However, it was not all smooth sailing for Nadal on Sunday, as he started suffering cramps on his left hand in the third set.
Nadal called on the trainer to get his forearms massaged twice in the final set but even that problem failed to improve Thiem's chances of emulating fellow Austrian Thomas Muster's 1995 triumph.
Dejected but gracious in defeat, Thiem told Nadal and the Philippe Chatrier court that his extended record for the most men's Grand Slam wins at any tournament was "one of the most awesome things in sport".
Sunday's victory guaranteed that he will remain No. 1 in the rankings.
- Nadal's uncle Miguel Angel Nadal was a former soccer player who represented Barcelona, RCD Mallorca and the Spain national team.
The Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy was back in Nadal's arms after his straight-sets victory over David Ferrer in 2013, but the hard yards were achieved in the semi-finals when he defeated Djokovic 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-7 9-7 in a four-hour, 37-minute epic.
Nadal is now the fourth man in the Open Era to win three or more Grand Slams after turning 30, having won his third since turning 30.
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That scenario loomed again with Nadal going to 2-0 in the second set on a fifth break point as Thiem fired another backhand wide. Nadal's "La Decima" was his 10th French Open, and he managed it without dropping a set throughout the tournament. His only loss on the surface this year had come to Thiem in Madrid.
Nadal struck 26 winners to Thiem's 34 yet made only 24 unforced errors to Thiem's 42, with "unforced errors" a relative term in Nadal Roland Garros matches. He persists at his punishing physicality and pounding shots even 13 long and grinding years after the wonder from the Spanish island of Mallorca debuted at Roland Garros with sleeveless shirts, clam-digger shorts, shoulder-length hair and MMA muscles, and, two days after his 19th birthday, won his first title and said, "I fight every point, every point, no?"
Why? Nadal was 95-0 when capturing the opener on clay in the best of five format.
Soon, Nadal was finding his spots. Midway through the opening set, Nadal's aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him. One down-the-line forehand victor landed right at the baseline, leaving Thiem sagging his shoulders and muttering.
The punishment continued, with Thiem by now looking up to his coach and shrugging as another forehand whistled past him.
The number of Masters 1000 titles won by Nadal, the most by a single player since the series began in 1990.