Monfils saved two more match points, the second with a superb crosscourt forehand, but Djokovic converted at the fourth attempt with a simple volley.
Djokovic, a 12-time Grand Slam champion who is also president of the ATP players' council, spoke after reaching the third round at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Thursday. It was nothing of the sort.
"We know it can be very hot here in Australia", said the 19-time grand slam victor.
He will next play the victor of Friday's later match between Tennys Sandgren and Maximilian Marterer.
"Good luck for the guys", Monfils said.
The elbow remains a problem. In the first game of the third set, with the Frenchman serving at 30-15, both players found themselves playing from behind the baseline. "It's not 100 per cent - but it will be", he said later.
A two-day heatwave has seen matches at Melbourne Park played in soaring temperatures, which peaked on Friday at 40.2C.
"It's really hard. The last couple of days haven't been that hot but then it's shot up to 40 degrees". Unseeded Monfils needed a medical timeout for heat stress and said he had trouble breathing.
"I was dying on the court for 40 minutes", Monfils told reporters later after having cooled down in a cold tub.
The defending champion said: "I enjoy when we have good points".
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After, Djokovic agreed the heat was tough. Unless you've played in Sydney or Brisbane, you're coming in from mid 20s to 40s. "[Today] it was right at the limit". Losing a high seed due to weather conditions is also not in their best interest.
"It should be leveraged more because of the promotion of our sport", he said. He started well. I didn't start well at all. We are blessed to have a great financial (reward) and lifestyle but what is more important is our health. They're struggling some way or another, health-wise or physiologically. It is a very complex subject to talk about.
"You're always obliged to play the mandatory events". At times it seems a bit too much.
Open organisers again decided against enacting the extreme heat policy as players battled through a second straight day of sweltering conditions at Melbourne Park. "But there should be some conversation about players' wellbeing". Both Djokovic and Monfils were dragging in between points throughout the match.
Edmund, 23, is the last British player remaining in singles after Andy Murray's injury withdrawal and Johanna Konta's upset loss Thursday. There were a few clues that this had unsettled him, glimpses of the tantrums which had been part of his style when he first arrived.
Federer, a former president of the council, played a pivotal role in persuading the Grand Slam tournaments to raise prize money in the early 2010s.
Djokovic certainly did not start on top. "That's what happens when we play each other". "Never easy to feel that way on the court".
Meanwhile, he's back in business - and back where he belongs.
RON REED has spent more than 50 years as a sportswriter or sports editor, mainly at The Herald and Herald Sun.