When Rafael Nadal’s final shot at the U.S. Open’s men’s championship match skipped over the sideline, Novak Djokovic raised his head to the sky. He then broke out in a big smile.

And why not? The 24-year-old from Serbia had just put the finishing touches on one of the greatest seasons in the history of Open-era tennis. His convincing 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-1 championship cemented his title as the world’s No.1 player.

Novak had survived a cranky back that required a medical timeout. He noted in his post-game media conference, “I had to go for shorter rallies because he was in better condition than me.”

The four-plus match victory for Novak, though he was dead tired, as was Nadal, saw him going on a whirlwind media tour around the city, as everyone wanted a piece of him-interview trips to local television stations included.

What’s up next? “Back home to rest and relax.”