And so far so good after Djokovic destroyed his hapless countryman Duas Lajovic 6-0, 6-1 in the first round today at Monte Carlo.
Djokovic began at a blistering pace, and it quickly became apparent Lajovic was going to struggle to cope with the 12-time Grand Slam champion.
Djokovic dominated from the outset as Lajovic struggled, and despite some nervy moments on serve in the second set, wrapped up the match in under an hour to book a second-round meeting with Borna Coric.
American Donaldson saw the red mist as he was consigned to defeat by Ramos-Vinolas.
Nadal, who insists he feels injury-free, has a first-round bye and will play Aljaz Bedene or Mirza Basic in round two.
It was the type of result the ninth-seeded Djokovic was looking for as he seeks to regain his form.
(9) Novak Djokovic bt.
(14) Milos Raonic bt. "Hope I get more confidence and do well [at] these five tournaments on clay".
BC-TEN-Monte Carlo Masters, 2nd Ld-Writethru, 562 Djokovic relieved to reach Monte Carlo 2nd roundEds: Updates with more Djokovic quotes and details.
He lost just three points on serve in the first set and returned superbly, showing no mercy on his compatriot in a one-sided encounter watched by a crowd of 10,200.
The capacity 10,200-strong crowd were delighted when Lajovic won his first game for 1-1, with a smash victor, in a competitive second set.
Djokovic took the second half of a year ago off and then had a medical procedure in February.
Prior to Djokovic coming on court, spectators were treated to a brilliant showdown between Berdych and Nishikori. He knows what I need in order to get to the highest possible level of play.
Then, late in the match, the extra energy and inventiveness in Nishikori's play left Berdych flummoxed.
Jared Donaldson ranted at the chair umpire over a line call during his 6-3, 6-3 loss to Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Monday.
The 14th-ranked righty from Thornhill, Ont., will face either Italy's Marco Cecchinato or Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the second round of the clay-court tournament.
Ramos-Viñolas is the second Spaniard to advance to the round of 32, after Roberto Bautista won 6-4, 6-3 over Peter Gojowczyk of Germany earlier on Monday. Novak Djokovic, Alexander and Mischa Zverev, Marin Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov, Dominic Thiem, Lucas Pouille and David Goffin. He then won a 10th French Open.