This past offseason, at 32, Nadal retooled his strokes and tactics again - this time, with the goal of playing more efficient, effective tennis on hard courts, the surface that has exacted the harshest toll on his knees over a 19-year pro career.
A repeat of that epic never materialised with Nadal uncharacteristically nervous at the start and Djokovic taking immediate advantage.
"The positive things that happened these couple of weeks make us very optimistic regarding his future and his level", Moya said of Nadal.
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That leaves Djokovic and Nadal firmly atop the sport.
He committed nine unforced errors while hitting 34 winners, often under pressure and off balance. But the Spaniard has the edge in Grand Slam finals 4-3 and has won the last three.
"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".
The world No.1 has now won the last three Grand Slam titles in succession, surpassing the trophy hauls of both Emerson and his idol Pete Sampras with his 15th major in the process.
And he is gaining on them.
The following game saw Nadal take more than one point on his opponent's serve for the first time in the match, but after two deuces Djokovic survived his first real test to maintain his advantage.
A sore right elbow cost Djokovic the last half of 2017.
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"I had surgery exactly 12 months ago".
All that is in the past.
The 31-year-old does have a lot to think about. Djokovic will go to Paris in May for the French Open seeking to become the only man in the Open Era to win all four majors twice, and with victory would hold all four majors at the same time for the second time in his career.
Nadal also has dealt with all manner of health issues.
As is customary after the Australian Open final, the ball kids get to come back out on court and pose for photos with the victor and the trophy.
"Even if tonight was not my night, for it is so important to be where I am today", he told the audience in Melbourne. "Not much sleeping but I learnt my lesson previous year..."
Djokovic and Nadal know each other, their styles and their patterns all too well.
It will be the 53rd meeting two giants of the games and their eighth in the final of a Grand Slam. Not only for the final but also what it takes to recover from that and the risk of injury.
So there should not have been any mysteries out there on Rod Laver Arena's blue court as they began with the temperature, which had topped 105 degrees (40 Celsius) in recent days, at a manageable 75 (25 C) and just a hint of wind.
It was a performance so flawless, so fantastic, that it was easy to feel as if only one man on the planet might have a chance of preventing Djokovic from claiming a record seventh Australian Open title: Rafael Nadal.
It wasn't the only grand gesture on a night full of them.