Wawrinka News

#2
A recent French-language interview in l’Équipe was translated into English. The interviewer asked him to describe his thoughts during the final of Roland Garros 2015. It's a very insightful read. He's always a direct guy while being realistic and modest about his status, and he's becoming more confident about expressing what he can and cannot do on court vs the Big 4, so it was interesting to hear his unfiltered thoughts (albeit blurred by translation) about that day. He has definitely turned the corner from the crippling lack of self-belief he used to suffer from, before Magnus Norman.


Translation of this article from l’Équipe web site, page 24-25 in the print edition of Saturday, 21 May.
First game – Djokovic 0-0 Wawrinka

The first game, it’s serious. We went right at it. To me, it was important. I was super nervous before the match, I had a lot of doubts: ‘Everyone says he’s unplayable. What’s going to happen?’ Once I was on the court, during the warm-up, I tried to take advantage of the situation. I told myself several times: ‘Stan, you’re in the final at Roland-Garros. How often have you dreamed of this? Look at the stadium, look at what’s happening!” In fact, I looked at it as if I were almost having an out-of-body experience. ‘Come on, enjoy! Do your thing!’ I listen to the announcer who’s reading out all of Djokovic’s accomplishments, I look at the crowd to see if they applaud, I look at the sky because it’s a beautiful day …

I sit down on my chair and I switch in a second. It’s easy for me: I can have ten million things going on in my head, but I can switch and concentrate in a second. I’ve done it lots of times. In my chair, I’m already in the first game: ‘How are you going to serve the first point? Are you going to let loose right away? etc.’

I have a very clear game plan, but it’s open to modification. I knew that with him there was no feeling-out round. The proof is the first game. I play incredibly, and yet I’m on serve. Djoko is a machine and the motor is already running.

But, at the end of the first game, everything’s good mentally; physically, I’m fine and I’m not going to lose because of my level of game. It will be played on nerves, hesitations, but not on game feelings. From the very first hit, I feel on top. It’s good, the final has begun …

The remainder of the interview:
Djokovic 5-4 Wawrinka – last game of the first set

It’s a key moment. Novak broke me quickly because I was too hesitant. Actually, I haven’t let loose, really get inside him. I have a little mental block. When you’re behind in the score, when you’ve been broken , you always play a bit tighter. You look for something to come back with. But at 5-4, 40-15, I make two points that are essential to the story of the final. First, I make a passing shot. Then I win a point on a dropper. I end up losing the game, and then everything changed for me in my head, but I don’t know why. I feel I’m on the way, I’m there mentally. I needed some sort of small trigger to let loose. I found it there. The match really starts here. It was that game that gave me confidence for the rest ot it. Why? Because I did what I wanted to do at the start of the match. I want to push him, push him, and if he’s stronger than me, good on him. But I tell myself, I’m going to go and get this match. That’s how a lost game can be a release.

Djokovic 6-4 3-4 Wawrinka – at 4-3 in the second set

When I hit the net twice with my racquet, it was the only time I felt frustrated during this final. Why then? Because I’m ahead 4-3, and that since the start of the second set, I feel I have chances to move ahead. And I don’t do it. On the second dropshot, I’m upset because I can’t miss a shot like that when I’m on it. ‘Sh*t, you’re screwing up, don’t miss shots like that!’

From the start of the second set, I sense him starting to hesitate. If he’s hitting dropshots like that, it’s because he’s not finding answers from the baseline. He’s starting to back up on long rallies. At the start, each tried to impose themselves from the baseline. But I start to hit so hard and heavy that he doesn’t quite know what to do from the baseline. In fact, he’s being dominated, and he needs to change something. That’s true of all players who feel they’re being dominated. So, in the second set, he starts to hit dropshots. In the fourth, he’ll serve-and-volley to save break points.

Sure, I see that as something difficult, but against Djokovic, you always walk a fine line. What I mean to say is, Djokovic is different: even when he isn’t playing as well as usual, he’s always present in the moment. That’s why he’s better than anyone else in the world.

Djokovic 6-4 4-5 Wawrinka – final game of the second set

The sound my shots are making is huge. I’m playing with incredible pace. I saw the speed of my baseline shots: 145 kph, 150 kph, 160 kph … The set point, against a lot of players, I win it five times. But he’s getting all my shots back. At the end of the game, I’m at the point I was looking for: I managed to get ahead. I sense he’s nervous, but I’m not surprised: when I play well, I know I make him nervous. I’ve felt that before at the Australian and US Opens. He can’t be serene; after that game, he knows that I can be the stronger one. But it’s not the turning point of the match. Against him, as long as you haven’t won the final point, there’s no turning point in the strict sense.

