Stan Wawrinka Relishing French Open Run And Dreaming Of More Grand Slam Glory - UBITENNIS
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Stan Wawrinka Relishing French Open Run And Dreaming Of More Grand Slam Glory

The Swiss No.2 reflects on his current fitness and future goals following his latest win at Roland Garros.

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Stan Wawrinka (Photographer Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Heading into his third round match at the French Open, 24 months had passed since Stan Wawrinka last reached the second week of a major tournament.

 

Within that period, the Swiss player had to battle problems on the court with a troublesome knee injury that required surgery. He ended up being out of action for six months between 2017-2018, and required an additional three months rehabilitation during the first half of last year. Suddenly one of the most formidable players outside of the Big Four on the tour found himself battling to gain entry into certain tournaments. Dropping to a low of 263rd in the world rankings last June.

It is for this reason why his latest run at Roland Garros is even sweeter than usual. On Saturday he took out former ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (10-8). A performance that saw him fire 14 aces and 60 winners past his rival.

“I feel fine. It’s been several weeks that tennistically and physically I feel I have progressed.” Wawrinka evaluated about his current fitness.
“I’m playing at a high level. Today I’m happy to have won an additional match and to move forward and be in the round of 16. Playing excellent tennis in Roland. If I look at my first three rounds, they were very solid, very good.”

The 34-year-old is certainly happy, but he is far from contempt. Known as a player who likes to shine on the biggest tennis stadiums around the world, Wawrinka is hungry for more. The former world No.3 has won 16 ATP titles during his career (including three at grand slam level) and has defeated a No.1 player at a major tournament four times.

“I’m happy to be in the round of 16, but it’s not the aim of my tournaments when I enter. I’m not satisfied with this. I want to have more, and I hope to be able to do that tomorrow.”

The determination is there, but how likely is it that Wawrinka can return back to his best on a consistent basis? His age isn’t too much of a factor if you look at others, such as Roger Federer (37) or Ivo Karlovic (40). Furthermore, he is the only player outside of the big four to win multiple grand slam titles over the past 15 years.

“It’s passion, working on the long term, not being too in a hurry, being patient, having a line of conduct, of working, and knowing that work will pay off.” Wawrinka commented about what it takes to become a grand slam winner.
“I feel better. I hope that I will be able to continue the year as I started. But again, for the time being, I have only won three matches here (at the French Open), and I’m not totally satisfied with that type of results. In my vision of the end of my career, I want more, and I hope I’ll be able to continue.”

The next challenge for the player commonly known as ‘Stan the man’ will be one of the rising stars of the game. Stefanos Tsitsipas is yet to play Wawrinka on the tour. The Greek secured his place in the last 16 with a win over Filip Krajinović. Becoming the first player from his country to reach the fourth round of the tournament since 1936.

“He’s an amazing player, Improved a lot. Winning a lot of matches.” Wawrinka said of Tsitsipas. “He has already beaten top players.”
“It’s gonna be a tough match, for sure. I never played him, but practice a few times with him. He’s actually, when you play against him, plays a different ball than when you watch him. When you watch him play, you think he’s playing a little bit slower than what he’s playing in real life.”

Wawrinka’s latest triumph over Dimitrov was his 500th win on the ATP Tour.

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‘He Needs To Bulk Up’ – Tennis Great Cast Doubt On Alex De Minaur’s French Open Chances

John Newcombe believes it will be a few more years before the world No.27 reaches his peak.

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One of Australia’s most decorated Grand Slam champions of all time believes compatriot Alex de Minaur still has a way to go before he poses a threat at the French Open.

 

Former world No.1 John Newcombe believes the 21-year-old needs to improve on his physicality before reaching his peak on the surface. De Minaur comes into the Grand Slam high in confidence after reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in what was his best performance at a major so far in his career. He was knocked out of the tournament by eventual winner Dominic Thiem.

Although De Minaur’s preparations for the clay took a blow last week after he lost the first round of the Italian Open to German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. The world No.27 had a set and 3-0 lead over Koepfer before losing. He is not playing in any tournament this week leading up to Roland Garros.

“I’d have to see the draw, how it comes out, but it will be hard work for him,” Newcombe told the Australian Associated Press about de Minaur’s chances in Paris.
“He’s going to have to do a hell of a lot of work. If he got to the quarters, it would be a terrific effort.
“He’s not going to be physically where he needs to be, just bulking up a bit, until he’s 25, 26.
“But he’s got a good all-court game and he understands the game well, so there’s no reason he can’t be a pretty good late maturer (on clay).”

This year’s clay-court major will be the fourth time the Australian has played in the main draw. In his three previous appearances, de Minaur has only won one match which was against Bradley Klahn last year.

