The Serbian world number one said he was motivated to "have a shot" at Federer's record but conceded that it was "still far" away. I did have sports tradition. "Of course, it motivates me", he told reporters after celebrating the demolition of his greatest rival in their 53rd meeting.
From there, Djokovic knuckled down to complete one of his most stunning victories.
At 31 years old, six years younger than Federer, he has time on his side.
Nadal's remodelled serve was quickly under siege, and he punched his racket strings in frustration after giving up two break points in the fourth game.
The Serb's victory was simply magnificent as he embarrassed Nadal in 124 minutes of spellbinding dominance.
The Spaniard played his semifinal bout a day earlier than the Serb but even he was aware of the impending match. He dropped his first service game en route to a 6-3 defeat in the opening set - the first set that Nadal had dropped in the tournament to that point. Less than a year ago, Djokovic fell to Marco Cecchinato in the French Open quarterfinals, extending his slump to two years; since then, he's won 21 straight Grand Slam matches, including all nine sets of three finals.
When it was all said and done, the history books will have recorded a dominant win for Djokovic but speaking with the media following the match, Nadal was keen to refute suggestions nerves were responsible for his under-par performance on the court. I think that this final comes at the right time for both of us.
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"We push each other to the limit of our tennis level", said Nadal.
Sunday's final was the quickest grand slam meeting between the pair.
He also broke a tie with his idol, Pete Sampras, for third-most Grand Slam trophies; Djokovic now only trails Federer, with 20, and Nadal. I had the surgery exactly 12 months ago so to be standing in front of you today and to win this title and three out of four Slams is fantastic.
He cemented his status as the "King of Clay" by winning consecutive French Open titles between 2006 and 2008, before repeating the feat between 2010 and 2014. This was the most startling example of what Djokovic can do on the Melbourne stage.
"I don't want to say I figured him out because I don't want that to bounce back at me in any way in the future", Djokovic said.
"I just walked off the court but when the lights are off, I'm really looking forward to that moment because it has been quite a special journey in the last 12 months". I am already playing better. "Here, if some of those points go our side, I believe (Nadal) will have the chance to win".
ATP Finals victor Alexander Zverev, 21, has yet to go beyond the quarter-finals in a Slam. I did not have a tennis tradition in my family.
The Spaniard has made a marked improvement in his serve during his rehabilitation period as he recovered from the injury he sustained in the US Open semifinal previous year.