Stanislas Wawrinka Wins His First Grand SlamBy: Shana Norris - January 27, 2014
Swiss tennis player Stanislas Wawrinka nabbed his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open on Sunday. In an interview with CNN, the 28-year old Wawrinka seemed thrilled and maybe even a little surprised.
“I never dreamed about that, never expected to be in that situation and that’s just crazy … You don’t really know what’s happening, I started to tell myself ‘You just won a grand slam.’ It’s something amazing for me.”
Wawrinka wasn’t the only one surprised by his victory.
When Spain’s Rafael Nadal beat Wawrinka’s compatriot Roger Federer in the semi-finals Friday night, many assumed that Nadal would take the Australian Open title.
A victory for Nadal would have tied him with tennis legend Pete Sampras at 14 Grand Slam titles. He would have been the first man in the Open era to win each of the Grand Slam titles twice, and only the third in history to do so. (Australians Roy Emerson and Rod Laver accomplished the feat previously.)
Sampras himself tipped Nadal to win: “It’s a tough match-up and I’m not sure [Wawrinka] has the firepower from the back of the court. He’s got to deal with Rafa and his nerves, it’s his first major final so he needs to settle down and work his way into the match … I think Rafa’s just playing too well.”
Wawrinka had lost to Nadal in all 12 of their prior matches – and all 26 sets. But before their Australian Open match-up, Wawrinka pointed to his record with Serbia’s Novak Djokovic: “I’m playing my best tennis here, I’m physically ready. I’m going to try everything. Before I beat Djokovic it was the same — I had lost 14 times to him before that.”
But another Grand Slam win wasn’t in the cards for Nadal this time around. The Spaniard suffered a back injury on Sunday, and although he played through the pain barrier, he lacked the power to overcome Wawrinka.
The final score: 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
The win puts Wawrinka at number 3 in the world:
In what the tennis world has quickly come to recognize as his typical humble style, Wawrinka said: “It’s really not the way you want to win a tennis match, but in a Grand Slam final I’ll take it.”
Image via Twitter