This title, an unprecedented 10th at a single grand slam in the professional era, was arguably the most impressive of his 15 though as it arrived three injury-plagued years after the last one, without dropping a set and conceding only 35 games in seven matches.
As a weary Wawrinka sliced a volley into the net on match point Nadal collapsed on his back on the baseline.
“I’m a little emotional,” Nadal said before getting to clamp his jaws on La Coupe des Mousquetaires.
“The nerves and adrenaline I feel on this court is impossible to compare.”
Wawrinka, who spent nearly five hours more on court than Nadal to reach the final, looked tentative and heavy-legged although he did have a glimmer in the third game when Nadal was forced to save a break point.
Nadal failed to convert any of the four break points he had in the following game, but drew first blood the next time an opportunity arose to take a 4-2 lead. Then he switched on the afterburners. A matter of minutes later Wawrinka wafted a forehand long to hand Nadal a second break of serve and the opening set.
Wawrinka was flat, striking not a single winner off his glorious single-handed backhand in the first set, and with less than an hour on the clock his task already looked forlorn. Nadal was given a time violation warning at the start of the second, but Wawrinka could not halt his charge as the Spaniard bounded into a 3-0 lead in the second having won seven games in a row.
Meanwhile new French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko believes “anything is possible” with the all-out attacking style which brought her a first Grand Slam title. The Latvian, 20, hit 54 winners on her way to a “dream” 4-6 6-4 6-3 win over Romania’s Simona Halep.
“I always had the possibility I could hit the ball really hard,” said Ostapenko. “If I have a chance to go for a shot, I’m trying.”
She is the first unseeded woman to win the French Open since 1933. It was only her eighth appearance at one of the four tennis majors.