In the fifth major final of his career and four years after he first contested the showpiece match at the US Open, Murray at last achieved the victory he craved.
Given the occasion, it was fitting he was made to fight, and fight he did, to a 7-6 (12/10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 win over defending champion Novak Djokovic that brought to an end Britain's 76-year wait for a British male singles champion on the biggest stage.
After at last clearing the final hurdle, the hope now is that Murray will find it easier to win more slams, with his next chance coming at the Australian Open in January, where he has twice been a finalist.
The 25-year-old said: "I spoke to (coach) Ivan (Lendl) very briefly after the match and we're going to have a chat on Friday or Saturday, I'm going to have the next two or three days to let things sink in a bit from the last few months.
"I want to keep improving. I know how it feels to win a grand slam, and winning the Olympics. I know how hard it was losing in the Wimbledon final. You want to try to win those big matches and big tournaments and I'll keep working hard to try to do that.
"I think I'll get a better feel when I get back on the court and start practising again, I'll feel what it's like to have a bit more belief in myself and my shots.
"I could have won Wimbledon this year, I was very close. I know if I'm in that position again I'll take the same chances, I'll go for my shots again, and a little bit more confidence and experience of taking my chances in big matches will help me."
It had been a whirlwind few hours for Murray. He celebrated with a team dinner last night, where he stuck to being teetotal, unlike the rest of the party.
This morning he was much in demand, appearing on the CBS breakfast show and heading to a photoshoot with the trophy in Central Park before heading to a reception at British Consul Danny Lopez's official residence in Manhattan.
He was welcomed into the penthouse by Scottish piper Don Neil MacRitchie playing Scotland The Brave and presented with a hamper of British food and drink, including Hula Hoops, Maltesers and Hobnobs, although in true Scottish fashion Murray went straight for the Irn-Bru.
Attempting to describe his emotions, he said of his breakthrough title: "I don't know if you can ever imagine something like that. I've dreamt things and thought about it but you never get the same feeling as when it actually happens.
"I was in a bit of shock and after that you're very relieved. I wasn't able to sleep last night. I wasn't bouncing off the walls or anything, I just couldn't go to sleep, I was just sitting awake for a few hours.
"During the tournament, if I'd had an hour and a half's sleep and had to get up I would have been in the worst mood ever but I woke up and jumped out of bed at 6.30am, which isn't like me. I'm very excited but it'll probably take a few days for it to sink in."
Lendl has been a key figure in Murray's transformation from perennial bridesmaid to centre stage, not least because the 52-year-old also lost his first four grand slam finals before winning one at the fifth attempt.
Lendl, who Murray hired at the start of this season, went on to win eight and reached eight US Open finals in a row, and he has been an invaluable source of advice to his charge.
Watch: Murray hails Lendl influence... More Videos
Murray said: "Ivan said to me just to enjoy the match, it's what you've been working all your life towards, and I said, 'That's exactly the problem, I've been working 10 years for this, it's a big moment for me, I don't know if I'm going to enjoy it'.
"He's so focused when I'm playing the matches. He didn't come out to dinner with us, he kept telling everyone how dead he was after the match, and I was like, 'You just sat there'.
"He's been through many matches like that, he knows how tough it is."
Murray will return to tournament action in Tokyo at the start of next month. He is the defending champion there, as he is the following week at the Masters Series event in Shanghai.
The season ends in November with the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2, and Murray is already targeting a first victory there.
He said: "Obviously it would be a nice way to finish. It's a great venue to play in, it's really fun, and it's also one of the toughest tournaments to win. I've probably got five tournaments left this year and that would be the main goal."
Murray's US Open triumph lifted him above the injured Rafael Nadal into the number three ranking, and 3,235 points behind world number one Roger Federer.
The Scot does not expect to be able to challenge for top spot this season, but it is very much a target he has in his sights for next year and beyond.
He added: "All players, once you get near to the top of the game, one of the goals is to try to get to world number one.
"I can't say this year it's necessarily possible for me to do it because I didn't have a particularly good clay-court season and I didn't do well in the Masters Series in Cincinnati and Montreal and also in Indian Wells.
"I had too many losses early in those tournaments. But that is the next step. To do that, you need to be consistent throughout the whole year. That's something that Novak and Roger and Rafa have done incredibly well the last few years.
"I'm definitely going to try. It's something I'd love to do, to get to number one. It's a very tough thing to do."