His own supporters rallied with cries of “Novak! Novak” after two stunning pass shots but the ball he dumped into the net to concede that second set prompted a “Carlos! Carlos!” riposte that was much louder. Things got worse in only the fourth point of the third set when Djokovic misjudged a bounce near the baseline and missed the ball completely.

He was getting more and more tetchy, at one point telling the umpire “You must feel good about yourself” over an electronically produced let call. Alcaraz broke Djokovic three times in that third set – including the epic 26-minuter – and the conclusion was cue for a suspiciously long rest break.

It clearly worked – Djokovic looking fresher and breaking in the fifth game of the fourth set. Djokovic had lost his footing a few times but now it was Alcaraz taking an untidy tumble as he could do little to prevent the match going to a deciding set.

After the younger man had suffered cramp in their semi-final meeting at Roland Garros, Djokovic now looked to be the favourite. But after an exhilarating rally in the third game, it was Alcaraz who got the early advantage and Djokovic the code violation for racket abuse.

From here on neither man would break… or crucially, be broken. As the grey Wimbledon skies began to show their first signs of darkening, Alcaraz fired his final bullet into the corner and Djokovic could only fend it back into the net.

Alcaraz collapsed to the grass; suddenly it felt like a new dawn for men’s tennis.