That gesture to Magnus where I tap my forefinger on my temple, at the end, that’s just a natural gesture. It just means, “I’m there, I know exactly what I’m doing, I won’t let up mentally.”

Djokovic 6-4 4-6 2-3 — Third set break and the the famous backhand hole shot

At 3-2 in the 3rd set, I hit a huge forehand and a backhand down the line. I start to really open the throttle. On top of that, Novak looks at his team with the air of someone asking, “What do you want me to do?” Later at 5-2, there’s the famous backhand from the corner … I say with all humility, it’s not an unlikely shot. After all, I’m four in the world, I’m the final at Roland, which means I’m playing very well. I see the hole and I go for it. I’m very far from the ball, but I control my slide really well to take the ball really low. It wasn’t lucky, I hit it to make it. Besides, three weeks later at Wimbledon against Verdasco, I did it again.

It’s obvious now, I’m bringing the juice. But, before that hole shot, how many shots was I hitting in that zone at 150 kph? And then, the better you feel the more the ball gets close to the lines. It stays inside the court for a good reason: there’s no hesitation. Now I’m really on top of what I can do. That final, it’s the best match I’ve ever played in my career. I feel like a steamroller that wants to finish the job. Once you release the brakes, once you step on the accelerator you just play. I mean, you play the tennis you know how to play.

Djokovic 6-4 4-6 3-6 3-1 Wawrinka — the break back

I win the second set 6-4, the third set 6-3, and yet I’m behind 3-0 in the 4th! I said it before: against him, you walk a fine line. Instead of going down a level, he adds a level. But he submits anyway. You can hear it in his grunt. It’s not the same grunt as when he controls a point. The long thirty-shot rally, it’s to show him that I’m not letting up. I feel him tamed physically. His grunt is different – he’s trying to put extra into his shots. Winning that point makes me stronger. I want absolutely to stay in contact in the 4th set.

Djokovic 6-4 4-6 6-3 4-5 – the final game

I’m still on top, but I’m fried. There are long rallies, we hit, we hit, we hit … he starts to serve-and-volley, he’s at the net more often and I hit a passing shot to break him. I make a simple gesture, and in a half-second I’m already in my next service game. I’m very calm. I walk calmly to my seat. No need for a ‘come on’. After, it’s the last game … I’m serving for the match. And when I need to save a break-point, I don’t panic. I tell myself, ‘If that’s the score, it’s because you’re playing better than he is. At the worst, it’s 5-5. And so? Well, we’ll just start over.’ That frame of mind makes the difference. That detail is probably what bests sums up my final. I couldn’t have had a nicer match point to win Roland. Big serve outside, backhand down the line: that point sums up my whole game and the whole 15 days.

Djokovic 6-4 4-6 63 6-4 – The joy and the ceremony

Already before the Melbourne final, I asked myself what I’d do if I won. Roll around on the ground? Lie on the ground? Fall to my knees? And I did nothing. Afterwards, Gaël told me, ‘Sh*t, Stan! I was waiting for you to do something nuts and you did nothing. I’m crushed!’ I’ll never have an answer, but I think it’s just the way I am. My joy is enormous, but it’s internal. You can’t imagine it, but there are so many things going through my head … It doesn’t come out. And I would dream of rolling around on the clay and having a mythical photo taken. But that’s the way it goes … It’s not because of the way I was brought up, but because of the way I learned my tennis. I never dreamed of winning a Slam. Because I never thought I was as good as those who were there. I saw them all on the TV. To me, those who win Slams are monsters. I have a lot of emotions during the ceremony, but it’s the same thing, I don’t show them. Maybe except for when I lift the trophy. Because, still, it’s THE moment.

@junior74 You might enjoy this read. :)
 
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#4
He keeps a lot bottled up inside and he has a temper and fiery streak - typical of an Aries, if you believe in astrology haha. But yeah, I think those qualities are in part where he gets his strength and explosive game from, which is a good thing, but on the downside it's also why he's inconsistent as well. An interesting read and perhaps one day after his career is over he might want to write a book or memoir covering all his thoughts and feelings on his journey.
 
#7
Wawa believes there's more to accomplishments than just slams.



