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Roger Federer has said that his US Open victory over Andy Murray has a "different type of flavour" to his other grand slam successes.
The Swiss star scored his fifth straight title at Flushing Meadows on Monday after beating the British number one in straight sets.
Federer's win was his 13th grand slam victory in all and takes him within one title of Pete Sampras' record haul.
However, of much more importance to the 27-year-old was that it came towards the end of a season which has seen him flounder by his usual elevated standards.
World number three Novak Djokovic stole Federer's Australian Open title at the start of the year, with his attempt to secure a breakthrough French Open title again thwarted by Rafael Nadal.
Indeed, the Spaniard instead went on to secure his own breakthrough success on grass, beating Federer in their five-set epic final at Wimbledon in July.
And, to add insult to injury, Nadal then claimed the world number one spot last month - a position Federer had held since February 2004.
With 12 losses coming so far during 2008, some had even gone so far as to write him off as a grand slam winner.
But, after a slow start, the Federer of old returned in New York, sweeping past Djokovic in the semi-finals before overpowering grand slam final debutant Murray.
"I would have been disappointed losing and having three finals and one semis of the slams," Federer admitted.
"You feel like you missed an entire year, you know, being so close but yet so far, because semis and finals don't help me a whole lot any more in my career.
"It's all about the wins, and that's why this is huge. This is massive, really, and I'm very, very happy about this grand slam obviously. It's a different type of flavour, this one, to me, no doubt.
"And I can definitely go into the rest of the season more relaxed now, and then also looking forward with great spirits for next year."
Federer said the turning point in his season was winning an Olympic gold medal in the doubles in Beijing last month with Swiss team-mate Stanislas Wawrinka.
"I was coming here happy being an Olympic champion. I think that's what really made the big difference," he said.
"If I wouldn't have played doubles at the Olympics, say, I would have come here with three tough losses.
"But with the Olympic gold in doubles, it really sort of made me forget about it, to just come in here and enjoy this tournament.
"I mean, I'm always going to be confident. I'm a four-time defending champion. So I was always going to believe in my chances, and especially at the slams, I
knew I was so close at Wimbledon that my chances were always going to be good here.
"So that's why I came into this tournament quite confident."
Federer also put a positive gloss on his losses in 2008, insisting he was proud to be a part of this year's Wimbledon final, even though he was denied the chance of a sixth successive men's singles title.
"I'm quite proud obviously of my achievement. It takes a lot out of a player, you know, always trying to go from one tournament to the next and trying to do
your best, it's been a tough summer," he said.
"I think the French Open loss was brutal, but I got over that one pretty easily, played great on the grass, and had a really tough loss at Wimbledon where I was proud to be part of such a great match.
"At the same time it just made me sad not having won that great epic match. Maybe I was always dreaming about it and not winning it.
"I was always positive. I lost quite a few matches I should have never lost, and they hurt. Now, getting the fifth US Open, it really means a lot to me. I
really thank the fans, as well, the crowds. They were great."
Federer also said his victory on Monday was the perfect riposte to the loss of his place at the top of the world rankings.
"I mean, from the beginning, that's really what I was hoping for. And losing my number one ranking, that's also what meant a lot to me this season," he added.
"So to bounce back straight away after losing the number one ranking, this is the best scenario ever."
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