Born on the 28th of March, Stanislas Wawrinka has been one of the best players Switzerland has ever produced. The former World Number 3 has however spent most of his initial career under the shadow of his friend and countryman Roger Federer. Of late however that has changed a lot. This is the story from when Stan Wawrinka won his first Grand Slam.
The year 2014 was the breakthrough season in Wawrinka’s great career. It all started with the first Grand Slam of that year in the Australian Open. Wawrinka who was seeded 8th in the tournament did the unthinkable. He went from strength to strength to finally lift the trophy. On his Birthday we rewind back to look at that extraordinary tournament in his tennis journey.
Powering Through The Draw
Stan who was seeded 7th in the tournament was placed in the bottom half of the draw. He met Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan in the 1st round. The Swiss dominated the unfinished match winning the 1st set and leading by a double break in the 2nd set. Golubev then decided to retire due to a mid match injury. The Swiss had now taken the 1st of 7 steps towards the destination. It was going to be the tournament when Wawrinka won his first Grand Slam.
His 2nd round match was against Alejandro Fella of Colombia. The match would go to 4 sets with Stan winning the 1st and 2nd but Fella coming back to win the 3rd in a tie breaker. The Swiss ace however recovered and won the 4th set to finally close out a tricky contest. In the 3rd round match, Wawrinka got a walkover. Stan’s opponent Vasek Pospisil could not come to the court due to injury issues.
Stan Wawrinka met Tommy Robredo of Spain in the 4th round. The match went to 3 tight sets, two of which were decided in the tie-breaker. Wawrinka was a better player in the moments that mattered. He won the match in 3 straight but extremely competitive sets and hence progressed to the 2nd week of the tournament. Isn’t it nice story of the tournament when Stan Wawrinka won his first Grand Slam?
Final Stages When Stan Wawrinka won his first Grand Slam
The quarter-final contest between 8th seeded Wawrinka and 2nd seeded Novak Djokovic proved to be the match of the tournament. Twelve months ago Novak had beaten Wawrinka on the same court in the cracking 4th round 5 set contest. This time it was a chance for revenge in front of the in-form Swiss hard-hitter. The match again went to 5 sets like the one fought a year before at Melbourne Park.
What would Djokovic do in a year when Stan Wawrinka won his first Grand Slam? Djokovic took the 1st set but Stan would come back to win the 2nd and 3rd. Novak won the 4th set and thus took the match to a deciding 5th set. The last set was fought tool and nail. This time around it was the Swiss who prevailed. He broke the Serb and took the set with 9-7 score. It was truly a great contest to watch.
In the semis Wawrinka would face Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. The match was again played over 4 epic sets. Wawrinka was looking in great shape and had all the answers to the challenges Berdych would throw at him. The Swiss won in 4 tight sets. He was now for the first time in his career into a Grand Slam final. Was this the final when Stan Wawrinka won his first Grand Slam?
Raising The Trophy
In the final match Stan Wawrinka would face his most formidable opponent. Rafael Nadal the top seed and World Number 1 had lost just one set en-route to the final. The Spaniard has earlier beaten Wawrinka’s compatriot Roger Federer in the semis. Wawrinka had never taken a set, leave alone won a match of Nadal in the 10 previous encounters when the duo had met. The odds appeared firmly stacked against the Swiss.
That would however change quickly during the final. Nadal had caught a back injury a day prior to the final. It looked obvious that his movement was restricted on the court. That would not deter Stan from making his own history. The Swiss took the 1st and 2nd set in dominant fashion. He was now just one set away from the 1st Grand Slam trophy win of his career.
Nadal came back to win the 3rd set and raise the hopes of a possible come back. Those hopes were quickly put to rest as Wawrinka repeated his triumph in the 4th set. The Swiss great had now won the match and the title. He was in his first ever major final when Stan Wawrinka won his first Grand Slam. The victory also paved way for him to achieve the career best ATP singles ranking of World Number 3. Wawrinka also became one of the very few players to beat Nadal and Djokovic in the same tournament.
So, in 2014, when Stan Wawrinka won his first Grand Slam, Stan would also win his 1st and only Masters 1000 tournament till date. This was at the Monte Carlo country club. The Swiss later repeated his Grand Slam success in 2015 French Open and 2016 US Open. Injuries and surgery kept Stan out of tennis for much of 2017 and 2018. He is looking back to the tour and steadily coming back to his old form with already broken back into the top 20 of the ATP men’s singles rankings. We wish the stylish Swiss player a happy birthday and more career success. Did you like this story on Stan the Man?