Or he's just heaping some pressure on the Muzziah!
I disagree, I think he answer the question regarding career achievement up to now: Murray is in a different category. He will knows he will beat him tomorrow though.
 
#11
This is a French-language, vignette-styled documentary done in 2010/2011, while he was coached by Peter Lundgren. I don't know if it was ever released as a full documentary; all I can find are these little edited clips. I wish his management would make an updated, more substantial version with Magnus, covering his slam wins. Anyway, here it is if anyone is interested. I don't speak French, so I have no idea what anyone is saying, but it shows Stan's off-court personality and how he interacts with his coach and with friends like the Guru(!). o_O @Krish872007 @nowhereman

It's kind of interesting/sad to see what tour life is like for the Top 20/30 guys, who have relatively good runs in tournaments only to crash into the Big 4. That RG win over Tsonga was epic, though, and this also shows the first time he won Chennai.






I wonder what happened with Stan and Lundgren. From these clips (especially the third and fifth ones), it looks like they got along really well as a team. He always wanted to work with Magnus Norman, though, so maybe they just mutually agreed to end it. I think it was around this time that Magnus and Robin Söderling parted ways. Magnus has said that he made it a point to speak with Severin Lüthi and Pierre Paganini about Stan but has never spoken with Lundgren.
 
#12
Wawa believes there's more to accomplishments than just slams.



Or he's just heaping some pressure on the Muzziah!
I really liked his response. :) The media keeps asking him about it and trying to build this "new Big 4" or "Big 5" narrative, and he's having none of it. He's happy being where he is--as he said it recently, "just below" those big guys. Able to beat them, on his day, but not one of them. I get the sense that he has a lot of respect for Andy.
 
#14
Stan has added Richard Krajicek to his team! :eek:o_O


Stanislas Wawrinka ‏@stanwawrinka 2h2 hours ago
As I'm always looking to improve on court, I would like to take this opportunity to announce as of immediately that I have added

Stanislas Wawrinka ‏@stanwawrinka 2h2 hours ago
Richard Krajicek to my existing coaching staff to help during the grass court season for the next 4 weeks. Magnus, Yannick and I are really

Stanislas Wawrinka ‏@stanwawrinka 2h2 hours ago
excited about the new addition to our team - adding a former Wimbledon Champion can only further my knowledge and understanding of the grass

Stanislas Wawrinka ‏@stanwawrinka 2h2 hours ago
It's a real privilege and honour to add such a champion to my corner.
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
#17
Stan has added Richard Krajicek to his team! :eek:o_O


Stanislas Wawrinka ‏@stanwawrinka 2h2 hours ago
As I'm always looking to improve on court, I would like to take this opportunity to announce as of immediately that I have added

Stanislas Wawrinka ‏@stanwawrinka 2h2 hours ago
Richard Krajicek to my existing coaching staff to help during the grass court season for the next 4 weeks. Magnus, Yannick and I are really

Stanislas Wawrinka ‏@stanwawrinka 2h2 hours ago
excited about the new addition to our team - adding a former Wimbledon Champion can only further my knowledge and understanding of the grass

Stanislas Wawrinka ‏@stanwawrinka 2h2 hours ago
It's a real privilege and honour to add such a champion to my corner.
I am telling you, Wimbledon was always the goal for this year. ;)
 
#20
I am telling you, Wimbledon was always the goal for this year. ;)
It would be one of the craziest things if he made it happen! :eek:;) There was an interview last year after RG, where someone was asking him if there's any big title he still wants, and he said "Wimbledon" (apparently in a hesitant manner, like he was afraid to make it explicit). He must really want it. It makes sense, even though he's never excelled on grass, since his childhood idol was Pete Sampras and he has also long idolized Fed.

What have you predicted for Wimbledon @Hitman, or should I dare to ask? o_O

^^ Yes, it was all over the sports sections of the papers over here.

Interesting combination of characters, a sensitive player and a blockhead coach. I wonder how it'll work out. ;)
Krajicek must understand that Stan is 12 years old in his mind and has the attention span of a bored puppy. (If you follow him on snapchat, this becomes painfully clear. lol :oops:) Then he might make some progress.
 
