Stan Wawrinka made an early exit at the Diriyah Tennis Cup in Saudi Arabia but he should be pleased with 2019 in general, passing 50 rivals on the ATP ranking list and wrapping it up in the top-20 for the eighth time in the last nine years.
Ranked outside the top-250 in June last year, Wawrinka had to endure a lot of obstacles and overcome that knee injury that required surgeries and sidelined him from the court. Speaking about the best players in the world ahead of the clash with Gael Monfils at the Diriyah Tennis Cup, Stan mentioned Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as the top favorites for the year-end no.
1 spot in 2020, giving the Serb the edge over the Spaniard in that race. Praising Novak, Stan is proud of the fact they are good friends and had trained many times before, sharing the court in Major finals and some of the most incredible encounters of the previous decade.
Stan also said that Rafa, Novak and Roger are still at the top of their game at Majors, ahead of Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem who should challenge them in the years to come. Unlike Nadal and Djokovic, Wawrinka and Federer had opted to skip the ATP Cup, with Stan opening the new season in Doha and Roger who will wait until the Australian Open before embracing the first official matches in 2020.
"It is hard to pick who would finish at the top at the end of 2020, but if I have to choose, I pick Novak Djokovic over Rafael Nadal. Novak, Rafa and Roger should fight for the most significant titles again, it is tough to beat them at Majors.
Novak is the champion and an incredible person. We have known each other for years and we are good friends. We played against each other many times and he is a lovely person on and off the court. Novak has won many great tournaments, it is unbelievable when you check everything he has achieved so far.
Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem are there to challenge the "Big 3," one spectacular season is behind us and we should get similar or even a better one in 2020."