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"Of course I have ambition". No, no, no, I can't - I can't be always thinking of more.
Following his French Open win previous year, Nadal looked like setting up another SW19 final with Federer, only to crash out in the fourth round to Luxembourg's Gilles Muller in a five-set thriller.
Federer, 36, skipped the clay-court season for the second successive year, but will return for the grass-court season which culminates at Wimbledon next month.
"I have to come back to speak with my team", said Nadal, who pulled out of Queen's in 2016 -because of a serious wrist injury and a year ago because of exhaustion. You can't live with that feeling, no? You have to do your way.
'Of course I would love to have 20 like Roger in the future or even more, but being honest, is something that is not in my mind. "The watch keep going always", he said.
Thiem, mixing heavy top-spin and flat groundstrokes and angling balls across the sidelines, saved a break point at 1-2 and two more at 2-3 and there were signs that Nadal was struggling with his timing as he framed several forehands.
The Spaniard breezed past Dominic Thiem in straight sets at Roland Garros as he continued his dominance of the French Open with a record 11th success.
After an intense claycourt season in which he also collected an 11th Monte Carlo and Barcelona crown and suffered only one defeat in 27 matches, Nadal will take time out for fishing in his native Mallorca before the grasscourt swing.
He pulled out of planned appearances in Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami before returning at the start of April for Spain's Davis Cup tie against Germany.
"Difficult for me to think about it now".
I'm very happy to win the tournament.
The Spaniard's reign on the clay of Roland Garros has been unprecedented and has been one of the surest things in tennis history.
The problem for the 24-year-old was that his serve wasn't co-operating.
"In the beginning there was a little bit of transition, we had to work together to adjust everything to my wrist", Nadal told WSJ.
Roland-Garros hosted a final that told two stories, with Nadal easing to victory after surrendering only one set all tournament long, while Thiem looked noticeably short on stamina, particularly in the later stages of Sunday's decider. Nadal's "La Decima" was his 10th French Open, and he managed it without dropping a set throughout the tournament.
It didn't look good early on, having lost the first set and giving up an early break in the second set.
Once he moved two sets ahead it merely became a race against time for Nadal to finish the match off before the rain arrived.
At the very least, her coach indicating that the 23-time Grand Slam champion should be available for Wimbledon offers some consolation.