The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

FRESH from his US Open win, Stan Wawrinka con­sol­i­dated his third-place seed in the lat­est ATP rank­ings re­leased yes­ter­day, clos­ing the gap on Andy Mur­ray, who holds on to sec­ond. Wawrinka shocked world num­ber one No­vak Djokovic in the US Open fi­nal on Septem­ber 11, shak­ing off a first set loss to win 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.

De­spite his de­feat, Djokovic still dom­i­nates the rank­ings ahead of Mur­ray, with Wawrinka next and Rafael Nadal mov­ing up from fifth to fourth place af­ter los­ing in the fourth round to French­man Lu­cas Pouille.

Kei Nishikori of Ja­pan dumped Mur­ray out of the tour­na­ment at the quar­ter-fi­nal stage and leaps two places in the rank­ings to fifth while Roger Fed­erer, who missed the Open, slides down three places to sev­enth.

Wawrinka, de­scribed by Djokovic as a player who rises to the big oc­ca­sion like no other, ad­mit­ted he was a mass of nerves be­fore the cham­pi­onship match.

“I was shak­ing in the locker room,” Wawrinka said, adding that dur­ing last-minute dis­cus­sions with coach Mag­nus Nor­man, “I start to cry”.

“I was com­pletely shak­ing,” said Wawrinka, al­though he added that through it all he re­mained con­vinced that he had the game to win.

That’s ex­actly what Wawrinka did af­ter shak­ing off the loss of the first set to deny Djokovic, a 12-time Grand Slam cham­pion, a sec­ond straight US Open ti­tle. It was also the third time the Swiss Wawrinka beat a reign­ing num­ber one in a ma­jor fi­nal.

Wawrinka had al­ready been pushed to the limit in reach­ing the fi­nal, hav­ing spent nearly 18 hours on the court over the tour­na­ment.

He saved a match point in a five-set thriller over un­her­alded Bri­ton Dan Evans in the third round, be­fore hav­ing to rally against for­mer US Open fi­nal­ist Kei Nishikori in the semi-fi­nals, and es­caped resur­gent for­mer cham­pion Juan Mar­tin del Potro in a quar­ter­fi­nal four-set­ter.

“I think this Grand Slam was the most painful, phys­i­cally and men­tally, that I ever played,” Wawrinka said. “I was feel­ing tired al­ready at the be­gin­ning of the match. I was feel­ing the cramp com­ing in the third set.”

Feel­ing pain in the fourth, Wawrinka said he was de­ter­mined “not to show any­thing” but just to “give ev­ery­thing and keep fight­ing and go try to win it”.

Wawrinka, who had handed Djokovic two of his big­gest Grand Slam dis­ap­point­ments, in­clud­ing in the French Open fi­nal last year, said he ex­pected his marathon tour­na­ment to be capped by an en­durance test against the Serb.

“There is no se­cret,” Wawrinka said. “If you want to beat the num­ber one player in the world you have to give ev­ery­thing.”

Wawrinka said things weren’t so dif­fi­cult in 2014, when he won his first Grand Slam ti­tle at the Aus­tralian Open, down­ing Djokovic en route to a meet­ing with then-num­ber one Rafael Nadal in the fi­nal.

Wawrinka said his late ca­reer suc­cess is not the prod­uct of any grand de­sign, but just the cul­mi­na­tion of years of ded­i­ca­tion.

“First I wanted to be a pro­fes­sional ten­nis player,” he said. “That means liv­ing with your pas­sion, with your sport. Then [my goal] was to be top 100, then top 50.”

“I never start any­thing [say­ing] I want to be num­ber one, I want to win a Grand Slam. For me, it’s al­ways step by step.

“The only thing I want to do is push the limit.” –

Photo: AFP

Stan Wawrinka of Switzer­land cel­e­brates his vic­tory over No­vak Djokovic in the men’s sin­gles fi­nal of the 2016 US Open on Septem­ber 11.

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