Thiem is the only player to have beaten Nadal on clay in the past two years – winning in best-of-three set matches in Rome and Madrid.
But Nadal showed no signs of slowing down his march to history.
Representing team Europe, the legendary Roger Federer stepped onto the court with his doubles partner Rafael Nadal as the crowd looked on in awe.
Nadal is now the fourth man in the Open Era to win three or more Grand Slams after turning 30, having won his third since turning 30.
Nadal clinched an 11th French Open with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory against Dominic Thiem on Sunday to take his majors total to 17.
Another dominant statistic that might go unnoticed is that the King of Clay has only gone to five sets twice before, and he won both times.
That was about as disheartening as it got for the world number one.
But he could not match Nadal’s point-by-point consistency and intensity on Sunday. I am enjoying that moment. “The watch keeps going always”, Nadal said. For the past two years, Thiem has been threatening to encroach on Nadal’s territory.
Even this year, injury has continued to hound Nadal with a hip problem forcing him to quit his Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic.
Congratulations for the 11th.’ Gabriela Sabatini: ‘Enormous Rafa 11 Roland Garros! Serving to stay in the set at 4-5, the Austrian had Nadal scampering with a massive forehand down the line, but with the entire expanse of the court to play with, he dumped a resultant backhand volley into the net. That span would have been shorter, had he not pushed the allotted time between points well past the official limit of 25 seconds, reaching around 40 whenever Thiem put him under pressure on his own serve.
Thiem undid all his good work in the next game, netting an easy volley on the first point and gifting Nadal three more unforced errors to hand over the first set.
Everyone else turns up at the French Open expecting him to dominate, yet Nadal is the man who actually has to deliver on those presumptuous expectations.
Speaking of semifinals, Nadal is flawless when he has reached that round with an 11-0 record – and of course, an 11-0 record in finals appearances as well. No, no, no, I can’t – I can’t be always thinking of more. His first Grand Slam doesn’t come around every week so he had better make the most of it.
“You can’t live with this feeling”.
“I mean, it’s a big goal for me to play, soon, another Slam final”, Thiem said.
He is now entered to play the Queen’s Club tournament next week.
He set his jaw and stared off into space, downcast, as the love poured down for Nadal after the match, but managed a smile when Nadal predicted he would win a championship here. Of course decide what’s better for my body.