In the aftermath of the official come back to clay-courts of the Challenger from Marbella, where he was defeat in the first round against Ymer, Stan Wawrinka continued his path towards full recovery by appearing on the draw of the Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo as a wild card.
Unfortunately for him, his experience in the Monte Carlo Country Club also ended at his first round match, but this time he moved up a level. To win, in fact, his opponent Alexander Bublik had to recover a set of disadvantage, 6-3, the next two sets ended 5-7 2-6 in favor of the Kazakh.
Clearly, what mattered for the Swiss was to get back to breathing the air of the matches that matter more than the result, as he himself told the media before his match against Bublik: "It's been a long and complicated year, more than a year.
I thought I was only going to be out for a few weeks, but in the end it was a year where I had a lot of doubts. I really needed to have the willpower to come back, to have the strength to go through rehab. Now I am very happy to be here.
Of course I'm far from being as fit as I would like to be. I need to work a lot on a physical and tennis level. But this happens with tournaments, playing games. I'm happy to be at this level now compared to when I started playing again."
What future for Stan Wawrinka?
After a long hiatus, the results take a back seat for an athlete. And, as in the case of Stan Wawrinka, the important thing was and is to play as many games as possible. Speaking to the media before his debut in Monte Carlo, the Lausanne champion had explained the whole process that led him from rehabilitation to returning to the court, passing through the thought of retiring from tennis.
Stan explained: "Of course there were some questions on my mind. I was afraid that things would not go the way I wanted. I knew I needed to go to rehab to get back to a normal life, so I had to deal with it anyway. In my mind, I knew that one way or another I would be back.
Maybe to say goodbye. Being sick was an option, but at the moment things are fine. I can train a lot, which is good. I gave myself deadlines to know how long it would take to feel really good. I thought that if I am not able to be at the level I want for the summer, I will have to accept it, but I don't know what I will do next.
Sometimes players continue to play even if they don't make it through the first or second round. I have been thinking about it [the retreat] for many years. We are aware of our age, of the years we have had. We know the discipline you need to stay at the highest level.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is not the first: Tomas Berdych and Marcos Baghdatis retired before him. We know we are at the end of our career. Of course, we all need to know how far we want to go."