Oct/20

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Can Wawrinka Win Another Major Title?

It happens to every professional sportsperson – the gradual winding down of their careers and the realisation that perhaps their best days are behind them. For Stan Wawrinka, those best days came later than for most. The Swiss player has been something of late bloomer, reaching his career high ranking (3) at the age of 29, with most of his Grand Slam success coming when in his 30s.

Wawrinka’s resume paints the picture of a successful, well-rounded career. The 35-year-old has won three Grand Slam titles, emerging as top dog at the 2014 Australian Open, the 2015 French Open and the 2016 US Open. The only major title missing from his CV is Wimbledon, but the Swiss has only advanced as far as the quarter-finals on two occasions.

Now ranked 17th, and without an appearance in a Grand Slam semi-final since he lost the 2017 French Open final to Rafael Nadal, Wawrinka looks to be entering the autumn of his impressive career. At the grand old age of 35, the question is whether or not Wawrinka has it in him to win another Grand Slam title.

The 2020 French Open offered a great chance for him to flex his muscles anew. After all, the absence of his Swiss compatriot Roger Federer, and the decline of Andy Murray due to injury struggles, meant that perhaps there was a chance for Wawrinka to stake a claim for that fourth major title. He was an outside contender in the tennis French Open betting, but disappointingly bowed out in the third round after losing a five-set thriller to French wildcard Hugo Gaston.

And now the soul-searching must begin, and Wawrinka must face up to the fact that he is not getting any younger, and if he is to enjoy further success at the top level of the sport, he’ll need to find some inspiration from somewhere. Despite his early exit, there are positives to be drawn from Wawrinka’s Roland Garros performances. He was exemplary in his first-round match against Andy Murray, navigating a potential banana skin with considerable aplomb and flashes of dominance.

And matches like that are the hopes that the Swiss must hold onto as he self-evaluates and gears himself up for the 2021 Grand Slam campaign. Because at his best, Wawrinka is a singularly outstanding player – a beautiful blend of power and grace – whose game resembles more an art than a sport when he is in full flow.

It took a long time for us to see the best of him, and now it appears as though Wawrinka’s peak years are behind him, but that is no cause to throw in the towel just yet. Indeed, he need only look at Federer as an example of what can be achieved late into his 30s, and who’s to say there won’t be one more golden chance for Wawrinka to win a fourth Grand Slam title, perhaps even that elusive Wimbledon crown which would complete his set.

The new year will bring four more opportunities to achieve that feat, and while time is against Wawrinka, there is no reason to suggest he can’t rediscover his best form for one two-week stretch to really challenge for one of the big four tournaments.

Whatever happens, he has enjoyed a stellar career, made all the more impressive by the fact he has been competing against what most would agree top be the greatest three players to ever play the game. Despite that significant obstacle, Wawrinka has still carved his own little section of tennis history, and for that he deserves to go down as a great, whether or not he earns that fourth major title.

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3 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 8, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Stanimal may have one last surge of greatness left in his right arm but he will need some luck and health breaks. Losing the way he did to Gaston by bagel in the fifth set showed the rest of the ATP players a sign of vulnerability. It’s possible that loss to Gaston last week was the end of Stan as a major threat.

  • Todd Robinson · October 9, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    No way…and neither will he ever appear again in a slam SF. Suddenly Tsit, Med, and AZ now have multiple slam SF appearances…Djok remains 2 yrs younger and still quite formidable, Nadal 1 year younger and still studly, while Waw will turn 36 before either of their birthday’s in 2021.

    Then you have guys like Ruby, Berrettini, De Minaur, and Shapo trying to make slam QFs, SFs, get in Top 10. If he makes another slam QF, that’d be impressive & a bit of a surprise…as would making Top 10 again.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 10, 2020 at 5:25 am

    Todd you are probably right. Stan getting that fifth set bagel from unknown Gaston is some ominous writing on the wall. Murray delpo stan may all quit in 2021 and join berdych. While FLO Dr Ivo and Lorenzi keep on truckin.

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