"To play here and win here means a lot to me", said Nadal. "I take more positives than negatives into the next week in Rome".
And Nadal was forced to save a break point in the final game with a drop shot Djokovic couldn't get back over the net.
"It was a very important final for both of us - for him as it was the first in the Masters 1000 and for me it's always special to play here in Madrid in this unique tournament".
The last two years perhaps haven't been my best two years. "It shows you you're working in the right way", said Nadal, who has thrived after struggling with his game for two years.
"Especially to go from 40-15, to break point for him, that was a very hard moment for me". "I haven't had that feeling in months, so it's great to feel that". "Let's respect his level right now because it's true that perhaps it's not as high as it used to be, but I'm telling you, it's been a lot of years, and I know because I've been in his skin, being up there every single week, being No. 1 every single week, it's almost impossible". The Spaniard will look to win the Madrid Masters and the upcoming Italian Open en route to a potential 10th French Open title next month.
An open era record 50th meeting between Nadal and Djokovic served to highlight the Serb's dramatic dip in form since they last met in Rome nearly exactly a year ago.
In the head-to-head record between the two Madrid Open finalists, Nadal has won three out of the four matches against Thiem with Nadal's latest win coming in the finals of the Barcelona Open. "Finally I managed to win it (beat Djokovic)". I made a lot of unforced errors.
Romania's Simona Halep successfully defended her Madrid Open title in the Women's Tennis Association Premier Mandatory event. "I was trying my best", Djokovic said.
"I think he played a very good match in Barcelona". Nadal is by far the best clay court player of all time, and he's dominated the surface in a way that no other player has dominated any other surface. "I will give everything tomorrow and hope I can play a good final".
Djokovic, though, fired long with a volley on Nadal's third match point sparking wild scenes of celebration. Then, of course, I'll let you know. Though Nadal downplayed the importance of breaking the streak, analysts at the arena felt the Spaniard was playing his best tennis since 2014 and would walk into the 2017 French Open as the overwhelming favourite.