Though he gamely tried to hang on, Wawrinka just didn't have any answers to Nadal's formidable play. As a tired Wawrinka sliced a volley into the net on match point Nadal collapsed on his back on the baseline.
Rafael Nadal, speaking on court, said: "I play my best in all events but the feeling I have here is impossible to describe and you can't compare it". The Spaniard has completed La Décima in two other tournaments, winning his 10th title in both Monte Carlo and Barcelona in the run-up to this year's French Open.
Moving away from his beloved clay courts and with Federer expected to return to the men's draw, tougher tests lie ahead for the Spaniard on the grass.
Wilander said Nadal's resurgence since pulling out of the French Open past year with a wrist injury - he also reached the Australian Open final and is back at number two in the rankings - is down to former world number one Carlos Moya joining his team.
WERTHEIM: It had been three years since his last Grand Slam title. "The nerves, the adrenaline, I feel on the court are impossible to compare to another feeling".
Wilander thinks the 31-year-old Spaniard could now go on a roll. It is always hard to compare everything, but I think with everything he has achieved by winning a Grand Slam 10 times, and with the depth of competition that clearly exists now, it is unparalleled.
"For sure he's playing the best he's ever played", said the Swiss. I just won the most important event of the year for me.
Wilander believes time away from the court after finishing a year ago early has helped the Mallorcan to return to his formidable physical peak.
Nadal becomes the third man to win a Grand Slam title in his teens, his 20s and his 30s, following Ken Rosewall and Sampras, and appears capable of adding more. "I am not an arrogant person", he said after the win.
"This tournament has been very special to me, and it's true that it is unprecedented".
Tristan Thompson, JR Smith and David West get technicals on one play
Thompson quickly went to into his face and the two had to be separated by the referees and some of their teammates. West emphatically ripped the ball from Irving's grasp and smacked him in the chest on the follow-through.
Nadal celebrates victory after the match-winning point.
The year got off to a frustrating start for Nadal as a foot injury ruled him out of the Australian Open, but he once more arrived at Roland Garros on the back of a 17-match winning streak. When Nadal's shot met him midcourt, the Swiss tennis star swung at the ball but it flew off court.
Nadal, the last Grand Slam victor in the French Open in 2014, had to fight with a number of injuries.
For one, even if Wawrinka finished picking the shot and sent it back over the net, Nadal set himself at the net to ensure that he finished off the point on his terms.
"In 2005, I thought in 2017 I'd be fishing on my boat in Majorca", he said.
Leading by a set and a break, Nadal faced four break points in one game.
Nadal's baseline play, meanwhile, was solid and assured.
He leaked only 35 games - prompting former world number one Andy Roddick to quip on Twitter: "He lost 35 games in the entire tournament". By the end of the first set, his groundstrokes, which he had lasered down with precision against others, including defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinal, had lost their range.
Key Stat: Nadal saved 16 of 17 break points he faced, going 10-for-10 in the first set, and 1-for-1 over the last two. For one player to come back and reverse time is incredible, but for two players to do it at the same time is like "what are they drinking"?
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