Swiss Stan Wawrinka admits it wasn't easy being in the shadow of fellow compatriot Roger Federer but he refused to look at it negatively. Federer, 38, turned professional in 1998, while 35-year-old Wawrinka kicked off his professional career in 2002.
Federer won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003 and he set the high standards for the other Swiss players. By the time Wawrinka won his maiden ATP title in Umag in 2006, Federer was already a multiple Grand Slam champion.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Wawrinka and Federer won the gold medal in the doubles event. Then in 2004, Wawrinka and Federer were the key in Switzerland winning the Davis Cup title that year. "Being in the shadow of Roger Federer, there were negative sides but I decided to take a positive approach to the situation.
I arrived on the circuit young and to be able to rub shoulders with the best player of all time, to train 1000 times with him, to win the Davis Cup, the Olympic Games, it's enormous," world No. 17 Wawrinka said on Instagram Live, per We Love Tennis France.
Wawrinka ended up making a good career for himself as he is now a three-time Grand Slam champion. Also, the 35-year-old Swiss achieved his career-high ranking of No. 3 in the world in 2014.
"At the start of my career, I asked him (Federer) for a lot of advice," Wawrinka admitted.
"Discussing with the best, but also with other athletes, it allows us to progress because we always learn interesting things."