Nadal Stomps Thiem For 11th French Open Title, 17th Grand Slam Victory
by Sean Randall | June 10th, 2018, 5:12 pm

Another year another French Open title for Rafael Nadal. He first won it back in 2005 and here were are in 2018 and Rafa’s still chugging along, still collecting trophies and still breaking the spirits and King of Clay wannabees. Today, Dominic Thiem became the seventh different player Nadal has vanquished in the French Open, and he did so in straight sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours, 45 minutes.

“Coming back and to have the chance to win in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, and now especially here, it’s very emotional for me,” said Nadal. “It was a very special moment and well received, that minute or two minutes of the crowd supporting me. That feeling in that moment was difficult to describe it. Very emotional for me.

“What really matters for me is have this trophy again with me. That means a lot. As everybody knows, for me is the most important tournament of the year. But I always say the same. Tennis is not only about Grand Slams. There’s much more tournaments, a lot of important tournaments that, for me, means a lot. But of course Roland Garros is always on the calendar and a special date.

“So winning here after having the clay court season that I had is, yeah, emotional and that give me calm and confidence to keep going.”

The forecast called for some rain, but at game time at 3pm in Paris not a drop was to be seen. Rafa started quick breaking Thiem for 2-0 but just when you thought that was it, Thiem got back on serve. And thanks to his forehand, Thiem managed to go toe-to-toe with Rafa.

Thiem has beaten Rafa the past three years, most recently last month in Madrid. He could hang, he has the confidence. Right? Wrong. This was a Grand Slam final, his first and Nadal’s 24th.

And sure enough, serving at 4-5, ka-boom. Thiem was broken at love. Then broken again in a lengthy opening service game of the second and at that point the match was effectively over.

Rafa was cruising on serve while Thiem was struggling on his. And 30 minutes later the second set went to Nadal.

In the third, Thiem saved some break points to hold the opening game of the set, but he couldn’t hold off Nadal in his next service game.

With Rafa up a break and serving 2-1, the end was nigh. But at 30-0, out of nowhere, Nadal looked in distress. He was. His left hand or his fingers began to cramp. Nadal went to his chair, got treatment and returned only to double fault.

Hope for Thiem? Hope for the rest of the tour? Nope.

Despite the minor ailment, Rafa got back into rhythm. Then serving 5-2, won it on his 5th match point.

“It was a cramping on the finger but not a normal cramping. Probably because I had the bandage here, it created pressure that probably didn’t allow the right circulation,” Rafa said.

“For me it was scary, because I felt that I was not able to move the hand, the finger. I was not under control.”

The numbers are staggering:
17 Grand Slam titles
11 French Open
57 career clay titles
79 Overall titles
96-2 at the French
111-2 in best-of-5 matches on clay

And on and on. And I guess he’s just 32. So why not more? The guy is ridiculously good on this surface.

Granted, it wasn’t the toughest of fields, but he did destroy both Juan Martin Del Potro and Thiem six sets to none, and he only dropped one set.

Guys do have off days even at their most favorite events. No Rafa. Not at Roland Garros.

For Thiem, he got one step further and I think once Rafa does decline – in 15 years or so (haha) – he’ll be the right there among the favorites with Alexander Zverev and I think that Greek kid Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“I think it was the first time against him here in Roland Garros where it was a fight,” said Thiem. “It was a decent match from my side. He was playing very well, I think, and there is a reason why he won 11 times here. It’s definitely one of the best things somebody ever achieved in sport.

“For sure I’m confident that this was not my last Grand Slam final, and that’s my biggest goal, to get into the next one and then to do it better than today.”

But unfortunately, as long as Rafa’s around and healthy, how do you pick anyone to beat him?

“I am very satisfied, and I feel very lucky with all the things that happened it me,” said Nadal. “Of course I would love to have 20 like Roger in the future or even more, but being honest, it is not on my mind. What is in my mind now is I won a very important title for me. I add one more Grand Slam. Seventeen is an amazing number. I’m just going to keep fighting and that’s it.”

