The Spaniard, who turned 32 during his Roland Garros fortnight, was once again at his grinding, unflinching, un-giving best as he downed Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in Sunday's final.
Dominic Thiem remembers sitting in front of a TV to follow along as Rafael Nadal made his Grand Slam final debut and won his first French Open title back in 2005.
Nadal broke Argentinian Guillermo Vilas's 29-year record of 53 consecutive clay-court match victories by winning his first-round match at the 2006 French Open.More news: US commando killed, four wounded in Somalia attack
After an intense claycourt season in which he also collected an 11th Monte Carlo and Barcelona crown and suffered only one defeat in 27 matches, Nadal will take time out for fishing in his native Mallorca before the grasscourt swing. I played a very good match today.
In full control of the French Open final, a rather familiar position for him, Rafael Nadal suddenly was anxious. The victory moves Nadal to 86-2 at the clay court slam.
Nadal called it "not even a dream" to win his 11 titles in Paris.
Up a break at 2-1 in the third set, Nadal stopped serving after a fault because he couldn't straighten his left middle finger.
"In the third set I noticed I had cramps in my left hand, I was scared because there was a lot of humidity", he explained in his post-match interview. After guzzling water during his visit from the doctor, Nadal was back to playing his unmistakable brand of almost unbeatable clay-court tennis.More news: Durant's Huge Night Pushes Cavs to the Brink
There are just three weeks to go until Wimbledon; with Andy Murray's participation in doubt and Novak Djokovic off form and nursing his elbow, Nadal will surely be up there with Roger Federer as the favourites for the biggest title of the year.
"I'd love to have 20 like Roger in the future or more, but it is not something in my mind".
As if the task was not daunting enough for Thiem, the early signs were even more ominous. Like so numerous pretenders, Thiem just did not have quite the same level of consistency to derail the Spaniard, who ruthlessly targeted his flowing backhand.
But Thiem, unusually standing up to Nadal's first serve, forced two break points in the next game and converted the second with a flashing forehand into the right corner.
Although Nadal subsequently received treatment on his forearm it seemingly had little adverse effect and, after a second break of serve, his 11th triumph was secured at the fifth time of asking when Thiem sent a return long.More news: Trump falsely accuses Canada of burning down White House
The number of Masters 1000 titles won by Nadal, the most by a single player since the series began in 1990.