#22
Krajicek must understand that Stan is 12 years old in his mind and has the attention span of a bored puppy. (If you follow him on snapchat, this becomes painfully clear. lol :oops:) Then he might make some progress.
:D

Well yes, a rather blunt guy like Krajicek might just be what the doc ordered for Stan.
Kraj for sure has many talents, but subtlety isn't one of those. ;)
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
#23
It would be one of the craziest things if he made it happen! :eek:;) There was an interview last year after RG, where someone was asking him if there's any big title he still wants, and he said "Wimbledon" (apparently in a hesitant manner, like he was afraid to make it explicit). He must really want it. It makes sense, even though he's never excelled on grass, since his childhood idol was Pete Sampras and he has also long idolized Fed.
He's mentioned earlier this year as well a couple of times. I like that mindset.

What have you predicted for Wimbledon @Hitman, or should I dare to ask? o_O
All I will say is that I am going to be watching Stan VERY closely in the build up to Wimbledon.I know what is on his mind...
 
#25
Interesting addition. I actually think one of Stan's biggest problems and it showed in his SF against Murray is his 1st serve percentage. 44% it was in first set and that is almost suicide against a returner and quality player like Murray. Once he got to 59% in 3rd set he was able to stay with him quite well and nabbed the set. FYI. His 1st serve percentages were insanely high for his standards against Ultron in last years FO final - high 60's. Hence yes, it was the match of his life, particularly in the serve department. He really needs to do something about that serve, perhaps Krajicek can help?
 
#26
:D

Well yes, a rather blunt guy like Krajicek might just be what the doc ordered for Stan.
Kraj for sure has many talents, but subtlety isn't one of those. ;)
Dr. Magnus might be more crafty than we realized at first! :cool: All that blunt force trauma should break through Stan's fog. haha

Magnus is still the main coach, so that's a relief. I never saw Stan as one of the players who would add-on a specialist coach the way some players do, but maybe that's just the way things are happening now in tennis. I don't know, but I have a feeling that Magnus might have suggested something like this, since (if I recall correctly) he was never a fast court guy himself.

All I will say is that I am going to be watching Stan VERY closely in the build up to Wimbledon.I know what is on his mind...
I would love for him to win a title on grass, even if it's not the big one. :) Although Stan does have a propensity to overshoot smaller titles and land on big ones... lol

Dang, I was having fun with the "natural Stan slam" meme but fully ready for it to crash in a few weeks. Now I have a tiny blip of hope! :oops:
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
#27
I would love for him to win a title on grass, even if it's not the big one. :) Although Stan does have a propensity to overshoot smaller titles and land on big ones... lol

Dang, I was having fun with the "natural Stan slam" meme but fully ready for it to crash in a few weeks. Now I have a tiny blip of hope! :oops:
And that is how big things always begin...from something very small.

 
#28
Magnus is still the main coach, so that's a relief. I never saw Stan as one of the players who would add-on a specialist coach the way some players do, but maybe that's just the way things are happening now in tennis. I don't know, but I have a feeling that Magnus might have suggested something like this, since (if I recall correctly) he was never a fast court guy himself.
Krajicek was pretty much a specialist on grass, with a huge serve - and Stan could do with a bit of improvement on this matter, as @TennisFollower already said.
Could well be that Magnus suggested him, indeed. Or maybe they got connected last year in Rotterdam? :)
 
#29
FYI on Stan's serve. He made some adjustment to it going into early 2013 - his toss is more in front of him as opposed to it being more going behind him and to the side (look at some older videos of his highlights). Even some commentators noted that and the change resulted in some extra speed/power to the serve getting it into the 210's km/h and he has even served over 220 km/h at times. The average percentage is pretty lousy though. For someone who will never have an excellent defensive game due to his stocky build and as he gets older, the more freebies/un returnables/easy put aways he can get off the serve more consistently the better.
 
#33
Well grass is his worst surface so I could see why he added Krajicek if he has dreams about Wimbledon. It will be extremely tough though. He will have a hard time with Federer, Djokovic, Murray or others on that particular surface.
 
#39
Stan has added Richard Krajicek to his team! :eek:o_O

Stanislas Wawrinka ‏@stanwawrinka 2h2 hours ago
As I'm always looking to improve on court, I would like to take this opportunity to announce as of immediately that I have added

Stanislas Wawrinka ‏@stanwawrinka 2h2 hours ago
Richard Krajicek to my existing coaching staff to help during the grass court season for the next 4 weeks. Magnus, Yannick and I are really

Stanislas Wawrinka ‏@stanwawrinka 2h2 hours ago
excited about the new addition to our team - adding a former Wimbledon Champion can only further my knowledge and understanding of the grass

Stanislas Wawrinka ‏@stanwawrinka 2h2 hours ago
It's a real privilege and honour to add such a champion to my corner.
Totally unexpected. As a fellow Dutchman I am pleasanltly surprised. Go Stan!
 
