The 25-year-old is armed with a new coach this year, Olympic champion Nicolas Massu, and can take stock from his four previous victories over Nadal, all of which have come on clay.
Tough luck with the schedule
After struggling in his opening week, Thiem elevated his game in wins over Gael Monfils, Karen Khachanov and Djokovic, but because of inclement weather cancelling play on Wednesday and suspending his semi-final on Friday, the No.4 seed will be competing for a fourth consecutive day when he faces Nadal in the final. Fatigue could play a part in how he performs.
What’s on the line?
Nadal is looking to become the first player – man or woman – to win 12 or more titles at the same Grand Slam, surpassing Margaret Court who won 11 Australian Opens.
“It is incredible, being honest, no?” Nadal said of his record in Paris, sending the interview room into a fit of laughter.
“Is something very special and difficult to explain, but here we are. And the day that we start thinking about if it's incredible or not probably will be the day to do another thing. So what I have to do today is not think about if it's incredible, because it's a real thing for me.
“Even if it's something I never dreamed about five, six, eight years ago, it's happening today. And my goal is just try to keep going. Is not about have excess of ambition but is about just try to keep enjoying the things that I am doing.”