Stanislas Wawrinka capped an improbable Australian Open by winning his first Grand Slam defeating world No. 1 and heavy favorite Rafael Nadal
6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
“For me [the Australian Open] is the best Grand Slam ever,” said Wawrinka. “Last year I had a crazy match, lost it and was crying a lot after the match. In one year a lot happened. Right now I still don’t know if I’m dreaming or not, but we’ll see tomorrow morning.
“It’s quite crazy what’s happening right now. I never expected to win a Grand Slam. I never dreamed about that because for me, I was not good enough to beat those guy.”
Nadal, who had never lost a match (12-0) or a set to Wawrinka (26-0), fell down an early break in the first set as Wawrinka powered through behind an assortment of winners from both the backhand and forehand sides.
The Swiss kept the momentum in the second breaking Nadal in his first service game to take a 2-0 lead. But more importantly in that game Nadal injured his back, which he says he first hurt during the warm-up.
“The back, since the beginning I felt a little bit, from the warmup,” Nadal said. “It was a little bit worst in the first set. End of the first set, I start to feel worst. Then at the beginning of the second was the key moment that I felt, during a serve in a bad movement, is very stiff, very bad.
“Is the moment to congratulate Stan. He’s playing unbelievable. He really deserve to win that title. I very happy for him. He’s a great, great guy. He’s a good friend of mine. I am really happy for him.”
Down 2-1, Nadal left the court to have treatment for about seven minutes, only to return to a rare cascade of boos from the Melbourne Australia Day crowd.
Nadal continued to struggle with the injury. With tears in his eyes he forged on, receiving further treatment.
With Nadal’s serve speed and movement in decline, Wawrinka seized the second set, but then with the finish line in sight, the first time Grand Slam finalist began to feel the weight of the moment.
Nadal’s back cream and pain killers began to make a difference and the 13-time Grand Slam champion improved his play against the fast-tightening Wawrinka. But it wasn’t enough.
Wawrinka finally got out of his funk and after three consecutive breaks he took the match in the fourth.
“I’m really sorry for Rafa, I hope his back will be fine,” said Wawrinka. “He’s a great guy, a good friend and an amazing champion. It’s always a pleasure to play him. Well done on the comeback to No. 1.”
The 28-year-old good friend of Federer becomes the first player to beat both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the same Grand Slam. And also he’s the first player to beat the top two ranked men at a major since Sergi Bruguera at the 1993 French Open.
“I’m very happy for Stan, we have a great relationship,” said Nadal in the presentation. “It was bad luck what happened to me today, but he really deserved it.
“It’s been an emotional two weeks. I’ve very sorry it finished this way. I tried very hard. Last year it was a very tough moment when I didn’t have the chance to play here. This year was one of the most emotional tournaments of my career.”
The win moves Wawrinka from 8 to No. 3 in the world in the next rankings on Monday.
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better.” — Wawrinka’s tattoo.
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