Andy Murray prevailed in a see-saw U.S. Open final against Novak Djokovic on Tuesday to end Britain's 76-year wait for a male Grand Slam singles champion.
The 25-year-old Scot took nearly five hours to see off the defending champion for a 7-6(10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 victory at Flushing Meadows, evoking Fred Perry's achievement of 1936.
Murray sank to his knees when Djokovic sent a baseline shot long on championship point, scarcely able to believe that he had captured a slam title that had stubbornly eluded him in four previous finals.
"Relief is probably the best word I would use to describe how I'm feeling just now," Murray said in comments carried by the tournament website.
"Yeah, very, very happy that I managed to come through because if I had lost this one from two sets up, that would have been a tough one to take."
Murray, the Olympic champion, tasted defeat in the U.S. Open final in 2008 against Roger Federer, and since then has been beaten by Federer or Djokovic in Australia and at Wimbledon.
He said he had been all too aware that he might set an unwanted record.
"You're still thinking, 'If I lose this one, no one's ever lost their first five finals.' I just didn't really want to be that person."
Djokovic, meanwhile, rued missing chance to take the initiative early in the match.
"If I won that first set and had some chances, maybe the match would go a different way," he said. "But look, you know, there is no reason to go back and say, 'What if? What if?' He's a Grand Slam winner, and he deserves to be there."
Many credit Murray's new coach Ivan Lendl with his success. The Czech great also failed in his first four finals before capturing the French Open in 1984, the first of eight slam titles.