Rafael Nadal wins record seventh French Open
In a fractious final pushed into a third week for only the second time because of Sunday`s rain, the Spanish world number two, playing in his 16th Grand Slam final, also took his Paris record to a staggering 52 wins against just one loss.
Victory, which was achieved on a Djokovic double fault, allowed him to break the tie for six French Opens he shared with Bjorn Borg.
It was the 26-year-old`s 11th Grand Slam title, taking him one behind Roy Emerson, three off Pete Sampras and five away from the record of 16 held by Roger Federer.
For five-time major winner Djokovic, the Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champion, it was the end of his dream of emulating Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) by holding all the Grand Slams at once.
He was left to regret his unforced error count of 53 which undermined his challenge.
After Sunday`s suspension, the players, meeting in a fourth successive Grand Slam final, resumed with Nadal leading 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2, but with Djokovic in the ascendancy and serving for a 3-1 lead in the fourth set.
But a forehand error from Djokovic, with the court at his mercy, gave Nadal a break point and the Spaniard seized it when the Serb had been left flat-footed by a net cord which allowed his opponent to push through a winner.
The set remained tight as would be expected with the pair meeting for a 33rd time.