Speaking about the consequences of the controversial addition to the game, Nadal said ahead of his Monte Carlo title defence: "For me it's not the ideal thing but if the sport is moving that way or they want to move that way, the only thing I can do is accept it and play".
The Serb said he is now playing pain-free, after struggling with a right elbow injury. "He's always there for me, knows me inside out".
If Djokovic now appears to have put such struggles behind him, that may be because he has reunited with Marian Vajda, the avuncular Slovakian coach who had been his mentor and father figure since the age of 19.
Donaldson called for a supervisor and when Gabas said he had been aggressive, the world number 51 replied sarcastically: "Oh I'm sorry, I hurt your feelings". I know that I can play much better than that, but I couldn't.
But Djokovic was able to step up his game when needed, saving it and breaking in the fourth game to tighten his grip on the match.
The Spaniard is hoping he has the game to dominate the clay court season in the same manner as past year when, 12 months ago, he went on to win a 10th Barcelona title then completed La Decima at Rolland Garros.
Djokovic looked totally out of sorts when he slumped to shock defeats to Taro Daniel and Benoit Paire in Indian Wells and Miami respectively last month, but stopped the rot in his first match on the red surface this year.
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"After two years, finally I can play without pain", added Djokovic. "Then a few days later he says he will not play in one event, so there's a little bit of controversy with that." . "Playing well below the desired level, it wasn't easy for me to cope".
"I didn't know in which direction I wanted to go after Indian Wells and Miami". We just split in a very normal way. "We're going to both work to keep it that way".
Meanwhile, Japan's Kei Nishikori, who is recovering from a wrist injury, took down 12th-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.
This will be the pair's second-ever meeting with their first meeting actually coming in Monte Carlo back in 2016. His serve motion seemed more relaxed and effective than it did in the USA last month.
"It's actually great to come back this tournament", said Nishikori.
Other seeded players to win were No. 11 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, No. 14 Milos Raonic of Canada and No. 15 Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain.
Ramos-Vinolas, who lost in last year's final, beat Jared Donaldson 6-3, 6-3.