That trickle-down effect has persisted ever since. Suddenly, Federer was playing freely against his rival, winning their subsequent encounters in Indian Wells, Miami and Shanghai – all in straight sets. The head-to-head, which Federer once woefully trailed 10-23, has become a far-more respectable 15-23.
And with Djokovic faltering and without a major trophy for almost two years, Federer has pushed well ahead of both him and Nadal on that “major titles won” list.
With his latest Grand Slam triumph at Australian Open 2018, Federer has well and truly cemented his GOAT credentials.
So what’s left to achieve when you’ve already scaled the summit?
Aim higher. As Leigh Walsh observed in the AO Live Blog: “Maybe I’m reading too much in this but who doesn’t love a sign? As Federer meandered down the walk of champions as he exited Rod Laver Arena, he gave a little tap to the pillar which Steffi Graf hangs from. Maybe a little suggestion of ... “I’m coming for your 22 (Grand Slam titles)?”