Rafael Nadal described beating world number one Novak Djokovic to win his second US Open title as "amazing", having come back from a serious knee injury earlier in the year.
"This season is probably the most emotional one I've had," said Nadal.
"It means a lot for me have this trophy with me today. It's just amazing."
He added: "I felt that I did everything right to have my chance here.
"You play one match against one of the best players in history like this, Novak, number one in the world, probably on his favourite surface, so I have to be almost perfect to win."
Nadal, who was out for seven months with his knee injury, had to withstand a stunning passage of play from Djokovic on Monday, during which the Serb went close to earning a double-break in the third set, and then earned three break points at 4-4 though the Spaniard managed to hold his serve.
"When Novak plays that level, I am not sure if anybody can stop him," said Nadal.
"I know that it was really important to stay only one break behind. If I lose the second break, then it's over, the third set.
"So I tried to be there, keep fighting for every ball, and tried to be focused in every moment and tried to wait for my moment.
"Even when I had that 0-40 it was really, really amazing. I played an ace. I played an unbelievable forehand down the line, so that was one of the key moments of the match."
The victory takes Nadal to 13 Grand Slam singles titles, one behind Pete Sampras and four behind all-time leader Roger Federer, something he described as "much more than I ever dreamed".
Djokovic conceded that his failure to win the third set had been the pivotal moment in the match.
"It was disappointing that I dropped the third set, even though I felt like, especially in first four or five games, I was the one who was dictating the play," he said.
"But it's all my fault, you know. I made some unforced errors in the crucial moments with forehands and dropped the serve twice when I should not have. Next thing you know, all of a sudden it's two sets to one for him.
"Then he started playing much, much better after that and I obviously could not recover after that loss."
Djokovic won the Australian Open in January but since then has missed out in the finals at Wimbledon and the US Open, and the semi-finals at the French Open.
"I'm still 26 and I believe best time for my career is about to come," said the Serb. "I feel that. I believe that.
"As long as I believe it, the fire of the love towards the game is inside of me. And as long as that's present, as long as I feel it, I'm going to play this sport with all my heart, as I did in the last 10 years."
With no points to defend following last year's injury break, Nadal is almost certain to overhaul Djokovic in the rankings in the coming weeks.
"I'm still number one in the world rankings, but year to year he's far, far ahead and he has many more chances to end up as number one," said Djokovic.
"There are still tournaments to go, so we'll see."