#40
Krajicek was interviewed about the new partnership, and what I can gather (courtesy of Google word salad) is that Magnus is the one who contacted him to be Stan's "grass coach," and that he's there to help Stan with little adjustments, including his serve and net play. His intention isn't to turn Stan into a S&V specialist but to adapt Stan's own game to grass. I also gathered that this collaboration may extend into the US Open and up to 22 weeks of the year, depending on how they hit it off. I think they're already together at Queens, in preparation for that tournament. Magnus is still Stan's main coach (he also travels with Stan only part time; the rest of the time, Stan is either alone or with his coach/friend/support group Yannick).

Krajicek also thanked Federer and Sampras for making ex-Wimbledon champions a rare breed. lol :D

If anyone speaks Dutch, please feel free to correct anything I've gotten wrong.
 
#41

Short interview at Queens. He discusses Krajicek, among other things. Confirms that it was Magnus' idea to partner up with him. Also, true to pattern, he's taking it little by little, just hoping to always improve his game. :)
 
#42
A few updates. :)

Pierre Paganini Interview
Roland Garros had an in-depth interview with his fitness coach, Paganini. It's in French and I've been trying to translate it, but I don't speak French, so it's slow-going. :oops: Here's the first bit, courtesy of Google Translate and other online services:
Pierre Paganini, when did you work for the first time with Stan Wawrinka and which was your first evaluation of his physical potential?
I met him for the first time in July 2002; he was Roger Federer's "sparring" (partner) during a training in the national center. Stan and Dimitri (Zavialoff, his trainer and trainer, today coach of Timea Bacsinszky; editor's note) came then more and more regularly to Bienne. And if memory serves me well, I would say that we began to work on a regular basis in 2003. Of his debut, I especially keep in memory a wild will. Stan was almost stubborn, so much did he volunteer. He showed impressive consistency in his will.

It is above all the relationship in work and effort that struck you?
You know, the relationship to the effort is not just the physical difficulty or pain. It also involves the fact of concentrating more, of agreeing to redo an exercise, to collect the idea of a difficulty coming. It is in these situations that we distinguish the true determination. Because with Stan, neither the volume nor the complexity nor the intensity is ever questioned as a matter of principle. He obviously lived some days harder than others. But Stan drew a line, and he moved forward. He consumed the exercises to the point that we could have believed that he would not ask any further questions. That was totally false. Stan asks many questions, but he prefers to work first and then question. It is this consistency which had struck me and which can be summarized as: Stan brought together all possible types of willingness.

A form of total denial…
A mixture between denial and total commitment. "I decided that I want to make it," and then there are more parasite (? follow-up?) questions. Paradoxically, the people who possess a strong personality--and this was already the case despite his timidity at the time--are often able to do and to listen to before judging. In contrast to those who want to know everything before even having achieved something.

Coaching Situation / Krajicek
Stan was interviewed before Wimbledon and spoke about Krajicek, clarifying again that it was Magnus' idea and that the goal is not just to hire a grass specialist for Wimbledon but to improve his game overall. The reason they chose the grass season is because of the length of time in one spot (his rented house). He doesn't think of the past few weeks with Krajicek as giving him a power boost for Wimbledon, but, as he puts it: "I think the last few years I started to play my best tennis on grass. I know I can play my best game. Hopefully I can do something big this year."


Olympics
Per Swiss Tennis: Stan and Fed will be playing doubles in Rio. As of now, Stan isn't playing mixed doubles.

Personal
Stan attended the pre-Wimbledon WTA Party with Donna Vekic. :eek: For a guy who is extremely private about his personal life, this was a huge step for him, so I think it's safe to say that they're officially together. They're also staying at the same house that he rents each year during the grass season. (The source for that is Donna's snapchat.)



He was at Donna's match today (vs Venus, who won). Lately, he's been attending her matches whenever possible.


I still feel a bit weird about their relationship, knowing that it likely dates back to when Stan was still married to (through apparently estranged from) his wife. Sometime in 2014, I think. But on the other hand, it's nice to see this side of him! The supportive boyfriend.

