Representing team Europe, the legendary Roger Federer stepped onto the court with his doubles partner Rafael Nadal as the crowd looked on in awe. Earlier in the week Robin Soderling, who handed Nadal his first French Open loss in the fourth round in 2009, said the only workable strategy against the Spaniard was to be "really aggressive".
"Probably because I had the bandage here [around his wrist], creates pressure that doesn't allow the right circulation".
'So I just gonna keep fighting for things and that's it.
After a three-minute delay, Nadal marched back to his mark and completed the second half of a double-fault. Even so, he remained utterly tenacious and focused during the rallies. He's built his body, he's building his game, he's building his mind.
At the following changeover, Nadal was given a salt pill by a doctor and had his left forearm massaged by a trainer.
Understandable as it was, this decision only served to make him more passive. One of the hardest hitters of the tennis ball, Thiem, playing his maiden Slam final, more than held his ground.
"It's fantastic, I can't describe my feelings because it's not even a dream to win here 11 times", said an emotional Nadal after the final. He suffered one service break, in the third game of the match, which came as big news. It will be interesting, however, to see how Nadal copes with the shot clock that is due to be introduced at the US Open in August.
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"It was the best match tournament of me". I can't be always thinking of more.
Thiem undid all his good work in the next game, netting an easy volley on the first point and gifting Nadal three more unforced errors to hand over the first set.
The number of consecutive sets won on clay by Nadal, breaking the previous record for most consecutive sets won on a single surface by McEnroe, who won 49 on carpet in 1984.
Nadal, 32, won 6-4 6-3 6-2 to earn his 17th Grand Slam, three adrift of Roger Federer's all-time men's record.
Two breaks later Nadal was in a familiar position, serving for the title, and when another Thiem forehand dropped long, his arms were raised in celebration, yet again. He turned philosopher when the question was raised. You can't be frustrated if somebody have more money than you, if somebody have a bigger house than you, if somebody have more Grand Slams than you. You can't live with that feeling, no? "You have to do it your way".
Nadal's celebration was restrained ― throwing his arms skywards and turning to his entourage including coach and fellow Mallorcan Carlos Moya and his uncle Toni who stood down a year ago when his nephew Nadal reached La Decima.
He is now entered to play the Queen's Club tournament next week.
Nadal said afterwards that he feared the worst when the cramp struck: 'There was a tough moment in the third set, I was very very scared but that's sport.