AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2014
Wawrinka: "I Never Thought This Could Happen"
by ATP Staff|
Despite a career-best campaign in 2013 and an established place inside the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, Stanislas Wawrinka admitted on Thursday night that he never expected he would make the final of a Grand Slam.
The Swiss did just that when he edged Tomas Berdych in four sets in the semi-finals, backing up a five-set triumph over three-time reigning champion Novak Djokovic 48 hours earlier in the quarter-finals.
At 28 years old, it has taken Wawrinka 36 Grand Slam appearances to reach the final stage, the second most attempts in the Open Era behind David Ferrer, who advanced to the Roland Garros title match in his 42nd major last June.
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“It was tough for me to put it as a goal to make the final in a Grand Slam,” explained Wawrinka, “especially with the players there, with Novak, with Rafa, with Roger, with Andy. In the past it was really difficult, so it wasn’t a goal. It was more like we knew I had the level to beat the top players, but to be in the final you have to do it again and again.
“I didn't expect to make the final. I didn't come here thinking, ‘Oh, maybe it will be amazing to make the final.’ For me, I was really far from that. I always tried to improve, I always tried to win every match, I always go on court to try to beat my opponent, and that's what I did during the whole tournament here.”
Wawrinka will need to wait another 24 hours to learn the identity of his opponent, be it World No. 1 Rafael Nadal or his good friend and countryman Roger Federer. Joking that he hoped they would both pull out as he has poor records against them, Wawrinka insisted he would enjoy the experience and be ready to give it his all.
“I don't know how I will feel for my first final,” said the right-hander. “I'm enjoying all that's happening here. I'm playing great tennis. I know that I'm going to feel ready physically because I have two days off to be ready for the final.
“The most important [thing] is that my game is there. [I made the final] because I beat Berdych tonight; I won against Novak also. I had some great matches. So that means I have the level to be there.
“I’m taking confidence from my level in general. I know that I'm playing my best tennis. I'm moving well. I'm really aggressive. I'm serving well. I always find a solution. I will see. I will watch the match tomorrow and see how I'm going to play on Sunday.”
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