You Might Like:
2020 Australian Open Men’s Final Open Thread: Novak Djokovic v Dominic Thiem
2019 French Open Men’s SF Open Thread: Federer v Nadal, Djokovic v Thiem
Nadal Wins 11th Barcelona Title; 11th French Open Crown a Seeming Inevitability
Dominic Thiem: The Younger Gen Can Beat Big 4 Players, But It’s Hard Beating Multiple Big 4s In Events
Dominic Thiem Expects The Big 3 And Older Players To Continue Their Domination

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

63 Comments for Nadal Stomps Thiem For 11th French Open Title, 17th Grand Slam Victory

Czarlazar Says:

Thiem reminds me of the flashy private tennis club guys who choke in tourneys outside their posh confines when they meet a quality player from a less privileged background who is hungrier and mentally tougher. He was pathetic during big points, starting with the shanked backhand volley at 4-4 in set one that most professionals make in their sleep. His serve was off, the topspin backhand was weak and unreliable and he rarely used his backhand slice — one of the best slice backhands in tennis today. He came into the final with a murky gameplan, poor execution of whatever the plan was, and lack of fighting spirit in the biggest match of his life. Hugely disappointing was his disappearance in set three when Nadal was in trouble with the hand cramp, bunting his serves at 93 km/hr and Thiem shanking returns every which way. The man turns 25 this year and has no GS title prospects any time soon. Even Djokovic with the vegan disadvantage would’ve put up more of a fight today; pity he’s too stubborn to rejuvenate himself with daily meat or fish protein intake. With men’s tennis as weak as it is aside from Fed and Nadal, it’d be a great opportunity for Nole to leave the cult lifestyle and resume his winning ways.

Czarlazar Says:

Says pretty boy: “I think it was the first time against him here in Roland Garros where it was a fight,” said Thiem. “It was a decent match from my side.” I don’t know what match he was referring to, but the one I saw was 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. “A fight”, my arse. Pretty boy is delusional and makes himself look ridiculous with comments like this.

Lylenubbins Says:

commentator remarked that the difference today was that Nadal fought through adversity and stayed calm, while Thiem allows himself to get pissed off.

skeezer Says:

^its called “experience”. Rafa has done this 10 times (now 11).

Chris Ford Says:

Thiem really disappointed me with his weak mindedness. Certainly has nothing to do with wealth. Rafa grew up much better off than Dominic, though he wasn’t treated like a rich boy on the court by Toni. Somehow, I think Sasha will show up at his 1st Slam final ready to claw the title to him as his to take.

Woe is me. I was sitting fairly pretty in 2015. Fave Djoko was ruling the roost, back up faves Delpo and Raonic were coming on. Since then, Djokovic and his &!%$ing vegan diet and his soft-minded huggy-huggy culthood is possibly costing him his chance to be mentioned in the same breath as Laver, Samras, Nadal, and Federer. Delpo is winning and his return is welcome but this is not the Delpo of 2008 or 2013 even, and never will be. Raonic I have now written off as my predicted 1-Slam winner – he and Nishikori are the fragile glass twins of the tour.

Czarlazar Says:

Chris: this is the ultimate “weak era”, no mojo aside from the two legends, much weaker than when Roger was dominating from 2004 to 2007. The proof is that a soon to be 37 year old is the favourite to win Wimbledon next month.

Humble Rafa Says:

Thanks everyone. It means a lot.

What I have accomplished at Roland Garros is nothing compared to the kind of human being I am – my love for the game, respect for its rules and the admiration my fellow players have for me know no bounds.

I work very hard behind the scenes when there are no cameras. To state the obvious.

While everyone is fixated on 20 as though it is some magic number, Humble knows things are earned one at a time, small and big.

Humble Rafa Says:

“I think it was the first time against him here in Roland Garros where it was a fight,” said Thiem. “It was a decent match from my side.

Disappointed to hear that type of talk from Timmy Boy. He actually played way below his potential and choked on the big stage.

Daniel Says:

Just realize that if Nadal wins RG next year, he will have the same number of French Opens as Djokovic total Slam tally! :-0

el_matador Says:

111-2 in the bo5 at clay..this man is a joke..respect /m\

Daniel Says:

ATP race to London Update:

1 – Nadal: 5.040 pts
2 – Zverev: 3.495 pts
3 – Federer: 3.110 pts
4 – DelPo: 3.020 pts
5 – Thiem: 2985 pts
6 – Cilic: 2.370 pts

One of these 6 will be Year end #1, Nadal and Federer frontrunners as they each won Slams.

skeezer Says:

“Since then….”
Since then, Fedal got better with age. Novak hasn’t. He’ll be back though.

chofer Says:

“Dissapointed ME”?

Who do you think you are? Are you his coach, parent, cousin or what? You’re so plain WRONG and full of yourself!

All of a sudden people who barelu appear here to give an oppinion vents anger towards the rookie Slam finalist just because… he couldn’t win over a man who plays his 11th final in a place where he elevates his own game over and over?

