Rafael Nadal said it was “impossible” to hold in his emotions after winning the US Open title in an “unforgettable” five-set battle with Daniil Medvedev.
Nadal, 33, beat Russian Medvedev 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 in four hours 50 minutes in New York to win his 19th Grand Slam.
The Spanish second seed was tearful as a video of his major wins was played on the big screens on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“This trophy means everything to me today,” said Nadal, who has now won four titles at Flushing Meadows.
“Personal satisfaction of the way that I resisted all these tough moments is very high.
“The emotions have been there watching all the success, all the moments that came to my mind in that moment. Yeah, I tried to hold the emotion, but some moments was impossible.”
Nadal was cruising at two sets and a break up before fifth seed Medvedev, 23, fought back to take Sunday’s final into a decider.
But it was Nadal’s intensity and mental resilience that took him over the line, built up throughout a career in which he has now won 83 ATP singles titles.
“The way that the match became very dramatic at the end, that makes this day unforgettable, part of my history of this sport,” Nadal said.
‘I’m not thinking of 20th Grand Slam’
Unsurprisingly, the Spaniard faced questions post-match about trying to equal Roger Federer’s record of 20 men’s Grand Slam titles.
Nadal – five years Federer’s junior – is one behind the Swiss great and three ahead of Novak Djokovic’s 16.
“I don’t look at it that way,” he said. “I always say the same: I would love to be the one who wins more, but I am not thinking [about it].
“I feel honoured to be part of this battle [with Federer and Djokovic]. But I really believe that I will not be happier or less happy if that happens or does not happen.
“I am not going to practice every day or not play tennis for it. I am playing tennis because I love to play tennis.
“I can’t just think about Grand Slams, no? Tennis is more than Grand Slams. I need to think about the rest of the things.
“I play to be happy. Of course, the victory today makes me super happy. But a few weeks ago, I won in Montreal and [that was] an important moment for me, too.
“All the things that I achieved in my career are much more than what I ever thought and what I ever dreamed.”