Yet Andy Murray can now enjoy a winter of sublime content, reflecting on the warm glow of achievement as he plans to build on the achievement of the London Olympics and, most crucially, the US Open.
The dizzying fluctuations in a top sportsman's life were never better illustrated by the Scot's comments that he entered Wimbledon just two months ago with the fear that a grand slam would never be his. Barely two months on, he is an Olympic gold medallist and the US Open champion.
His almost immediate reaction was to focus on how another major can be added and to ponder on how Wimbledon is now a more accessible mountain to climb after his summer of sore defeat followed by glorious victory.
The world No.3 will talk to coach Ivan Lendl tomorrow to draw up the first stages of a strategy to add another major title to that won sensationally in New York on Monday. "I want to keep improving, I want to keep trying to win," said the 25-year-old Scot. "Obviously, I know how good it feels to win a grand slam and to win the Olympics, and I know how hard it was losing the Wimbledon final. You want to try to win those big matches and big tournaments and I'm going to work hard to try to do it again."
He added: "Right now I feel great in terms of confidence."
It was not always thus. Murray admitted that the burden of not winning a major was beginning to strain him. His loss in four sets to Roger Federer at Wimbledon in July was his fourth defeat in a grand slam final. He said of winning a major: "I always felt when I was younger it was going to happen but the older you get and after the Australian Open [defeat to Novak Djokovic in semis of 2011] and after Wimbledon . . . I got so close, you do start to doubt if it's going to happen.
"I wouldn't say I was preparing for it not to happen but you do start to think that way. At times this year, I did doubt it and before the final on Monday I was doubting myself, thinking about the match and how tough it would be, if I would be able to do it or not. I am just glad I have done it and I hope it's not the only one."
All players face pressure in grand slam finals but it became more oppressive for Murray as every one passed without victory. Two Australian Open final defeats, a loss in the final at the US Open and then the crushing disappointment of coming up short against Federer at this year's Wimbledon conspired to burden Murray with doubt.
"I think all players do have doubts going into big matches. I don't think it matters who you are but it depends on how you let it affect. I think in the past I let it affect me a lot."
He said he had felt calmer before the Wimbledon final and the Olympic showdown with Federer. But the darkness returned as he prepared to play Djokovic on Monday.
"I questioned myself more before this match, probably because it's the last slam of the year and it's five or so months until the next one. There are no big tournaments for a while to get the win you want to finish the year off well, so that's why this was so big for me."
It would have been highly debilitating for the Scot to spend the months before Melbourne dwelling on another near miss.
Triumph, though, has banished all regrets but Murray paid a tribute to those who helped him overcome the deep apprehension.
"I speak to the guys," he said, pointing out that all at Team Murray listened to his doubts. Unsurprisingly, the most significant contribution was from his coach who had also lost four grand slams finals before winning eight majors.
"I spoke to Ivan and he just said to me: 'Just enjoy the match. It's what you work all your life towards so enjoy it'. And I was like, that' s exactly the problem. I've been working 10 years for this and it's a big moment for me and I don't know if I'm going to enjoy it. And he said: 'Oh, why not? Come on, you've got to try to enjoy it."
Murray may not quite have relished every second of the four hours and 54 minutes it took to beat Djokovic in five sets, but the experience and accomplishment of this campaign will inspire him.
"I think this year's Wimbledon will help me for next year because I could have won it," he said of a final in which he took a one-set lead, was squeezed out 7-5 in the second before Federer won in four sets. "If I had had a two sets to love lead it could, obviously, still have gone the other way, but I would have been in a very good position then and I was very close to doing that. I know if I'm in that position again I'll take the same chances. I'll go for my shots again. Maybe with a little bit more confidence and experience I'll make them."
He added: "I'll know which shots to go for and which shots to hold back on a little bit. That will help me in the future, whether it will be Wimbledon or Australia or the French."
Murray also joins his big brother as a grand slam champion. Jamie won the mixed singles at Wimbledon with Jelena Jankovic in 2007. "It's been amazing but I suppose you have to ask my parents exactly how great that feels," he said of the double family success . "I know when I watched Jamie win Wimbledon it was amazing to see that happen so I can only imagine what they are feeling now."
There are now additions to the family after Uncle Sean Connery and Uncle Alex Ferguson joined Team Murray in New York. "It was great to have someone like Alex Ferguson in my box, getting to chat to him was cool," he said.
"In terms of all sports he will probably go down as one of the greatest coaches of all time so I had him and one of the best tennis players of all time in my box, so that inspired me."
However, the biggest inspiration will be the realisation that a grand slam title is finally within his grasp and others may be at his fingertips.