It was clay-court tennis as usual at Roland Garros on Sunday, as the Spaniard won his 11th French Open singles title.
Nadal has never lost a best-of-five-set match on clay when he has won the first set, and every time Thiem has faced the world number one the victor of the first set has gone on to take the match.
For Thiem, playing in his first Slam final, it was a tremendous letdown for a player who is the only man to have beaten the Spaniard on clay in the last two years.
Thiem, who was trying to become only the second Austrian Grand Slam champion after Tomas Muster's 1995 Paris triumph, played his part in the two hour 42 minute tussle but was unable to sustain the high-octane tennis needed to ruffle Nadal.
"But having said that Rafa is 32 now, although not that he looks weaker or older, but throughout this tournament he has not looked his very best". At the following changeover, Nadal was given a salt pill by a doctor and had his left forearm massaged by a trainer. The Austrian had trouble with the Nadal serve, and he gave up an easy hold.
Victory also took Nadal's record at Roland Garros to 86 wins and just two losses.
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Nadal defeated fifth seed Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4 6-1 6-2 in the semi-finals and afterwards the Argentine said it is "almost impossible" to beat Nadal on clay. The Argentine ended Nadal's run of 37 consecutive sets in a rain-delayed quarter-final before the Spaniard won the contest upon the resumption on Thursday under glorious blue skies.
- Title number nine in his ninth final for Nadal and his 14th Grand Slam success on an afternoon where temperatures nudged 30 degrees.
But the Austrian freed his shoulders and broke back in the third game with a forehand victor - pumping his fists in the direction of coach Gunter Bresnik.
After winning just one point in the first two games, Thiem dragged himself back into the contest, only to throw away the opening set with an erratic 10th game as he was broken to love.
That it was not was testimony to Nadal's level, which never wavered, despite everything Thiem threw at him.
Years ago, Rafael Nadal earned the nickname the "King of Clay" for a reason. His emotions were on show as he shed a few tears when the national anthem of Spain was played in his honour for the 11th time, an obvious sign of what this tournament means to him.
Thiem found some life and threatened with a break point in the seventh game, but Nadal broke his pace with a drop shot and finished it off with a passing shot, holding for 5-2.