We delve into the archives to explain why Nadal is one of the greatest, following his latest triumph in Paris.
It will be for the third time that Federer will become the world number one.
The Spaniard's reign on the clay of Roland Garros has been unprecedented and has been one of the surest things in tennis history. "Actually, when he won here the first four or five times, I was always watching it".
Nadal is now the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to win 11 titles at three different tournaments, having also completed La Undécima at Monte Carlo and Barcelona in April this year.
Nadal remained implacable in the homestretch, intent on ignoring his temporarily impaired hand, outracing the rainclouds that hovered close and low but didn't erupt, and trying to outrun, outhit and outwit a player who was 11 years old when he won his first title here in 2005.
Outside of Paris, where he also reached the semi-finals in 2016 and 2017, Thiem has not progressed past the fourth round at any of the other three Slams.
The Spaniard edged an intense opening set, tightening his grip in the second.More news: In Dominic Thiem, Rafael Nadal faces a new French Open challenge
A glorious year ended with a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics after beating Fernando Gonzalez in three sets. His game plan had been to hit high to Nadal's backhand, then open up his body and skew the next shot at an acute angle into the opposite corner of the court. That's the sixth time in the fourteen French Opens he's played that he's lost one or fewer sets. It was his first defeat on the Parisian clay.
But while the infrastructure of the world's four Grand Slams gets constantly upgraded, the furniture at the top of men's tennis remains bolted down.
He followed that up with his second title at Wimbledon with a straight-sets victory over Czech Tomas Berdych. In 2015, he was defeated by a seemingly-unstoppable Novak Djokovic.
But it ultimately proved a futile mission as, just like in all but two of Nadal's previous 87 matches here, the relentless Spaniard proved insurmountable, winning 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. King of clay!' Casillas: 'This!
Taking the court at a major once again for the first time in more than a year, Serena Williams made a solid run to the round of 16 in singles and doubles.
Veteran pair Nadal and Federer have won the past six Grand Slams as their younger rivals struggle to dislodge them at the pinnacle of the game. Nadal's "La Decima" was his 10th French Open, and he managed it without dropping a set throughout the tournament. He still won the game anyway before summoning the doctor and trainer courtside.
But Nadal, who turned 32 earlier this month, hinted at following the Swiss legend's lead by potentially skipping the grass-court season as he maintained his health and fitness were priority.