The two big rivals are now at the top of the men’s all-time standings after Nadal’s brilliant 6-0 6-2 7-5 victory over world number one Djokovic.
The Spaniard has been dominant for so long at Roland Garros that it seemed like nothing he had done could come as a surprise but producing such a performance against a man who hadn’t lost a game finished all season was in Breathtaking.
Nadal hit 31 winners and made just 14 unforced errors, leaving Djokovic, who hoped to become the first man in the Open era to lift every slam trophy at least twice, unable to come up with answers.
The third set was at least competitive and allowed Djokovic to avoid his worst slam loss, but it was definitely Nadal’s day.
Having started the tournament by saying that the cool and wet fall conditions, coupled with heavier balls, would make this French Open the most difficult for him to win, Nadal finished it without losing a set.
Conditions were expected to favor Djokovic, especially when the rain just before the start prompted the organizers to close the roof, and all indications were that this would be one of their breathtaking and de play while stopped.
But, much like last year’s Australian Open final, when Djokovic crushed Nadal, it was a virtuoso performance by a man on the stage that he made his own.
The tone was set in the opener of the game when Nadal went from 40 to 15, Djokovic immediately turned to the drop shot and paid the price.
But the Serbian’s biggest Achilles heel was his serve, and his failure to land more than 42% of his first delivery contributed to the love he was forced to digest.
Nadal was virtually flawless – serving with precision, defending superbly, dropping his big guns at the right times and choosing his shots with impeccable judgment.
It was only the second love established in 56 matches between them and just the second for Djokovic in a slam as he was a fresh-faced 18-year-old.
Djokovic eventually entered the field in the first game of the second set after saving three more break points but there was nothing he could do to change the momentum of the game.
By the time he won another match, Nadal was on the verge of taking a two-set lead, which he duly did at the next opportunity.
Djokovic, whose game is built on precision, felt compelled to go for bigger shots closer and closer to the lines and paid the price with a host of costly mistakes.
But there were signs early in the third set that Nadal was slightly lowering the stratosphere he occupied and, although Djokovic played a bad game to be broken for 3-2, he eventually landed a blow against the serve from his opponent in the next match. .
With that came a huge roar – the first real sign of emotion from a player who admitted that in order to perform at his best he has to wear his heart on his sleeve.
Was it a legacy of his disqualification in New York for hitting a linesman with a ball or just an acceptance that on that day in that arena he didn’t have what he needed?
The break was the rift of light he needed, however, and there was more fire about Djokovic as he tried to turn the game around.
He saved a break point at 4-4 but a double fault on another at 5-5 let Nadal serve for the title, and he landed it with an ace.