I’ve always expressed here Thiem ein overhyped, but this is too much! I’m sure NONE of you have pick up a racket and play pro tennis under the most nerve-wreking circumstances EVER!

Live Thiem alone and, for God’s sake, stop with your Rafa hatred for once!

Only and obtuse and NOT really fan of this sport could come up with comments like these!

How many of you are the 7th. in the world in you own job? Raise your hands! Well, Thiem is. Nevermind the best ever at a particular task, which is Nadal.

The only pathetic thing here are YOU and your bitter comments. One thing is an oppinion. Another entirely is insult the players and the intelligence of viewers with below the belt callings.

Truly pathetic.

Yy Says:

Well said Chofer! Totally agree with your post.

Willow Says:

Well said Chofer ….

gonzalowski Says:

Rafa legend!!! in the goatitude race.
I had some doubts about Rafa winning this, but most of you were right, he’s so superior at P Chatrier…
On the other side I do not rule it out for Wimbledon, but maybe most of you will be right and he’ll not come close to it.

just read that Roger has this week the possibility of returning to nº1, if he reaches the final in Stuttgart. If Federer won the tournament would be placed 150 points ahead of Rafa, which means that him would need semifinals in Queens to recover the No. 1.

WTF Says:

Pete Sampras was the leading Grand Slam winner with 14 titles. It’s now looking like Rafa can win 14 slams.. at the French Open alone.

WTF Says:

“just read that Roger has this week the possibility of returning to nº1, if he reaches the final in Stuttgart. If Federer won the tournament would be placed 150 points ahead of Rafa, which means that him would need semifinals in Queens to recover the No. 1.”

At this stage of his career and at age 32, I doubt Rafa cares all that much about a no. 1 ranking. And no matter what he can’t be seeded 1 at Wimbledon due to their weird way of seeding.

I think to both players, winning those Slam titles means more than the ranking on a week to week basis. Increasing his chances of winning Wimbledon means enough to Federer to skip the entire clay season, which he’s done twice now.

Humble Rafa Says:

Dear Chofer aka Apologist for poor performers,

Raise your standards. World was defined by those who raised their standards, stretched to their limit, worked hard and succeeded. Not by wimpy kids who caved in at the fist sight of inconvenience.

gonzalowski Says:

“the hands of Rafael Nadal ‘will remain’ forever in Paris. This monday, the Spaniard will stamp his hands in the Pompidou Museum, as if it were the Hollywood Walk of Fame, to immortalize his eleven titles of Roland Garros… and he will be received on Monday by the mayor of the French capital, Anne Hidalgo.”

some great gestures from the Parisians towards this humble champion ;), it honors them, thank you!

AndyMira Says:

Yess Gonza!!…Thank u Parisians!!

Vamos Rafa!!Whooo!!

gonzalowski Says:

yes, congratulations AM !!, Willow, Giles, Okie, Anto and other nice Nadal fan fellows 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆
… and RZ for winning the contest

Markus Says:

After watching Nadal win his 11th French, I finally realized how moot it is to talk about GOAT because one cannot say GOAT without attaching the names of both Nadal and Federer. Mind-blowing achievements by these two.

AndyMira Says:

Hahaha..Yes Gonza!!…Congrats to u too buddy!…It’s really nice to have u here Gonza!!..Hey!…i got an article especially for u & Rafans…Not sure whether u already read it or not…

gonzalowski Says:

“Year 2048. Rafa Nadal, 62, wins his 40th Roland-Garros (one year package to finally get married to Xisca)”

AndyMira Says:

Hahahaha!….Very Funny Gonza!!…Hehehehe…

gonzalowski Says:

2 nice readings AM!!! thank you very much.
Pat Cash story is very good :) a 14 years old who beats you…

AndyMira Says:

Gonza!…hahaha..I knew u’re going to like it!!…Yeesss!!

rognadfan Says:

HR @ 6:28am
Well well! You must be having a split personality symptoms right now. On one side, the morale of your crush was crushed; one the other side it came at the hands of your tennis deity.

Is that why you seemed a little mad there?

I have been telling you your ‘crush’ isn’t really who you want him to be.

Daniel Says:


Maybe Xisca had a deal with Nadal:
– Xisca: Hei Rafa, when you stop winning Roland Garros for good, we get married!
– Nadal just with a smile, thinking: “all cool babe, thats a deal”.

