The second men’s winner from RG2021 …

Vanilla Slice

Djokovic won and it was in another monumental fashion. Man is or is nearly sure to be the goat of tennis.

But Djokovic winning also meant another player highly benefited:

Stan Wawrinka.

The Djokovic goat narrative elevates Stan to an even higher status in his ability to take it to him on hard courts in a decade where Federer, Nadal, and Murray could not.

While I agree that Murray will have his spot as a national figure that Wawrinka will never attain. Wawrinka in my opinion is more legendary for his dragon slaying and his defense of Fedal when Fedal could not defend their own legacies.

Murray will also get his due for his 2016 dethroning of Djokovic. Nadal is hurt but still clay goat forever, while Federer has only himself to blame for likely not finishing as the goat.

Wawrinka was never the best player or as consistent as the Big 4, but he had the mental fortitude that none of this Next Gen possesses. Wawrinka really did poorly vs Federer and Nadal, but something about playing Djokovic didn’t destroy him. He was the perfect matchup on hard court. He’a a large reason Djokovic isn’t already at 20+ slams. Wawrinka’s legacy rises with that of Djokovic’s.