The Spaniard moves to within three titles of Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam crowns.
“It’s really incredible,” Nadal told a packed centre court after his victory. “I played a good match. It was my best of the tournament and I had to because Dominic plays an incredibly aggressive game.”
Nadal, 32, had to deal with cramp in his left hand in the third set and received on court treatment while serving at 2-1.
“I was frightened when that happened,” the Spaniard admitted. “It’s incredible to win. I can’t say it was a dream to win 11 times because I could never think such a thing."
Thiem was ultimately undone by his waywardness at key moments. No more so than when serving at 4-5 down in the first set. A lax backhand volley gave the first point to Nadal. And the 24-year-old Austrian compounded his woes with a forehand in the tramlines, one into the net and one long. The previous 54 minutes of labour blown in a flurry of flakiness.
By contrast, his opponent was solidity incarnate. Nadal only gave Thiem three chances to break his serve and the seventh seed could only capitalise once early in the first set.
“I was 11-years-old when I watched you on TV win your first Roland Garros,” Thiem told Nadal just after receiving his runners-up trophy. “I never thought that I would be here 13 years later playing against you in the final. It’s an incredible achievement to win this tournament 11 times. Congratulations.”