Wawrinka de­serves to be in ‘big five’, Djokovic says

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

WORLD num­ber one No­vak Djokovic says tennis now has a “big five” fol­low­ing Stan Wawrinka’s US Open tri­umph.

Wawrinka beat Djokovic in four sets on Sun­day to win his third Grand Slam.

“He plays best in the big matches and def­i­nitely de­serves to be men­tioned in the mix of top play­ers,” said Djokovic.

But world num­ber three Wawrinka, who said he was cry­ing with nerves be­fore the fi­nal, in­sisted he was “re­ally far” from the “big four” of Djokovic, Andy Mur­ray, Roger Fed­erer and Rafael Nadal.

That il­lus­tri­ous quar­tet have won 42 of the past 47 Grand Slams, though Wawrinka now has the same num­ber of ma­jor ti­tles as Olympic cham­pion Mur­ray.

In head-to-head matches against them, Wawrinka trails Djokovic 19-5, against Mur­ray he is 9-7 down, Fed­erer leads 18-3 while Nadal is 15-3.

Wawrinka also only has one Masters 1000 ti­tle com­pared with Mur­ray’s 12.

“Just look at the tour­na­ments they have won, how many years they’ve been there,” said Wawrinka, who has now won his past 11 fi­nals.

“If you look, yes, I have three Grand Slams. How many Masters 1000 has Mur­ray? They have been there 10 years.

“They have not only been win­ning, but be­ing in semi-fi­nals, fi­nal ev­ery time. That’s why I’m not there.”

At 31, Wawrinka is the old­est male US Open cham­pion since 35-year-old Ken Rose­wall in 1970 and only the fifth man in the Open era to win more than one ma­jor tour­na­ment af­ter turn­ing 30, fol­low­ing Rose­wall, Rod Laver, An­dre Agassi and Jimmy Con­nors.

He now needs the Wim­ble­don ti­tle to com­plete a clean sweep of the Grand Slams.

In reach­ing the US Open fi­nal, Wawrinka spent al­most nine hours longer on court than Djokovic, a ben­e­fi­ciary of three re­tire­ments dur­ing the event in New York.

“He’s a very com­plete player. If he feels right he doesn’t miss much and he makes a lot of win­ners so it’s hard to play him,” said Djokovic, who also lost to Wawrinka in the 2015 French Open fi­nal.

Wawrinka’s con­fi­dent per­for­mance was at odds with his pre-match nerves, when he broke down in tears while speak­ing to his coach Mag­nus Nor­man.

“Be­fore the fi­nal I was re­ally ner­vous like never be­fore. I was shak­ing in the locker-room,” said the Swiss, who was match point down against Bri­tain’s Dan Evans in the third round.

“When we start talk­ing five min­utes be­fore the match, last few things with Mag­nus, I start to cry,” he said. “I was com­pletely shak­ing.

“But the only thing I was con­vinced with my­self was that my game was there.

“Phys­i­cally I was there. My game was there. Just put the fight on the court and you will have a chance to win”. — BBC.

Stan Wawrinka

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