles in London and New York, Djokovic lasered in as he brushed Lucas Pouille aside in the semi-finals.
The performance was one thing – though it was tough to gauge how big a role the Grand Slam semi-final debutant’s nerves played – but the manner in which he conducted himself in the post-match press conference gave an insight into just how supremely confident Djokovic was.
‘Yes,’ he boldly declared when asked if he wanted to win his semi-final match for the loss of fewer games than Nadal. ‘It was hard to do that, but somehow managed.’
‘I adapt the age to the game,’ Djokovic stated when quizzed on his plans to adapt his game due to age. ‘I don’t feel at the moment that my body has any significant wear and tear that would compromise my game. My game is pretty much the same.’
Perhaps the most significant statement came when discussing Nadal’s new serve and aggressive playing style.
He pointed out: ‘At the same time it’s quite different playing against me, me against him. I think it adds more maybe pressure on his serve…’
And so it proved. The previously unchallenged serve was torn to shreds.
A source close to Djokovic’s camp told this tennis correspondent the Serb would only lose seven games in the final. He lost eight. Somewhat chillingly, the same outcome has been predicted at Roland Garros.
So has he worked out how to beat Nadal on all surfaces?
‘I don’t want to say I figured him out because I don’t want that to bounce back at me in any way in the future,’ Djokovic smiled.
‘I’m sure we’re still going to have a lot of matches against each other on different surfaces. I look forward to it.’
Pat Cash wasn’t afraid to stick his neck on the line: ‘I don’t think anybody can challenge Novak right now, the way he’s playing, he’s favourite for the French Open, I was thinking during the match, how Rafa could even beat him on clay…’
What is clear is Djokovic is seeking world domination once more.
Most Grand Slam titles (ATP)
20 – Federer
17 – Nadal
15 – Djokovic
14 – Sampras
He confessed he’s motivated by records. He wants to eclipse Roger Federer’s 20-strong all-time record Grand Slam haul. He craves the opportunity to hold all four majors again and become the first man in the Open Era to win every Slam twice or more.
There’s a sense of when not if Djokovic will catch the Swiss.
‘I would think Novak will certainly [pass Federer],’ legendary Australian Rod Laver said ahead of the final. ‘When you look at his age, and form winning the last two, I would say Djokovic can eclipse Roger.’
Djokovic didn’t hide his desire to do just that.
‘I am aware that making history of the sport that I truly love is something special. Of course, it motivates me,’ he said after the 6-3 6-2 6-3 win over Nadal.
‘I do want to definitely focus myself on continuing to improve my game and maintaining the overall well-being that I have mental, physical, emotional, so I would be able to compete at such a high level for the years to come, and have a shot at eventually getting closer to Roger’s record.’
He somewhat cautiously added: ‘It’s still far.’
On a mission to position himself as the greatest of all time (GOAT), only a handful of things can stop him.
A breakdown of his body is always a risk, given he’s into his 30s, but as his former coach Andre Agassi at Wimbledon: ‘…if he’s healthy his body is 31 going on 25.’
A renaissance of Federer – particularly at Wimbledon – and Nadal – particularly at Roland Garros – is always a possibility, but , at his best Djokovic is ‘unbeatable’.
Nadal, too, confessed even on top of his game he would struggle to hold his own against the Serb at that ‘super high level’.
‘…is true that maybe was difficult to beat him even if I was at my 100%,’
The continuing rise of the Next Gen could also throw a spanner in the works. Karen Khachanov and Alexander Zverev exposed some chinks in the armour at the end of 2018, although the stars of tomorrow are yet to truly impress on the biggest stages – despite Stefanos Tsitsipas’ best efforts this tournament.
Arguably the biggest concern for the rest of the field is the return of Djokovic’s fear factor.
All will have watched his demolition of Nadal. All will now be convinced the same can happen to them.
An impenetrable aura is a powerful thing, it can win matches before even stepping onto court.
Having seen him completely and utterly dominate in 2011, 2015 and again this past six months, it’s possible the 31-year-old can race beyond his great rivals without too many bumps in the road.
Nothing is certain, but Djokovic has every chance to leave this sport as the GOAT.