If this is reason for him being a a dodgy husband, he is doing a great job. LOL

RZ Says:

Wow, there are a lot of people treating Thiem harshly here. Did he play his best? No. But he clearly was trying as hard as he could, and basically threw everything he could at Rafa. There were definitely things he could have improved on, and he certainly had “brain fart” moments while playing, but he in no way rolled over and handed it to Rafa. Rafa was just much too good on a court that is basically his playground. Only 2 men have EVER beaten Rafa at Roland Garros. Winning against Rafa at the French Open, especially in a final, is probably the most difficult ask in tennis. Let’s cut a first time finalist who tried his best some slack.

RZ Says:

Thanks gonzalowski!

Daniel Says:

Yeah, Fed can return to #1 with finals in Stutgart, winnign 3 matches.

But to retain it till Wimbledon nhe will have to also win Halle and Nadal doesn’t reach Queens semis, losing till QF. If Nadal will indeed play Queens. Too soon after GArros for him to say something, maybe till Friday we may know for sure if he will play or skip.

At this point agree with WTF, Nadal is not overly concerned, as he knows what matters is Slams and Fededer will have to win next 3 grass touneys (stutgrt, Halle and Wiumbledon) to maintain it and even so depeding on Nadal results in Queens and Wimbledon.

The heat for #1 will increae after Wimbledon, specially if somebody else wins it. But for Federer’s chances next 5 weeks is a crucial period.

gonzalowski Says:

Daniel 10.54h.
Lol! 😊

Humble Rafa Says:

Dear Japanese Daniel,

What is this obsession of reaching number one for someone who has not played tennis in 3 months?

Humble Rafa Says:

I am hearing that RF logo is gone. Tennis can now move on with a clean conscience.

SG1 Says:

RZ…I agree. Thiem definitely didn’t choke. He played a guy who is better on red clay than any player in the history of tennis has ever been on any surface. How did he choke?

SG1 Says:

Halep losing to Ostapenko…that was a choke

RZ Says:

Thanks SG1. There are some on here who seem to think anytime anyone loses, they did it by choking. Players do sometimes lose because they choke, but more often than not, players lose because their opponents play better.

SG1 Says:

Rafa deserves his props. He beat the best player (…other than him) on clay in Thiem and DelPo who for a good portion of the year has been one of the better players period.

11 RG’s. That’s almost double Borg’s RG haul and he has as many RG’s as Borg has slams. And unlike Borg, he is mentally all there and if healthy, is already the favorite for No.12.

SG1 Says:

Most players have to step way out of their comfort zone to beat Rafa on clay. Some players might be able to do it for a set. Beyond that, you’re gambling against the house. Sooner or later…the house wins.

the_mind_reels Says:

As a diehard Federer fan, I was *really* impressed with Nadal’s performance over the last two weeks. Say what you want about the competition he faced or how clay is somehow a lesser surface or one really just suited to specialty players. The guy continues to be so utterly dominant — it’s a marvel to watch his impenetrable defense and his transition game, which is second-to-none on clay.

With each passing year of total clay domination, it becomes harder for me to find much light between Nadal and Federer in terms of greatness in their careers. They both occupy very special places at the top of men’s tennis, both contemporary and historical. Congrats to all Nadal fans!

While I don’t think Nadal and Federer see it this way, the last 18 months have been an entertaining game of tug of war going back to the AO ’17. Federer won there, beating Nadal in spectacular fashion. Nadal then answered by steamrolling the competition at RG ’17, bagging his first major of last year. Then, it continued with them each trading the last two majors of the year. This past January, we had Federer who was first to defend his AO title from last year, and now Nadal answered the challenge by emphatically winning RG. Again.

Wimbledon is just around the corner — ball’s in Roger’s court!

Willow Says:

The Mind Reels nice post , it seems to be the none Nadal fans that will argue that clay is an inferior surface, for 1 dimensional players, without clay whats he got ?, even though 6 GS would be good enough for any other all time great so why not Nadal ? and also we dont take out surfaces for any other all time great either so again why Nadal ?, stands to reason none Nadal fans will always say otherwise with the odd exception ….

gonzalowski Says:

Rafa has played 17 matches less than last year on this date. It looks good for WB

Tennis Vagabond Says:

TheMindReels, great post. I see it the same way.

I didn’t watch the whole match, so I can’t say if there were moments Thiem choked. But what I saw was Thiem playing his best tennis and Rafa being consistently better. I guess as a Fed fan, I probably discount some Rafa wins, like over DelPo, with ‘yeah, but the other guy didn’t play his best’. This weekend, the other guy, the 2nd best clay courter this year, played his best, and Rafa was always better. And he looked so comfortable! He was never stretched outside his comfort zone. How much better could he have gone if he’d really been tested?

