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.
"It's awesome now, I can't describe my feelings", a sweat-soaked Nadal told the crowd. I played my best match of the tournament, it's unbelievable and I'm very happy'.
There was grunting and there was timewasting that was, again, overlooked by overgenerous umpiring, but ultimately there can be no arguing that he remains peerless when it comes to the brown dirt.
The number of Grand Slam singles titles now held by Nadal, who is second on the all-time list among men in the Open Era, behind Federer (20), and ahead of Pete Sampras (14), Djokovic and Roy Emerson (12 each). Federer's record in Wimbledon finals is 8-3.
The tears that welled up when Nadal received the Coupe des Mousquetaires from Australian great Ken Rosewall showed just how much he still cares. And it was a seventeenth Major trophy overall.
Nadal threw his arms skywards and turned to his entourage including coach and fellow Mallorcan Carlos Moya and his uncle Toni who stood down from his coaching role previous year after his nephew worn his 10th French crown.
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But the Austrian freed his shoulders and broke back in the third game with forehand victor - pumping his fists in the direction of coach Gunter Bresnik.
Thiem courageously saved three break points to start the third, yet dropped serve in his next service game.
He broke again in the second game of the second set, which became a fairly routine affair.
At 4-4 Nadal hit a second serve that bounced before it reached the net but he shrugged that off to hold. Only in the seventh game did he get a warning from umpire Damien Dumusois, another example of weak officiating playing into his hands. "But I never dreamed of getting the chance to play the final here".
Federer (9 at Halle, 8 at Basel) and Argentine clay-court legend Guillermo Vilas (8, Buenos Aires) are the male players with the next highest number of titles at a tournament below Grand Slam level.
He led by two sets plus a break early in the third, when the middle finger on his racket-wielding left hand was cramping so badly he couldn't straighten it.
Despite the loss, the 24-year-old Austrian said it had been a "great two weeks" for him.