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Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer met for the 22nd time during the Australian Open semi-finals.

Wawrinka: Federer Is 'Best Player Ever'

Swiss finds positives from month Down Under

Stan Wawrinka, a three-time Grand Slam champion, has moved past the stage of moral victories at big-time tournaments. But the Swiss star is not above giving due credit to his opponent.

The 31 year old lavished praise on his countryman Roger Federer after falling 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3 in the Australian Open semi-finals on Thursday. Wawrinka called Federer “the best player ever” and said Federer “can do anything he wants on the court.”

“He's an amazing player to watch and to see on the court. He's flying on the court. He's playing amazing tennis,” Wawrinka said.

The Lausanne native was trying to reach his second Australian Open final and his fourth Grand Slam final overall. He fell to 0-14 against Federer on hard courts and 3-19 against him during their overall FedEx ATP Head2Head series. All of Wawrinka's Head2Head wins have come on clay.

“I don't know what to say. I cannot just be happy to win two sets against Roger. I just lost a five-set match in the semi-final of the Australian Open... I'm proud of myself, of the fight I give tonight and all the tournament. I think there is a lot of positive from this tournament, from Brisbane, from the month already,” Wawrinka said. “For sure I'm really sad and disappointed with a loss like that because to be that close to have won a semi-final, it can be only sad. But at the end I know I tried everything on the court. I came from two sets down. I changed completely the momentum.”

The five-set battle, which lasted more than three hours, was Wawrinka's closest Grand Slam hard-court match against Federer. During their two other hard-court meetings at Grand Slams, Federer won both matches – 2011 Australian Open QF, 2015 US Open SF – in straight sets.

“At the end I had a great battle against Roger. He's great fighter. He's always been amazing in a Grand Slam, in a five-set match. I'm for sure sad to lose a match like that,” Wawrinka said. “But I know there is a lot of positive.”

With his semi-final finish, Wawrinka will climb to No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings when the new rankings are released on Monday.