The 28-year-old Wawrinka, who said that there was “a big chance I will get drunk tonight”, won his first Grand Slam title at the 36th attempt. In the Open era only Goran Ivanisevic, the Wimbledon champion in 2001, has played more tournaments (48) before breaking his Grand Slam duck.
Stanislas Wawrinka had never taken a set off Nadal in 12 previous meetings, but attacked from the start against the 13-time major winner and regained his nerve after dropping the third set against the injured Spaniard, says the Huff Post.
“I never expected to win a Grand Slam,” Wawrinka said. “I never dreamed about that because, for me, I was not good enough to beat those guys. It shows me that I’ve been doing the right thing for many years. If you practise well, if you work hard, you will always have a chance to be in a great position to play your best tennis.”
Victory by 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and 21 minutes earned Wawrinka $2,300,000 (£1.4m) and a jump from No8 to No3 in the world, leapfrogging the man in whose shadow he has played all of his tennis, Roger Federer, and who he is happy to call “the greatest player ever”.
“I saw Roger winning so many Grand Slams in the past, so now it’s my turn to win one,” added Wawrinka, the first man to win a major besides Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Andy Murray since Juan Martin del Potro in the 2009 U.S. Open. “I did have an amazing two weeks, and I was playing my best tennis ever.”
Nadal was a hot favorite to win at Melbourne Park and become the first man to win each of the four Grand Slam tournaments twice in the Open era — instead, his injury curse struck again. It remains the only major he’s hasn’t won at least two times.
“Stan, you really deserve it,” Nadal said. “Luck was against me today but you really deserve it.
“Last thing that I wanted to do was retire. I hate to do that, especially in a final. Same time, is tough to see yourself during the whole year you are working for a moment like this, and arrives the moment and you feel that you are not able to play at your best. ”
Nadal was left in an emotional state, almost in tears both afterwards and when the crowd booed him as he returned to court in the second after the three-minute break. In that time the Swiss angrily argued with umpire Carlos Ramos about Nadal not giving the reason for his absence.
“I was happy with the way I arrived at the final,’ said Nadal of his sudden injury. ‘I tried hard until the end, I hate to retire. The only way for me to win was his mistakes because I was serving so slowly and so predictably. I only survived because of the mistakes he made on the return.”
Next up for Wawrinka, who is married with a 3-year-old daughter, is a tough first-round Davis Cup tie against Serbia this coming weekend.