Stan Wawrinka is an aberration, a lone man on tour, not just because he can beat the Big Four at Majors, but also for playing his best tennis at the age of 29. His change in the last few years was drastic, no wonder he is one of the most-feared man in the circuit.
Stan has no fear. He is not intimidated by the fact that he will have to face none other than Roger Federer, a five-time champion, in the semi-final. Because he knows that Federer as well is vulnerable to fear. “Now we both are nervous when we enter the court.
Before it was only me. I was nervous because I knew I wasn"t at his level, for sure.” But the tables have turned to Stan’s favour. At Roland Garros, he crushed Federer’s hopes in straight sets (6-4 6-3 7-6). Federer has felt the heat of Stan’s racket, and he will be wary ahead of today’s semi-final, for the latter has evolved much in the last two years.
In Stan’s words, “I think we can see that he was also nervous every time we play each other the past few years. That"s a big difference.” Federer himself is aware of his friend’s metamorphosis. The Swiss maestro is of the opinion that it has got something to do with Stan’s confidence.
“I always thought he was a better player than he actually was, but somehow something was holding him back maybe. I think only once when he really started to break through and he had some big wins,” Federer said. “Today he can consistently bring the power on forehand, backhand, and serve almost anybody when he gets hot,” he added.
Federer admitted that Stan is definitely a big test and a big challenge for him, echoing Stan’s aforementioned words. Federer has high regard for Stan. He is aware of the strongest weapons in his opponent’s arsenal -- his powerful forehand and flawless backhand -- of which he has high regards for.
But the five-time champion can isolate that admiration for his opponent once he steps inside the court. On court, Federer is a different man, with his eyes set only on the goal. Stan, on the other hand, will try to break his rhythm to keep his hopes alive. If you recall, Stan was quite relaxed about the prospect of facing Novak Djokovic -- who was touted a favourite to win the title -- ahead of the French Open finals.
A nerveless Stan then said:” Djokovic has never won the French Open, so if he is going to be in the final, he also will be nervous, and that’s a fact.” He was absolutely right. A nervous Djokovic faltered once again as he got close to winning the title. Today as well, Stan will try to put pressure on Federer early, a preemptive attack against his aggressive compatriot. He has nothing to lose, and that will make Federer’s job tougher.