Marin Cilic described his US Open success as "a miracle" as his grand slam success begins to sink in.
The Croatian crushed Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-3 6-3 in the final at Flushing Meadows on Monday, dominating from start to finish in New York.
Cilic, who thrashed Roger Federer in their semi-final, said a maiden grand slam title was a dream come true.
"It seems completely unreal to be called grand slam champion. I was dreaming about this all my life, and suddenly last four, five days everything started to change," he said.
"And with my tennis especially. I started to play absolutely unbelievable starting with the fifth set with [Gilles] Simon. After that I had unbelievable run of the matches against these top guys.
"And what it means to me, it means everything. It's just a huge accomplishment and huge moment for myself and for my team and for everybody around me who was with me all these years supporting me, believing in me and never giving up.
"This is just the peak of the world."
Cilic said he had developed mental toughness and the ability to enjoy himself on the court last year, when he served a four-month ban after failing a drug test.
The 25-year-old always planned to leave New York on Tuesday, but was unsure what to expect.
"Everything was planned to leave Tuesday, but sort of I was hoping, but I felt it was really far for me," Cilic said.
"When you start a tournament you win first match, second match, and you are playing well but you're not playing against top guys.
"You don't know what to expect, how you're going to deal with the pressure.
"I mean, overall with all these last three players or four players that I played against I had losing record.
"So even coming into any of those matches I was trying to win and not sort of knowing that I'm going to do it. Considering everything, I mean, it's a miracle."