Roger Federer claimed the first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon 2003 and it has been all about him, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at Majors in the next 15 years, with only seven players who have managed to steal the biggest trophies from their hands.
Andy Murray did that three times, standing above all the other rivals and becoming world no. 1 in 2016. There is another player capable of beating the greatest rivals on the biggest stages, raising his game to unbelievable heights and claiming three different Grand Slam between 2014-2016.
Of course, his name is Stan Wawrinka who entered history books in those years, achieving what other competitors before him couldn't and beating all three main rivals to prove his class and claim three different Major crowns.
Heading to the Australian Open 2014, Stan had only five small ATP titles on his tally before beating Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal for his first Grand Slam crown, toppling Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic a year later in Paris to conquer Roland Garros as well.
In 2016, Stan became the US Open champion after a 6-7, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 win over Novak Djokovic in three hours and 55 minutes on September 11, defeating the Serb at Majors for the third time after being a set down, one of the hardest tasks in the modern tennis.
At that moment, Stan was only the fifth player in the Open era with multiple Grand Slam titles after turning 30 (Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Jimmy Connors and Andre Agassi) and also the oldest Grand Slam champion (31) since Andre Agassi at the Australian Open 2003 and the oldest in New York since Ken Rosewall in 1970.
Prior to Australian Open 2014, Stan had no wins against Novak since 2006 and was now a proud owner of three victories over Novak at Major in the last three seasons, repelling 14 out of 17 break chances and winning just one point more than the Serb who experienced his fifth US Open final loss.
The one would have been done and dusted after dropping the opening set against Novak at Slams but Stan had all the confidence on his side of the net, surviving a match point against Daniel Evans in the third round and winning more tough matches to reach the final where he played his usual game with controlled aggression to overpower a great rival and lift his third Major crown.
The Swiss had more winners both from serve, forehand and backhand, creating ten break chances and converting six to prevail in four sets, having the upper hand in the shortest and the most extended rallies to cross the finish line first.
Novak drew first blood in the second game when Stan netted a backhand, holding at love with a service winner to move 3-0 up after just nine minutes and looking good to defend the title won 12 months ago when he beat another Swiss.
Stan was yet to find the rhythm, saving a break point at 1-4 and still suffering on the return, allowing Novak to move 5-2 up with another comfortable hold. Wawrinka repelled two set points in the next game to stay in the set and out of sudden he was back in contention, pulling a break back in game nine after a double fault from Novak.
Three easy holds delivered a tie break that Djokovic claimed 7-1 after a service winner, moving in front after 58 minutes. The Serb was 40-15 up in the fourth game of the second set before losing four points in a row to get broken, with Stan moving 3-1 in front after a magical backhand down the line winner.
The Swiss had to save three break chances in the next game and fired four winners to bring the game home and increase his advantage to 4-1. Novak did break back in game seven but there was no time for the tie break this time around as he sprayed a forehand error to lose serve again in game ten and hand the set to his rival who had the momentum on his side now.
Wawrinka erased three chances for a break at the beginning of the third set, making a hold with an ace and breaking Novak in the next game for a 2-0 lead. Djokovic wasted another opportunity on the return in game three when he netted a backhand, converting the next one at 1-3 after a forehand error from the Swiss to get back on the positive side of the scoreboard.
Wawrinka held after multiple deuces in game nine and grabbed the pivotal break at 6-5 when Novak's forehand landed long, taking two sets to one lead in just over three hours of outstanding battle. The Swiss was in a much better position now, breaking in the second game of the fourth set to move 3-0 in front with a hold at love a few minutes later.
Djokovic survived tough game four to avoid a disaster before receiving a medical timeout on his right toe after that game. Stan saved a break point with a volley winner in game five and another one with an unreturned serve before Novak sent a clear forehand long on his third break chance that could have kept him in the match.
Serving for the title at 5-3, Wawrinka held after a deuce for his maiden US Open crown and the third Grand Slam title overall, achieving something that must have been unthinkable for him before January 2014 and proving his status of a big player on big occasions once again.