Having lived in Zurich for three years we are always cheering for the Swiss athletes-always loved Federer. Now I think I am going to be a huge fan of someone who has worked really hard to get where he is now-Stanislas Wawrinka.
“I’m at the top of my career,” Wawrinka said. “Already last year I had the feeling that I was playing better, but I was dealing better the pressure also. I’m more mature. I’m 28 now. I’m on the tour since the last 10 years. Now I feel that it’s my time to play my best tennis.”
Federer sent a text message to Wawrinka on Wednesday. Federer, the winner of 17 Grand Slam singles titles, was among many aware of the potential for an all-Swiss final; aware, too, of all the work Wawrinka put in, of all the doubts endured. Federer congratulated Wawrinka for his run at the tournament.
“For you, it’s normal,” Wawrinka said he responded. “For me, it’s not normal.” This was all before he defeated Berdych in the semi-finals.
Wawrinka said he took confidence from his match with Djokovic, who had won their previous 14 meetings. Some of those contests had taken place in Grand Slam tournaments, and some of them had gone five sets, and Djokovic had won all of them. This time, in the fifth set, Djokovic badly mis-hit shots on the last two points. It was Wawrinka who played without fear. That, he said, helped against Berdych.
For years, Wawrinka has remained Switzerland’s second-best player, because its best player is among the best of all time.
As the first set of the men’s singles final at the Australian Open unfolded Sunday, those who assembled inside Rod Laver Arena watched in disbelief. There were two players and one was dominating and his name was not Rafael Nadal.
Not only was he playing in his first Australian Open final, but in 12 previous matches against Nadal, he had not managed to win even one of 26 combined sets.
Until Sunday. Until Wawrinka’s sublime play and Nadal’s unexpected back issues combined to make Wawrinka the surprise Australian Open champion, a player who won his first Grand Slam in his first Grand Slam final. In victory, Wawrinka became the first player to defeat the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the same Grand Slam to win it.
(excerpts from various articles in the New York Times)