Rafael Nadal storms to 11th French Open title despite late injury scare

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"I think it was the first time against him here in Roland Garros where it was a fight", said Thiem, who told Nadal he remembered being 11 years old and watching the Spaniard win his first title in 2005.

Nadal said he expects to see Thiem back in a final one day - and with a different result.

"I added one more grand slam, 17 is an incredible number".

Rafa Nadal goes in search of his 11th French Open title but don't count out Novak Djokovic - and what about the in-form Alexander Zverev? The trainer massaged Nadal's forearms twice but it was still not good enough to halt the Spaniard and the job was complete when Thiem's backhand sailed long.

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. At 2-1 in the fourth set, Nadal stopped serving during a game because he couldn't straighten his left middle finger.

Rafael Nadal insists that he has no desire to become locked into an arms race with Roger Federer to surpass his great rival's 20 Grand Slam titles. Nadal's streak began at Roland Garros a year ago and was ended by Thiem, who beat the Spaniard in straight sets in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open. He overcame that hurdle with a run to the quarterfinals, having survived three five-setters in a row along the way.

Uncle Toni, no longer his nephew's coach but back in his customary seat on the end of the players' box, two seats down from the current coach, Carlos Moya, summed it up perfectly.

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Thiem lost to Nadal in the second round on his Roland Garros debut in 2014, then again in last year's semi-finals.

Ramos is now in Russian Federation with the Spanish squad as they prepare for the World Cup, but took time out to tweet in Spanish, hailing Nadal for his "dynasty on clay", calling him a "tennis legend" and "sporting hero". Nadal's "La Decima" was his 10th French Open, and he managed it without dropping a set throughout the tournament. As the players engaged in intense, long-drawn rallies, and only six games of the opening set were over after 40 minutes, there was a feeling that something had to give.

There were two tricks up Nadal's sleeve in Paris this year. While Nadal subdued him in straight sets in the final, it still registered as a breakthrough performance for the Austrian, who was faced with a daunting draw.

As he showed in Monday's (NZT) final, Nadal remains indestructible, even when cramp turns his racket hand into an agonising claw.

Thiem decided early on that he was not going to die wondering, attacking aggressively from behind the baseline, leading to a plethora of unforced errors.

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. And the sun is far from setting on his clay empire.

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