The Spaniard came from a set down to see off the Serb 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4 at Roland Garros, clinching his ninth victory in the past 10 years in Paris.
In doing so, the 28-year-old became the first man to win five successive French Open titles and Nadal appeared physically and emotionally drained after three-and-a-half gruelling hours.
“It’s amazing, emotional,” he said in the post-match presentation.
“Playing here is unforgettable and I want to say thank you very much to everybody here, it’s very difficult for me to talk right now.
“In matches like this, every moment is crucial, all points are so hard.
“Playing against Novak is always a big challenge and I lost the last four times (against Djokovic) so every time that I have the chance to beat him I have to play to my limit.
“Both of us were playing at a high level, so sorry for him, I think he deserved to win this tournament and I’m sure he will do it in the future.”
At the trophy presentation, the Spaniard paid tribute to Djokovic before vowing to return in 2015 to bid for his 10th title.
He added: “Novak, I’m sorry but for me it’s always a big pleasure to play against you, the biggest challenge of my career.
“Congratulations for everything you’re doing and you will win here in the future, I have no doubts about that.
“All the work that we have done, days like (this), all the things I did to be here are more than worth it. Many thanks to everybody and I hope to see you next year.”
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