Nadal won his record-extending 11th championship at the French Open on Sunday (NZT Monday), overcoming a late problem with a finger on his racket-swinging hand and displaying his foe-rattling best for a 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory over No 7 seed Thiem, the only person to beat the Spaniard on clay over the past two seasons.
The Spanish world number one took his Roland Garros win-loss record to a jaw-dropping 86-2 as he captured his 17th Grand Slam title.
Nadal is now the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to win the same Grand Slam tournament 11 times, a feat that has been dubbed La Undécima, after Real Madrid's bid to win an 11th European Cup.
Nadal will have Federer's record of 20 Grand Slams in his sights, and will be hoping to challenge the Swiss at Wimbledon at the start of July. "I played a great match against a great player", said Nadal.
Come rain or shine, the passing of the years or a worrying attack of cramp in the hand, nothing seems to be able to stop Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.
His uncle thought wrapping around Nadal's left forearm was too tight.
Nadal's career title count, which is now fourth on the all-time list, behind Jimmy Connors (109), Federer (97), and Ivan Lendl (94), and ahead of John McEnroe (77), whose tally he equalled and then surpassed with titles this year in Barcelona and Rome, respectively.
"If you tell me seven, eight years ago that I will be here. having this trophy with me again, I will tell you that is something nearly impossible", Nadal said.
"It's not even a dream to win here 11 times, because it's impossible to think of something like this".
Nadal -5.5 games is available on the Exchange at [1.68] and given the fact that Nadal has tended to dominate Thiem on non-quick clay, this should be a very likely outcome if Nadal wins the final.
Rafael Nadal is the French Open 2018 victor. Throughout his 14 years competing here, Nadal has only lost two matches.
- Title number nine in his ninth final for Nadal and his 14th Grand Slam success on an afternoon where temperatures nudged 30 degrees.
The Austrian hit straight back to inflict an eleventh break of the tournament on the Spaniard as the first set became a mixture of brilliance and attrition, with the first seven games taking 45 minutes.
But from the moment Nadal broke serve in the 10th game to win the opening set Thiem's belief ebbed away. Two players have succeeded in defeating him, and his body let him down on a third occasion. Nadal is 49-2 since 2017 when playing on clay.
The Austrian won just one point in falling 2-0 behind but got back on serve immediately courtesy of two pinpoint forehands, and three rescued break points over games four and six were further evidence of his growing confidence.