Nadal has now won three Grand Slam titles since turning 30 and only three men, Federer, Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, who handed over the Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy on Sunday, have managed more, having done it four times. The two players were going for heavy, lung-busting shots.
But against Thiem, there was nothing wrong with Nadal's start.
Change is coming in the men's game: Alexander Zverev is 21 and ranked No. 3 after winning the Masters 1000 title in Madrid and pushing Nadal hard in the Italian Open final.
Ruthless Nadal proved far too good for Kevin Anderson as he claimed a 16th Grand Slam title at the US Open.
As he walked back to his chair, he was overheard saying, "Curse that volley".
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Bizarrely, Nadal then halted playing in the fourth game complaining of pain in his left hand and stretching his middle finger.
"There is a lot of talk of me not being able to play five sets, not being able to play long matches". Some paying customers at Philippe Chatrier or watching from a distance may have shared that sentiment - a predictable yearning for a close, competitive encounter. It is rare - in fact only twice in his 88 matches has it happened-that the opponent is not swept away by the heady, swirling ride he takes them on. Over the last two tournaments, he's lost one set. He now does some part of his on-court interviews in French and has developed a flat forehand inside-out victor to sharpen the attacking edge further. The Austrian's single-handed backhand, like those of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka before him, cracked under the strain.
Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski entered the mixed doubles event as both defending champion and the No. 1 seed, but fell along with her Croatian partner Mate Pavic to an agonizing 6-1 7-6  10-8 defeat against the second-seeded pairing of Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig in the final.
Nadal now has a 100-point lead over Federer in the rankings with 8,770 points following his French Open win. Like Nadal so often is.
Written off as fading forces two years ago, Nadal, 32, and Roger Federer, approaching 37, have won the last six Grand Slam titles between them. Whatever the issue was, Thiem could not earn the break back-giving up another one while serving down 4-2-and Nadal took the third set and the title. "So at the end, it's not the best day".
As he showed in Monday's (NZT) final, Nadal remains indestructible, even when cramp turns his racket hand into an agonising claw. A wild, misguided forehand sealed his fate, one of 18 unforced errors to Nadal's 12 in the set. Nadal has 8770 points, while the Swiss Maestro has 8670.