The symmetry with 2016 is a factor Djokovic hopes can fuel his title pursuit in Paris.
For example, in 2016 he began his season by prevailing past Nadal in the Doha final. In 2020, he was the talisman to guide Serbia to inaugural ATP Cup glory by, you guessed it, defeating Nadal in the final.
The world No.1 was in exhilarating form in both seasons to rule Melbourne Park, lifting the Australian Open trophy.
In both years he arrived at Roland-Garros clutching a clay-court trophy, Madrid (2016) and Rome (2020).
Even the match wins tally up some familiarity: 32-1 this season versus the 36-3 of four years ago.
“Every year is different obviously. You are a different person and different player, even though a lot of things seem similar,” mused Djokovic.
“I keep on coming back here hoping that it's going to be another success and that I'll be able to fight for the trophy, of course. If that's not the case, if I don't have that kind of motivation and goal, I wouldn't be here, trust me. I have only the highest goals and I work towards them.”
The top seed, currently on 287 total weeks at No.1, is also honing in on Federer’s record 310 weeks at the summit.
Playing with such crushing consistency it seems incrementally in reach. Another goal for Djokovic with such burgeoning belief.