With Spain’s King Felipe watching on, the 33-year-old Nadal fought off Canadian youngster Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) to give his country a first Davis Cup title since 2011 – and sixth in total.
If any player deserved to get his hands on the famous old trophy again it was world No.1 Nadal after he worked overtime all week, often into the small hours, to win all eight matches he played.
But he surely would have been happy had it been teammate Bautista Agut to have delivered the winning point.
The world No.9 had given the hosts a flying start in the final, beating teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 after returning to the squad following the death of his father.
“An amazing week in every way,” said Nadal, who has now won 29 successive Davis Cup singles matches since 2004.
“The vital person has been Roberto Bautista.”
After beating Auger-Aliassime, Bautista Agut was embraced by his captain Sergi Bruguera and there were emotional scenes at the end as roars of “campiones” echoed around the arena.
“It was a dream day and all the team members have made an incredible effort, especially Rafa, going to sleep at three, four and five in the morning and the next day going out to play,” Bautista Agut said.
“It can only be because we are Spanish.”
For Gerard Pique, the Barcelona soccer player who has made revamping the Davis Cup into a tennis World Cup his mission, it was the perfect climax to a week in which the new format suffered glitches but could be judged a qualified success.
Too many late nights, one session finishing at 4.07am., a complicated group stage and small crowds at some ties mean there is still lots to improve if the $80 million ($A117.8 million) Pique’s Kosmos company is investing in the event each year is sustainable.
But this felt like an authentic Davis Cup final, even if an appearance from Pique’s pop singer wife Shakira added a little more glamour than usual.