US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has credited World No.1 Novak Djokovic as the reason behind his success. The Swiss has insisted that playing against Novak pushes him to his limits and forces him to play at his very best. The 31-year-old has also spoken about his love for the Chennai crowd.
“As I said in my speech after the final, it's because of Novak that I am where I am. Against him I need to play my very best, go to my limits, take risks and fight as hard as I possibly can. If you look at our head-to-head, you see that he's way ahead. But somehow I managed to play my best tennis against him on several big occasions, hang in there and win some huge matches in Melbourne, Paris and now in New York. I take risks, and with my powerful game, I can put a lot of pressure on my opponents when everything works the way it did in Paris and New York,” Wawrinka, who defeated Novak in the final of the US Open to claim his third Grand Slam, told TOI in an exclusive interview.
The swiss possesses an impressive record against Novak in the final. When asked if Roger would take advice from him as to how to beat the World No.1, Wawrinka replied, “First of all, I wish Roger all the best on his way back. We all know that he can beat anybody anytime when he's healthy and fit. He has an excellent coaching team around him with Severin (Luthi) and Ivan (Ljubicic). Our discussions are different, it's more like two friends exchanging opinions and discussing about tennis than one giving advice to the other.”
Wawrinka lost the first set of the final to Novak, but he insisted that the initial loss did not cause any panic.
“Once you are on the court everything is different. I focus on the match. Losing the first set hurt, but you need to keep going. I was there, playing my game and playing well. So there was no reason to panic. Playing a best of five-set match you can always bounce back even if you lose the first set. That happened to me in the past as you said it also happened in the Roland Garros final. So OI I really know that it doesn't mean that much,” Wawrinka explained.
However, he has refrained from committing his presence in the next edition of the Chennai Open. “I'm currently still working on my schedule for next year. Nothing has been confirmed yet as I've been pretty busy during the last few weeks,” he said.
Wawrinka pointing towards his temple has become an iconic image in the world of tennis, and it has a lot to do with the mental fortitude that Magnus, his coach, has helped him develop over the past few years.
“Coaching is very complex, it's like a puzzle and many things need to come together to make it work. That's the case with Magnus. He's done some excellent work with Robin Soderling in the past as well, he's been a top player himself and knows the game extremely well. I like his vision of the game, the way he speaks to me. It's also much about timing, doing the right thing at the right moment or knowing when you need to change your game when something is not working. I can be stubborn sometimes and Magnus knows how to approach me and push me to go even further and keep improving,” Wawrinka said.
With three Grand Slams in his bag, the Swiss will look to complete his career slam by winning the Wimbledon, a place where he has struggled to go beyond the quarters.
“For sure it will be different now that I have won the other three Grand Slams. I'm trying to improve on grass every year. This year it hasn't quite worked out, but of course, I'll keep working hard and will do everything possible to do better and go even further than the quarters. My game takes
“It's faster and tougher for my game. We'll see how it goes,” he added.