Stan Wawrinka fell just short of another Australian Open final. The reigning US Open champion had his 12-match Grand Slam win streak snapped by countryman Roger Federer 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3 in just over three hours.
Warwinka was blown out the first two sets but fought back to level things. However, couldn’t convert and early break point in the fifth and then was subsequently broken thanks to a double fault.
Wawrinka talked about the match after.
Q. Did you feel an extra pressure at 3-2 in the fifth set? Your level dropped dramatically.
STAN WAWRINKA: No, I didn’t feel more pressure. I think I missed the breakpoint on that game. I was a little bit surprised. I didn’t went back quickly enough when he came a little bit higher with his backhand. I was expecting him to be really aggressive on that shot and he completely changed.
I was a little bit slow to go back, and I completely missed my backhand because I was too high on my legs. Then he play well.
Yeah, the game was really quick. New balls. He made two good returns to be 15-30. Then he put me under pressure. Made a bad choice, a double-fault, and you’re down a break in the fifth.
Q. That’s your best performance against him on a hard court. You must be pleased with the progress, at least.
STAN WAWRINKA: Great.
Q. Few extra sets.
STAN WAWRINKA: I don’t know what to say. I mean, I cannot just be happy to win two sets against Roger. I just lost a five-set match in the semifinal of Australian Open.
I never think about the past or what I did before. I’m proud of myself, of the fight I give tonight and all the tournament. I think there is a lot of positive from this tournament, from Brisbane, from the month already.
For sure I’m really sad and disappointed with a loss like that because to be that close to have won a semifinal, it can be only sad.
But at the end I know I tried everything on the court. I came from two sets down. I change completely the momentum. I start to be extra aggressive because I had to change few things also physically. So I change my game with that.
At the end I had a great battle against Roger. He’s great fighter. He’s always been amazing in Grand Slam, in five-set match. I’m for sure sad to lose a match like that.
But, yeah, I know there is a lot of positive.
Q. Can you tell us now how much of a problem the knee has been, not just tonight but throughout the tournament.
STAN WAWRINKA: It’s been for sure an issue since the beginning of the tournament. That’s for sure. Then again, it’s not an excuse at all.
I always try to fight on the court, to find solution. I made semifinal. I had the chance to win tonight. I had some opportunity in the fifth set.
I go on the court with what I have of the day. I give everything. What exactly I have, I have to check. Really I have to do some bigger test when I get home.
Q. You said you had the momentum after the fourth set. The beginning of the fifth was obviously the key.
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, I had some opportunity. I had a breakpoint, I think, at 1-1. I think I played the right shot. I did a good return on his backhand. I had a high ball. I took my forehand, I really went completely full on his backhand. He came with a good shot. So nothing to change.
I think also he served quite good in the fifth. When he needed, he had some easier game sometimes. I did a really bad game to get broken.
But for sure I felt that I could have changed the result at the beginning of the fifth. Again, you’re in fifth set. You’re playing Roger Federer in semifinal of Australian Open. You know that can go both sides.
Q. You obviously have known Roger for a long time. He has a side that’s graceful and beautiful. But also there’s that side where he’s a battler, a fighter. Talk about those two sides of Roger.
STAN WAWRINKA: He’s amazing player to watch and to see on the court. He’s flying on the court. He’s playing amazing tennis. He’s the best player ever. He can do anything he wants on the court.
Q. It seemed like in the beginning you both were a bit tight. Was it the occasion or that you both know each other so well? What was it?
STAN WAWRINKA: Beginning of the match, semifinal. You always look a little bit more what’s happening on the court, what he’s doing, what I should do. Especially with those condition, I think we’re looking at each other. Was quite tense. So moving maybe a little bit less free.
In general, I think the level was really high in the first set already. I think we had some good tennis. He was playing good.
Q. When someone plays Federer, he always has the crowd against him. It’s difficult, but you know it. Do you think these days, because it’s a great story that Nadal and Federer could play the final, it was even more than usual?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, I think the fact that he was out for six months also, fans and people in general missed him on the tour. So the fact that he come back, that he’s playing, for sure. Everyone wants even more to see him play, to see him win.
After six months was the first time that he was completely out of the tennis for that long. For sure, I think it was even stronger.
Q. Did his medical timeout, the timing of it, stop your momentum a little bit?
STAN WAWRINKA: No, I don’t think so. Anyway it’s a set break, so it’s a longer break. I took one when I need it. We both know each other. We’re not the player who took extra medical timeout. If we take it, it’s because we need it.
I took it when I need it; he took it when he need it. I went to the toilet in the same time. If you look in the end, the fifth set, I had some opportunity at the beginning. I don’t think it didn’t affect anything on the score.
Q. Do you have an impression that Federer gets focused more as you go deeper into the game and sets?
STAN WAWRINKA: No, I don’t think his focus change by the time of the play. I think when you play a five-set match, when you play those match like that, you need to adapt.
You focus all the match, but you need to adapt a little bit the way you playing because you can get tired, you have momentum changing, you have the other player being more aggressive. You change a little bit the way you playing.
But I think the focus, you still keep the focus all the match. For sure he’s amazing player, so he knows how to put his level at the top of what he can do at that moment.
Q. These matches are sometimes decided by one point, one ball. Do you think you’ll think a lot in the next days about that backhand on the breakpoint, or you will try to forget forever?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think I have enough experience and enough big match that I know it can turn on few points.
But this ball, I know even if I got the break at that moment, you don’t know what is happen after. Maybe I can completely choke. Maybe he can break back. I know in that match, a few points can change the match. Also was few moments in the match that could change. The breakpoint I have 5-5 in the first set. The game I did to get broken in the second, went completely too fast. I think the first breakpoint at 1-1 was really important.
But at the end of the day, as long as it’s not a match point, you don’t know what can happen after.
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