Novak Djokovic won his fifth Italian Open as well as sealing a record 36th Masters 1000 title thanks to a 7-5 6-3 victory over Diego Schwartzman on Monday.
Schwartzman, who knocked out nine-time champion Nadal earlier in the competition, was unable to contain the top-ranked Serb in front of 1,000 spectators admitted into the main Centre Court.
“It was a great week,” Djokovic, 33, said on court after the match. “A very challenging week.
“I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it the most in the decisive moments.
“That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed.”
The result also comes as a relief for Djokovic, who was desperate to return to court this week following his US Open disqualification for inadvertently striking a line judge with a ball.
Djokovic has now won 31 of his 32 matches this season, and will be one of the favourites in the French Open alongside 12-time winner Nadal and newly-crowned US Open champion Dominic Thiem.