French Open champion Gaston Gaudio said he was on the brink of quitting the final when he was 6-0 5-1 down.
The unseeded Argentine went on to save two match points as he came back to beat injured compatriot Guillermo Coria in five sets.
"I was suffering so much. I was telling my coach 'I don't want to be here'," said the 25-year-old.
"I was a bit lucky at the end when I got two match points down and I came back. I don't know how, but I won. "
Coria was struck by cramp after losing a tight third set and all but conceded the fourth by serving at half-pace and refusing to run.
However, Gaudio showed no sympathy with his younger compatriot.
"This is a game where we have to run and you have to prepare yourself," he said.
"If you play a guy who's injured, of course it's going to help you - but that was in the fourth set.
"In the fifth, he started to run like the beginning of the match. It was like a new match, and it was tough."
Gaudio said the turning point for him came when the crowd on Chatrier Court began a Mexican wave at 4-3 down in the third set.
"I believe it was fundamental, because I was very nervous," said the 25-year-old, who paused to applaud the crowd's efforts.
"I couldn't feel the ball properly. I was not enjoying it all. Suddenly, the crowd did the wave, and I enjoyed my tennis more. I enjoyed the match, and I came back into it."