MELBOURNE, Australia — Stanislas the Swiss Stunner. Or you can just call him “Stanimal.”
Stanislas Wawrinka beat Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to win the Australian Open on Sunday, delivering his first Grand Slam title in his first major final at age 28.
Is there a new King of Switzerland? Wawrinka will rise to a career-best No. 3 on Monday, replacing Roger Federer (who drops to No. 8) as the new Swiss No. 1
Highlights and video
ESPN’s take on Wawrinka’s journey to become a champion:
Nadal’s back injury:
A collection of some of Wawrinka’s best shots from the match:
Nadal’s emotional speech:
Wawrinka gets the last word:
Photo of the match
3: Players who have defeated Nadal in a Slam final. Wawrinka joins an elite group that includes Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
10: Match winning streak for Wawrinka to start the 2014 season. He also won the Chennai Open, giving him his first two-title season — and it’s not even February yet.
16: Consecutive Slams won by a member of the ATP’s Big Four — Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Andy Murray — before Sunday.
17: Wawrinka’s ranking one year ago.
26: Consecutive sets won by Nadal over Wawrinka coming into the final.
36: Slam appearances by Wawrinka before winning a title. That is the second-longest spell behind Goran Ivanisevic, who won Wimbledon in his 48th major appearance.
1993: The last time a player beat the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds to win a Slam. That year, Sergi Bruguera beat No. 1 Pete Sampras and No. 2 Jim Courier en route to the French Open title.
2002: The last time a player ranked outside the top four won the Australian Open (Thomas Johansson, No. 18).
What they said
Wawrinka on whether he played well: “I feel I played my best tennis during one set and one break. That’s for sure. I was feeling really good on the court. I was moving well, feeling really aggressive, and I play my best set for sure by far. Then it wasn’t easy. He gets the injury. I saw that. He wasn’t serving at all. He wasn’t moving during one set. Then it was a completely different match. I had to focus on myself, to try to find the way just to win it.”
Wawrinka on his emotions: “It’s quite crazy what’s happening right now. I never expected to win a Grand Slam. I never dreamed about that because, for me, I was not good enough to beat those [top] guys. … I talk a lot with [coach] Magnus [Norman], who has been in that situation, to play a [Grand Slam] final. He told me it was important not to think about the result but think about the way you want to play, the way you want to win every point.”
Wawrinka on his celebration plans: “There’s a big chance I get drunk tonight.”
Wawrinka on the match flow: “I was surprised how well I started the match. In the beginning, he was good, he was fit, he wasn’t injured. And I was playing amazing tennis. Then [after the first set] I had to stay calm, just to try to stay aggressive because he was injured, but he was still trying a little bit. It was not easy. I started to be really nervous because I started to realize that I could win a Grand Slam.”
Wawrinka on playing an injured Nadal: “The problem is I didn’t play well because I was waiting for him to miss, and that was a big mistake. Because I was nervous, I was like, OK, miss, miss, make a mistake, because I’m not going to win the match; I start to realize that I can win the Grand Slam.”
Wawrinka on his unexpected victory: “I still think that I’m dreaming. It’s a strange feeling. I always try to watch the final of Grand Slams because that’s where the best players are playing. … I never expected to play a final. I never expected to win a Grand Slam. And right now I just did it.”
Wawrinka on winning his first Slam: “I will need time to realize what I did in these two weeks. Because at the end, even if Rafa was injured, I think I deserve that Grand Slam because I won against Djokovic, No. 2; I won against Rafa. I did amazing two weeks, and I was playing my best tennis ever.”
Nadal on his back injury: “I felt a little bit from the warmup. It was a little bit worse in the first set. At the end of the first set, I started to feel worse. Then at the beginning of the second was the key moment. I felt, during a serve in a bad movement, very stiff, very bad. [But] that’s not the real moment to talk about that. It’s the moment to congratulate Stan. He’s playing unbelievable. He really deserves to win that title. I am very happy for him. He’s a great, great guy.”
Nadal on being physically compromised: “I tried hard. The last thing that I wanted to do was retirement. No, I hate to do that, especially in a final. At the same time, during the whole year you are working for a moment like this, and it arrives and you feel that you are not able to play at your best. So it was not an easy situation for me to be on court like this, but I tried hard until the end, trying to finish the match as good as I can for the crowd, for the opponent, for me. So that’s what I did: tried everything until the last moment, but it was impossible to win this way. Opponent is too good.”
Nadal on being booed after returning to the court from a medical timeout: “Sometimes it is tough for the crowd to understand. The only thing [the crowd] wants to do is enjoy a great match. They paid to watch the best match possible, and I was not able to offer that to them for moments. I wanted to try my best until the end. But I can understand very well the reaction. They understand later that I was bad. I was trying [as hard as I could] with that situation.”
Nadal on his injured-plagued history at the Australian Open: “It is true that I was not very lucky and this is a tournament that is painful for me. It is a tournament that I love so much. It is a tournament that I feel the conditions are good for me, warm conditions that I like, good crowd. The court, it is true that it is faster than the previous ones. Normally we play in normal speed conditions that I like to play. So, yeah, it is a tournament that I really had some troubles physically in my career and it is something that is painful for me. But that’s part of life. That’s part of sport. It is not the end of the world. It is just another tough moment, not the first.”
New tattoo for Stan pic.twitter.com/gZcrsyvUGH
— MiniPeople.ch (@SwissMinipeople) January 26, 2014
You know you’re legit when Rod Laver is taking your picture with his iPhone #Winning
— Irina Falconi (@IrinaFalconi) January 26, 2014
It could have been easy for Rafa and for Stan if Rafa just hung it up after the 2nd set. But he didn't. Guy understands the bigger picture.
— Amer Delic (@AmerDelic) January 26, 2014
Wawrinka asks for “2 minutes” to go in locker room before his media rounds. Probably screamed his head off.
— Steve Tignor (@SteveTignor) January 26, 2014
Nadal exuded class post match. Wawrinka played a brilliant first set and if you beat Djokovic en route to the final you are a worthy champ
— Russell Fuller (@russellcfuller) January 26, 2014
Stan the Man…big shoutout to @stanwawrinka for winning his first major !!! It was about time….
— Boris Becker (@TheBorisBecker) January 26, 2014
The only part of the night I disliked was the disgusting behavior of the crowd booing Rafa with his back issues. Poor moment.
— roger rasheed (@roger_rasheed) January 26, 2014
Wow….. Props to Stan Wawrinka on an unreal run down under
— andyroddick (@andyroddick) January 26, 2014