Sorry Rafa, but Novak loved the balls.
Those fluffy Dunlop globes that drove you crazy for two matches were absolutely perfect for the man who now has as many grand slams as you.
He said so himself after cruising past Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 7-6 7-6 to claim a 10th Australian Open title in a tournament where the welcome mat rolled out for a man who was famously missing last year looked more like a red carpet.
To be fair, Novak Djokovic has rarely played better than he has in the past fortnight. He put his own form up there with some of his most dominant seasons (2011 and 2015).
It wouldn’t have mattered if he had to play the whole tournament with a leg injury, no one was touching him in 2023. Especially with Nadal’s chances ruined by a bung hip.
But the preferential treatment he received certainly didn’t harm his chances.