The men on opposite ends of the bracket finally worked their way onto the same tennis court at the same time.
Sunday's men's final in the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells will be another Novak and Roger Show. This one will be Chapter 38.
Others sports have their Showtime. This is tennis'.
Djokovic, the younger at 27 and in his 138th week at No. 1, won his eighth major title at the
The score wasn't a true representation of the match. It wasn't that close.
"He very rarely plays poor matches," Murray said of Djokovic. "Maybe one or two a year."
This was not one of those.
Federer, a senior citizen in tennis years at 33, was No. 1 for 302 weeks — the record. He also has the most major titles for men at 17. Saturday was his 10th trip to the batting cage against the huge-serving Canadian Raonic — Djokovic calls him "Missile Milos" — and he has struck out only once.
This time, he won, 7-5, 6-4, and the best server on the court — not the flashiest on the speed gun, but the most effective — was Federer. Several of his service games took less than two minutes.
It was toss, swing, walk to the other side. Raonic managed one break point, early in the second set, and Federer just shrugged that away.
Federer is a master at doing what he needs to do. Other players have forehands, backhands and serves. Federer has all that, plus an on-off switch he has gone to repeatedly in this tournament.
For tennis fans, Sunday's big show won't be a new one. Djokovic and Federer have played 37 times, Federer leading, 20-17.
Federer, who still cherishes most his rivalry with
Djokovic said of Sunday's match, "It is the ultimate final I can have. [He is] probably the player that is in the best form."
They have met at Indian Wells only twice, but one of those was last year's final, a thriller. Djokovic won it, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3). Their other Indian Wells match was in 2011, and Djokovic also won that one, a three-set semifinal.
Twelve of their matches have been in Grand Slams. Of those, nine have been at the semifinal level and two were finals. Federer won the 2007 U.S. Open final, Djokovic last year's
Both are fathers. Djokovic has a five-month-old named Stefan, and TV courtside interviewer Pam Shriver, who does a nice job of prying normalcy out of these ball-hitting machines, got Djokovic to talk about his son.
"I was up at 7 this morning," he said, "changing diapers."
When she got to Federer after his victory, and mentioned that Djokovic had talked about his diaper-changing, Federer responded that his father duties were in play, too — "but times four."
Federer and his wife Mirka have two sets of twins. Unlike most fathers of four, who spend lots of time shopping for station wagons, Federer somehow remains in his tennis prime. This is his 15th trip to the desert and its tennis Valhalla. If he wins Sunday, it will be his fifth title, a record. Also an unheard-of .333 batting average.
Federer has mellowed on the topic of his age, relative to the young challengers. He says there is always "the next wave" rolling in. He is a tennis statesman, not a tennis elder statesman, even though the questions still keep coming.
Asked if he thought it was frustrating for the younger guys to see how he and others don't seem ready to go away with age, he smiled and said, "I do not think [it's frustrating] for the young guys. Maybe more for you guys.
"I've been hearing that since '09, so give me one shot, OK?"
The women's final matches
The men's Showtime Chapter 38 will follow the women's final. For that, all the statistics and analysis are helpful, but the bottom line for Djokovic versus Federer, and for fans watching, is probably best capsulized by that golf slogan.
These guys are good.