Career Slam At Stake For Stan At SW19
As the tennis world descends on the All England Club for the 2017 Wimbledon Championships, the top four seeds of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have grabbed the headlines. The quartet are the only former champions to feature at the grass-court Grand Slam.
Relishing his under-the-radar status, Stan Wawrinka is looking to crash the party in his quest to claim a slice of history of his own. The Swiss, seeded fifth, will etch his name in the records books with a Wimbledon crown, as the latest player to secure the Career Grand Slam. He would become the ninth player in history to achieve the monumental feat and just the second to do so at SW19, joining Roy Emerson (1964).
Despite being on the precipice of such a significant achievement, Wawrinka is downplaying any pressure to claim the elusive title.
"For the players who have done that, it's something amazing, for sure," said Wawrinka to the assembled media on Saturday at the All England Club. "But for me it's not something I think about it.
"[Wimbledon] is for sure one of the most famous, one of the most special ones for many, many reasons. Because of the history of the tennis and because it's one of the only times you can play on grass. It's always really special for any player to come back and play here."
Most Consecutive Grand Slam Appearances (active streaks through Wimbledon 2017)
||2002 Roland Garros
||2005 Australian Open
||2005 Roland Garros
Victory at Wimbledon would cement Wawrinka's place among the all-time greats for another special reason, as the Swiss would ascend to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. The World No. 3 is in the midst of an impressive 52-week stretch that has seen him lift the trophies at the US Open and in his home tournament of Geneva, as well as finish runner-up at Roland Garros and the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
High on confidence and with the addition of Paul Annacone to his team, Wawrinka says he looking forward to what should be an exciting fortnight in SW19.
"I think it's going to be a really interesting Wimbledon, that's for sure," he added. "It's been like that since the beginning of the year. Roger is playing so well, Rafa is so confident and Murray is struggling a little bit, but he loves the grass, so he's going to be for sure really dangerous. I just think it's going to be a great Wimbledon.
"I think it's great to have Paul with Magnus here. For me it's more about my game in general. We always try to improve, always try to find things that I can improve and change in my game. It's been great so far. I'm really happy with him. We're looking forward to starting here in Wimbledon."
Wawrinka will have to earn the trophy, with a tough path ahead of him on the grass. The 32 year old opens against #NextGenATP star Daniil Medvedev and could face former World No. 2 Tommy Haas in the second round. Medvedev is coming off a semi-final run at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, while Haas recently upset Federer at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart.
Top seed Murray, 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and 20th seed Nick Kyrgios also reside in his quarter of the draw, with the defending champion a potential quarter-final opponent.
"I'm always trying to improve, be at my top in any tournament. The best feeling in tennis is to win a trophy. Doesn't matter which tournaments you play, you always look and try for that. So far, in general I'm really happy with the last few years. I think I've been playing amazing tennis. So let's see what's going to happen."