Brilliant performance, and an absolutely legendary career. I have to agree with TMR. I always thought Fed was GOAT, based on Slams, time at #1, and # of dominant years. Now, if someone who didn’t know tennis asked who the GOAT was, I’d AT LEAST have to say, Well, this guy Roger. But there’s this other guy, Rafa…

Tennis Vagabond Says:

In retrospect, I feel I’ve ruined a perfectly good thread by mentioning GOAT. Please forget that last part. For the love of Pete, please don’t take up the discussion.

the_mind_reels Says:

@TV: 😂😂 yes, don’t go turning it into a GOAT debate…

But yes, thanks for the post. I also didn’t see the whole match but did see most of it. I wouldn’t call Thiem a choker by any stretch. He’d never faced the occasion, so give the guy a break. And Nadal played so very solid. He makes guys look worse than they are because his defense is hilariously good.

Thiem will be back — the kid still has plenty of upside!

Okiegal Says:

Thanks Gonza….. and back at cha’ with congratulations on Rafa’s 11th Frenchie….. you are a loyal fan too! Yeppers our guy is AWESOME! I love the red dirt, Oklahoma has lots of it…. but not in the form of a tennis court!! Lol

Margot Says:

Always the same RZ. If player x does not stamp all over the hated player y, then x is a “choker” a “loser” a “talentless never gonna win a slammer” etc etc. Plus ca change.

gonzalowski Says:

Nadal interview:
Q Both Federer and Djokovic and Murray, the great tennis players of their generation, are already parents and have family responsibilities. It gives the impression that you are the only one who maintains an almost exclusive commitment to tennis.

R “I have a commitment to what makes me happy and my life leads me to do things one way or another. In the end, I also have a partner (Xisca) and I am not the one who decides things, with which I have to adapt to situations and what is happening. I enjoy what I like, in tennis and outside of it. Things are not easy to foresee. I, at this age, thought that maybe I would be retired and maybe I would have started a family. From my way of thinking, I see it easier to structure it with a more stable life, but the years go by, and, depending on what happens with my tennis and my career, a decision will have to be made. When it arrives, it will arrive, without any stress or anything. These are things that are happening in life”.

…”The truth is that not all, but in most of the matches I’ve played throughout my career in this tournament I went out on the track thinking that I could win or I could lose. I do not know how many matches I’ve won here. [86 of 88, he’s reminded]. Well maybe in 75 I started like this. That is one of the bases of my success.”
(it’s the opposite of what the analyst said on the article that AndyMira posted 09:11 …?)

SG1 Says:

Clay definitely isn’t inferior to other surfaces. Look at the 3 guys who’ve dominated the sport the last 10-15 years. They all grew up playing on clay. Clay court tennis made them the tennis players they are today. Thoughtful, creative, resilient. Each surface suits a certain set of player characteristics.

I’ve always believed that Federer is a better hard court player than grass courter. The perfectly predictable bounces allow him to use all of his repertoire. The thing about a hard court is that it’s a relative level playing field so the number of potential contenders is higher at the USO than at RG or SW19. Probably the reason Roger doesn’t have 8 or 9 USO’s. Roger’s ability to improvise better than anyone is what separates him on grass.

Clay is a physical and mental chess match. You can’t just blow your opponent off the court. You have to manoeuvre your opponent around and be consistent enough to not miss makeable (…and not so makeable shots) over and over until the point is won. RG is as stern a test as there is in test. Diminishing the surface simply because one guy has won it 11 times is pure hogwash.

gonzalowski Says:

very good analysis SG1, great points, agree!

Willow Says:

SG1 great post, but it will fall on deaf ears im afraid ….

gonzalowski Says:

Giles nice article, writer is a real fanatic 😊

gonzalowski Says:

and, talking about World championship soccer, total ridicule in the Spanish selection … dismissed 2 days before the 1º match!!, because he has signed for Real Madrid.

gonzalowski Says:

dismissed the coach, sorry

Willow Says:

Gonzo most definitely, doesnt seem to realize that tennis is more of a what have you done for me lately kind of sport, too much living in the past ….

gonzalowski Says:

Willow you mean this last tweet posted by Giles?

Willow Says:

Gonzo yeah ….

Top story: ATP Won't Strip Ranking Points From UK Tournaments; Greenlights Future Bans