He seemed unbeatable on the surface. The Spaniard's 11th Monte Carlo title and his eighth Rome title were his 31st and 32nd Masters titles, respectively, breaking a tie with Djokovic, who has won 30. Nadal was asked about equal pay in an interview with an Italian magazine, and he said he believes the players who generate more viewership should be paid more. "Actually, when he won here the first four or five times, I was always watching it".
He now has 86 match wins on Paris' famous crushed red brick against just two defeats in 13 years. In 2009, he was upset by big-hitting Robin Soderling in the fourth round.
Thiem, competing in his first major final, was second best in the next set as he was edged out in a gruelling second game for the only break of serve.
But against Thiem, there was nothing wrong with Nadal's start.
Nadal then served out that game. "No words can express what we feel about Rafa's game and what he has done for the game of tennis on a worldwide basis". In fact, after just a few minutes of play, the ten-time champion had won eight of the first nine points.
Dominic Thiem of Austria was no match for the veteran, and the cramp was simply the latest in a significant string of fitness issues which have plagued Nadal over the course of the competition. It was his 45th career clay-court title. Thiem was hammering every ball that he could, and Nadal was responding with his classic clay court defense. On Friday, Thiem's coach Gunter Bresnik called him the best competitor of all time in any sport.
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.
Thiem is contesting his first Grand Slam final.
Unfortunately, about half an hour later, the answer became a clear and resounding no.
Serving to stay in the match at 4-5, the Austrian allowed mistakes to creep into his game. He lost to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in five sets in the first round at the claycourt Major, that sent his ranking tumbling.
'And then you have to be happy with the things that are happening to you, no?
World number one Rafael Nadal beat Dominic Thiem in three sets to claim his 11th French Open title. Of those 20, the Spaniard only won one by hitting a victor. Only Thiem's 2016 victory over Nadal in Buenos Aires was a success on non-quick clay.
Thiem failed to do what Simona Halep had done the other night as Nadal raced away to win the second set as well.
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. It was also a rematch of last year's U.S. Open final, in which Stephens topped Keys. At the beginning of 2017, Federer held 17 Slams to Nadal's 14.
German six-time Grand Slam victor Boris Becker: The legend continues. After Roland Garros, Nadal's win-loss record on clay stands at 415-36. It was his best performance of the fortnight, as Nadal confirmed on court, just when he needed it most.
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