During a recent interview with atptour.com, the Next Gen star gave little away about his expectations for the clay this year given the revised schedule. The French Open is taking place just two weeks after New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic which brought the sport to a five-month standstill earlier this year.

“Realistically, you never know until you step out and play matches. It’s a very quick turnaround, something that has never happened to play such an important event after a slam. I’m taking it all in, doing as best as I can and we will have to see,” he said.

De Minaur has won three ATP titles and has scored four wins over top 10 players so far in his career. He is currently the only player from his country ranked in the world’s top 40 on the ATP Tour.

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Novak Djokovic claims his 36th Masters 1000 title in Rome

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Novak Djokovic came back from 0-3 down in the first set to beat Diego Schwartzman 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 53 minutes in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Djokovic claimed his fifth title in the Eternal City and his 36th Masters 1000 trophy and his 81st career title. Djokovic has become the oldest Rome champion. 

 

The World number 1 player extended his record in 2020 to an impressive record of 31 wins in 32 matches, including four titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, the Western and Southern Open in New York and Rome. 

Djokovic dropped his serve three times and earned five breaks of serve. 

Djokovic wasted a game point and dropped his serve, when he netted his backhand. Schwartzman hit four service winners in the second game to consolidate the break for 2-0. 

Djokovic made a backhand error to face a break point in the third game. Schwartzman earned his second break to open up a 3-0 after 18 minutes, as Djokovic netted another backhand.  Djokovic earned a break point chance and conveted it after a double fault from Schwartzman. 

Djokovic held serve at 15 with an ace in the fifth game to claw his way back to 2-3. The Serbian star forced an error from Schwarzman to earn a breka point in the sixth game and got the break, when the Argentine netted a forehand. Djokovic held serve at 15 to take a 4-3 in the seventh game. Schwartzman hit a forehand down the line winner at 30-15 in the eighth game and held serve with a service winner to draw level to 4-4. 

Djokovic saved a break point in the ninth game with a volley winner and held serve to take a 5-4 lead. Schwartzman saved a set point with a forehand winner and drew level to 5-5 after two deuces with a backhand the line winner. 

Djokovic held serve after a deuce to take a 6-5 lead forcing Schwartzman to serve to stay in the set for the second time. Djokovic converted his third set point to win the opening set 7-5 after 70 minutes. 

Schwartzman earned an early break at the start of the second set. Djokovic got the break back to draw level to 1-1 when Schwartzman sent a forehand wide. 

Djokovic hit a winner at the net to hold serve in the third game. Schwartzman hit four winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2.

Djokovic saved two break points in the fifth game and held serve with a service winner to take a 3-2 lead. Schwartman held serve with a drop shot. Djokovic won his service game at love to take a 4-3 lead and broke serve at love in the eighth game with a backhand down the line winner. Djokovic held serve at love to close out the final. 

“”It was a great week. A very challenging week. I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it the most in the decisive moments today, yesterday and in every match. That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed. Turning to Paris, I could not ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and i super pleased with it”, said Djokovic. 

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Stan Wawrinka Parts Way With Long-Time Coach Norman

Stan the man is on the look out for a new coach for the first time in almost a decade.

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It is the end of an era for three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka after he announced his split from coach Magnus Norman.

 

The former world No.3 confirmed on Monday that the two have decided to end their collaboration with ‘mutual consent’ following eight years working together on the Tour. Norman was last with Wawrinka at the Italian Open last week where the Swiss player lost his opening match to rising star Lorenzo Musetti. It is unclear as to exactly when the decision was made.

“After 8 great years together Magnus Norman and I have decided to part ways by mutual consent. We have had an amazingly strong, enjoyable and hugely successful partnership. We reached the height of this sport together and I want to thank him for helping me win everything that I could ever dream of winning,” Wawrinka said in a statement posted on Instagram.

44-year-old Norman is a former world No.2 player himself who reached the final of the French Open back in 2000. During his coaching career, he guided Wawrinka to various milestones in his career that includes 13 ATP titles with three of those being at Grand Slam level. The Swede has also been recognized by the ATP for his work with Wawrinka after winning the inaugural Coach of the Year award back in 2016.

“He’s been a great coach, friend and mentor and will always be a dear friend,” Wawrinka said in a tribute.
“I want to publicly thank him for all his hard work, dedication and commitment in making me a better player over the years. Winning three grand slams have been a life changing experience for me and I could not have done that without him. I wish him all the best in his next chapter in his life.”

The announcement from the world No.17 comes a week before the French Open starts. Wawrinka has been training on the clay for the past few weeks after deciding against travelling to North America to play in the US Open. Instead, he played in a couple Challenger events and won a trophy in Prague last month. Overall, he has achieved a win-loss record of 15-3 so far in 2020.

It is unclear as to who will be replacing Norman in Wawrinka’s team.

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