Nadal had not dropped a set prior to facing the top-ranked Djokovic on Sunday night and had devastatingly seen off the challenge of several rising stars such as Roger Federer's conqueror Stefanos Tsitsipas, who could win only six games in their semi-final.
"I had some disappointing moments where I lost to him". The game of tennis is no different in this regard.
He also quit at the 2006 and 2007 French Opens at the third round and quarter-final stages respectively, while at the 2009 Australian Open, where he was defending champion, he pulled out of his quarter-final with Andy Roddick citing heat exhaustion.
"I am truly speechless", Djokovic told the Melbourne crowd after he won.
No one who saw it would disagree.
The Serbian had a more or less flawless Australian Open campaign as he marched onto the final with minimum fuss.
He moved past Federer and Australian great Roy Emerson's six Melbourne titles, after two barren years Down Under with elbow problems.
As for Osaka - a 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 victor over Petra Kvitova in Saturday's final - what makes her sudden surge to the top particularly noteworthy is that it comes right after a period of apparent depth but no dominance.
"When he's playing that way, I think I needed something else", Nadal said.
Nadal has his own case to make, and what about the forgotten GOAT, Rod Laver? Djokovic is widely recognized as one of the best of all-time in that department, which has helped him dominate against Nadal in their careers on outdoor hard courts by a decisive 14-5 margin. The answer, perhaps, lies in the nearly palpable demonstration of Djokovic's conviction and self-belief through his tactics.
The duo were meeting in major final for the eighth time. He continuously attacked, to the point that it became completely nullified.
Djokovic leads 27-25 overall but on hard courts the statistics are even more in the Serbian's favour.
"I really hope we will because this rivalry has been the one that impacted me on a personal and professional level the most in my life".
The numbers at the end of the match depicted a similar story.
Djokovic made only nine unforced errors against a player he labelled as his "greatest rival", including just one in the second set, and on five occasions he broke the remodelled Nadal serve. The champion also edged Nadal in terms of forehand winners, with a margin of 12-10. It was as if Nadal was playing on gravel while Djokovic glided on air. But as it turned out, the respective approaches of both players was the difference between victory and defeat.
Djokovic started the first set strongly, dictating with his serve and power shots and forcing Nadal to stay towards the back of the court. Djokovic took advantage of an inconsistent serving performance in the semifinals from Frenchman Lucas Pouille with his superior return service.
Said Djokovic: "I don't want this to sound arrogant but I've done it once, why not do it again?"
"I do not know if there is a possible tactic against such an inspired opponent".
The gulf in class between Djokovic and Nadal was evident as the world No 1 collected his third straight Grand Slam title.