Football! :mad:
Stan was cheering on his home team during its recent match vs Poland (tweets 1, 2, 3), but it didn't end well. When they lost, all he posted was a single word. Sadly, he has since deleted that tweet. Fortunately, nothing dies on the internet.


He is good friends with Johan Djourou and sent him a nice tweet a little while later.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
#44
Dr. Magnus might be more crafty than we realized at first! :cool: All that blunt force trauma should break through Stan's fog. haha

Magnus is still the main coach, so that's a relief. I never saw Stan as one of the players who would add-on a specialist coach the way some players do, but maybe that's just the way things are happening now in tennis. I don't know, but I have a feeling that Magnus might have suggested something like this, since (if I recall correctly) he was never a fast court guy himself.


I would love for him to win a title on grass, even if it's not the big one. :) Although Stan does have a propensity to overshoot smaller titles and land on big ones... lol

Dang, I was having fun with the "natural Stan slam" meme but fully ready for it to crash in a few weeks. Now I have a tiny blip of hope! :oops:
Nah. Kraji full time is the ticket and jettison Norman.;) Its Thiem to do this.:p
 
#46
Almost forgot: It was kind of cool to see that Stan practiced with Zverev today. (source)


He's also practiced with Novak since arriving at Wimbledon. They seem to try to practice together at every tournament. Good friends. :)
I'd say the Wawa-Nole friendship has grown and blossomed with their rivalry in slams. Since this is Wawa news, there was this nice interview where he talked about his friendship, tennis and also Novak.

CONFIDENT

‘Novak: I can’t wait to play him again’

‘What does it give me, concretely, to be introduced as the “anti-Djoko” solution? Pleasure, obviously. But, having beaten him twice in Slams and pushed him to the limit at other times, it especially gives me confidence. In fact, I completely shook up Novak at Melbourne in 2013 (12-10 loss in the fifth set), our Slam matches have always been very close. USO semi in 2013 lost in five sets, quarter at the AO 2014 win in five, semi in Melbourne in 2015 lost in five, and finally my Roland win (4-.6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4) of course …

‘But as I often say, you still have to play him, and considering our rankings, it can only happen at the end of big tournaments. Most of the time, he’s there and I’m not .. It’s too bad, because I love playing him. Because playing the best is what I love the most. They’re the ones who give you the most problems. Playing Roger (Federer) in the semis of the last US Open ? I loved it. I lost in three, but I loved it. Novak, obviously, I can’t wait to play him again. My regret last year was not winning my QF at Wimbledon (lost to Richard Gasquet) to meet him in the semis, because then I’d have played him in every Slam.’

OPTIMIST

‘Some sand can get into the machinery’

‘I’m not the only one who has the weapons to bother Novak in a Slam. Roger has everything necessary. Was it because of mental problems or playing level recently? Only he knows, because he’s the one who lived through the matches. He he didn’t miss by much, he had so many chances. (loss in five sets, Wimbledon final 2014, then in four, Wimbledon final 2015, US Open 2015 and the semis at the last Australian Open). How long will Novak’s grip last? One thing that shouldn’t be forgotten: Roger dominated in the same way for a long period. And during the years he was largely on top of everyone (between 2004 and 2007, especially) we heard people say: “But there’s no one who will beat Federer in the next five years”. Except that didn’t happen. And Nadal, the year he imposed himself (2010), we heard them say: “OK, he’s going to win three slams a year for the next four years.” But the year after, his level dropped.

‘I think some sand can get into the Djokovic machine. When Novak is 100% and everything is working, like right now, no one can take him. What he produces is incredible. And that’s not going to change from one day to another. Just look at what happened after his Roland loss last year, he was huge (only three losses for the rest of the season) …

‘But getting back to the question: if, in 2016, finally, he only wins two slams, will we still say he’s dominating or it’s changed compared to last year? A little grain of sand, two losses in the semis at Slams and that would change his year, which would still be exceptional and he’d still be world number one. I think the change will mostly come from Novak himself. Just like Federer at the time: we didn’t see how he could lose, and the answer came from himself.

ALTRUIST

‘If I can help them, I try’

‘It’s true that I played a role in Mikael Tilstrom’s (Swedish coach) and Gaël Monfils’ association. Gaël he’s a friend, and we talked about it in August of last year. I saw that he was uncertain (about whom to work with), so I tried to add some depth to things. I asked him to name me some coaches he’d like, and he mentioned Tillström, saying he’d asked him two years ago, but Mikael had said no. And Gaël didn’t want to ask again, thinking he still didn’t want to. That’s when I acted a bit as an intermediary. I tried to convince Gaël to try again, and, at the same time, I tested the waters with Magnus (Norman, who works with Tillström at the Swedish Good to Great academy). I went back to Gaël and told him the answer might be different this time. He was trying to find himself, he didn’t know in which direction to go but he wanted to. I hope it works out.

