Paris (CNN)With every French Open title comes another remarkable record for Rafael Nadal.When Nadal beat a weary Dominic Thiem 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1 on the court he has owned since a teen, the Spaniard became the first player to ever win the same grand slam 12 times. He moved one ahead of Margaret Court’s haul at the Australian Open which he matched a year ago by bettering the same Thiem in Paris.Visit CNN Sport for more news and videosSo the term “King of Clay” just doesn’t do justice to the now 18-time grand slam champion anymore.His favorite football team, Real Madrid, opts for “Galacticos” to describe players they frequently purchase who are seemingly out of this world.The 33-year-old is from another tennis planet on clay.READ: Barty wins first majorREAD: Nadal beats Federer to make 12th finalREAD: Disgruntled Djokovic exits French OpenA genuine Nadal remarked during the fortnight he felt someone would come along one day and exceed his trophy haul here.
That seems inconceivable. It is a mastery unmatched by any tennis player on any surface in any era.”Winning a grand slam isn’t easy. Winning 12 French titles is beyond belief,” tweeted Rod Laver, who presented Nadal with the Coupe des Mousquetaires. Laver achieved the calendar year grand slam twice.Nadal improved to 93-2 at the French Open and has never lost a final. Or even been taken to five sets.Thiem and other players must have been buoyed when Nadal — coming off another knee injury — began the clay-court swing poorly by his standards.He admitted to doing some serious soul searching at the Barcelona Open in April after being, atypically, negative on court in an opening round win.”After the first round in Barcelona, I was able to stay alone for a couple of hours in a room and think about it and think about what’s going on, what I need to do,” he said. “And (there were) a couple of issues that I had to decide, no? One possibility was to stop for a while and recover my body.”And the other was to change drastically my attitude and my mentality to play the next couple of weeks.”He picked the latter and beat Novak Djokovic in the Rome final last month for a considerable boost. Roland Garros was the grander exclamation mark.