Others - including United States former tennis great Billie Jean King and ex-male professional James Blake - praised Nadal's victory, which was dominant despite an injury scare with hand cramp in the latter stages of the third set.
The Spaniard now inches closer to Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 Grand Slam titles. "The good thing is I played a lot of good matches this clay-court season", ATP quoted Nadal as saying. He had won four French Open titles, along with the other Masters tournaments.
"For me was scary, because I felt that I was not able to move the hand, the finger", Nadal said.
Nadal claimed his sixth French Open to equal the record of Borg, also taking his Slam total into double figures at 10. So he made the 10-hour drive back to Paris with his 88-year-old grandmother, mother and younger brother in a rental vehicle, then went out and won in the first round.
He continued his momentum following the medical timeout, and managed to convert his fifth match point on Thiem's poor backhand in the eighth game.
Thiem was under the cosh, saving four break points in the first game of the third set before Nadal inevitably broke for 2-1.
- Thiem breaks straight back with his second forehand victor of the game flying past a rooted Nadal.
Despite the loss, the 24-year-old Austrian said it had been a "great two weeks" for him.More news: Kim Deal Signals North Korea May Never Give Up Its Nukes
Serving to stay in the match at 4-5, the Austrian allowed mistakes to creep into his game.
Halep has lost in her two previous appearances at the French Open finals, in 2014 and 2017.
His picking at the rear of his shorts and mopping of his brow, aligned with his obsessive devotion to lining up his water bottles, are parts of the Nadal DNA.
Thiem saved a first breakpoint in that game but couldn't save the second, hitting a forehand wide.
He still occasionally inconvenienced the reigning champion, not least when a deft drop shot brought up a point to break back at 2-4.
Austria's Dominic Thiem wipes his face in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Spain's Rafael Nadal at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, June 10, 2018.
The victory also allowed the 32-year-old Nadal to hold onto the No. 1 ranking, ahead of Federer.
Seemingly cruising to victory, that's when Nadal called for the trainer.
That it was not was testimony to Nadal's level, which never wavered, despite everything Thiem threw at him. For all the hand-wringing in years past over what would happen to USA women's tennis after the Williams sisters, they seem to be in pretty good shape.
Nadal had 12 unforced errors.