‘Friends? If I can help them, I try. I don’t think about competition. In Chennai, at the start of the season I talked a lot with Benoit (Paire), and gave him my thoughts on a lot of things.And then Yannick (Fattebert, a friend his own age from Valais, Switzerland who follows him on the tour for a few weeks every year as a hitting partner) who was there told me: “It’s incredibly cool what you’re doing, because he’s an adversary.” Maybe, but Benoit is a friend. OK, he’s a potential adversary, but first of all, so much the better if he progresses and, secondly, how many times will we face each other during our careers? If Gaël improves because of Tillström and beats me, it won’t change my life, it can just change my week [smiles].

NO LIMITS

‘I hope to be at a very high level at 35’

‘I don’t look ahead but my goal is to play for a long time. I hope to be at a very high level at thirty-five. But is this very high level 15th in the world, and that would be good because I’m not Federer? Or is it top 10? I know how fast things can change. So I don’t set goals, but I don’t set any limits either. And that’s why I won the Australian Open in 2014 and Roland in 2015. I never tell myself: “I’d like to win this Slam” or “I’d like to win this Masters 1000”. That’s not me and, in any case, I’m not strong enough to do it. My goal is to be in top form each time I go on court. That’s my way of managing things so sometimes, like last year at Roland, something big happens. I’m not as strong as the best. They’ve been there for ten years, me, I’m new. I feel strong enough to beat everyone, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to do it.

‘With Magnus (Norman, his coach), we haven’t set any time limits. It’s important that we both want to see each other, to train and to look a bit further ahead. I think we’ll both know immediately when that’s no longer the case.’
 
#48
I'd say the Wawa-Nole friendship has grown and blossomed with their rivalry in slams. Since this is Wawa news, there was this nice interview where he talked about his friendship, tennis and also Novak.
That's a great interview, thanks! :) Haha, that "Optimist" section could almost be a response to the debates that happen around here all the time. I love how he talks about his friends in tennis; I've noticed that a lot in his demeanor when he's lost a match to a good friend--he doesn't seem bitter. Like when Mahut won his first title at s-Hertogenbosch, beating Stan, Stan looked as happy as if he'd won the title. I'm glad he can turn it on for himself in some of the big moments, but I also like that gentler side of him. :)

About Novak, they really have gotten to be great friends, and I think you're right--it must be from these close slam matches. They seemed fairly cool at the net back in 2011

and a bit warmer in 2012

but nothing like their hug after the AO 2013. I think that match took everything to another level. That's when they started playing doubles together, I believe (in 2013 and 2014).

My regret last year was not winning my QF at Wimbledon (lost to Richard Gasquet) to meet him in the semis, because then I’d have played him in every Slam.’
I hope they can complete their Career Grand Slam someday. :) Need a 5-setter at RG and a 5-setter at Wimbledon to feel right. Plus a 5-set final at AO where it all began, finishing 19-17 or something, but that's all wishing for the moon, I know.
 
#50
That's a great interview, thanks! :) Haha, that "Optimist" section could almost be a response to the debates that happen around here all the time. I love how he talks about his friends in tennis; I've noticed that a lot in his demeanor when he's lost a match to a good friend--he doesn't seem bitter. Like when Mahut won his first title at s-Hertogenbosch, beating Stan, Stan looked as happy as if he'd won the title. I'm glad he can turn it on for himself in some of the big moments, but I also like that gentler side of him. :)

I hope they can complete their Career Grand Slam someday. :) Need a 5-setter at RG and a 5-setter at Wimbledon to feel right. Plus a 5-set final at AO where it all began, finishing 19-17 or something, but that's all wishing for the moon, I know.
Stan and his matches have been the most entertaining and nail-biting for me over the past 3 years now.

And Stan - Novak only need 2 more matches to get into the top 20 of rivalries by matches played. Currently at 23 matches played, 25 gets them into T-16! 26 into T-13... Can't believe they've played this much.

It's infact the most played rivalry for Wawrinka (even more than he's played Fed)... whereas it is Novak's 5th.
 
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