Alexei Popyrin shows major respect for Stan Wawrinka after Umag final win

Popyrin defeated Wawrinka to win his second ATP title in Umag.

by Dzevad Mesic
Alexei Popyrin shows major respect for Stan Wawrinka after Umag final win

Alexei Popyrin, 23, showed major respect for Stan Wawrinka after beating the three-time Grand Slam champion in the Umag final. On Sunday, Popyrin lifted his second ATP title after defeating Wawrinka 6-7 (5) 6-3 6-4 in the Umag final.

When Popyrin was a kid and hoping to one day become a pro tennis player, he was watching Wawrinka competing and winning on the biggest stage. This past weekend, Popyrin got a chance to meet that same Wawrinka in an ATP final and also beat the Swiss.

“It’s an unbelievable honor to play somebody like Stan in a final. I grew up watching him, Roger, Rafa, Novak play. To play him in a final and beat him in a final, words can’t describe how happy I am. It’s an unbelievable feeling," Popyrin said after the match.

Popyrin was in a tough spot against Wawrinka

Early in the third set of the Umag final, Popyrin started dealing with cramps. In those moments, Popyrin felt he was done. But Popyrin told himself surrendering was not an option and he impressively managed to win the match.

"All tournament I’ve been fighting battles that I don’t know how I won. This one tops it all. My quad was done at 2-1. I felt it cramp, I felt it strain. I think it’s pulled, but I managed to dig deep. I don’t know how I won it, honestly.

I honestly don’t know. I even told the physio when he came out. He said, ‘If you go any more then it will be tough’. I said, ‘There’s no point in quitting now, I’m here in the final. If I lose, I lose.

If I retire, I lose anyway. So I have a better chance of winning if I stay in’, so that’s what I decided to do," Popyrin said. Following his Umag victory, Popyrin improved to a career-high ranking of No 57 in the world.

Alexei Popyrin Stan Wawrinka