Standing six feet tall, 179-pound powerhouse Stan Wawrinka has demonstrated his tremendous capabilities in his 2017 tennis career. Currently ranked fifth in the world in men’s singles, Wawrinka has proven to be one of the top performers of 2017. He has demonstrated his ability to crush weaker opponents consistently and contest legendary players such as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer. Despite his recent withdrawal from the U.S. Open, Wawrinka has proven to be one of Switzerland’s most respected tennis players.
Wawrinka’s first tournament this season was the Brisbane International, located in Queensland, Australia. He played two tough matches, beating Viktor Troicki 7-6, 6-4 in the Round of 16 and Kyle Edmund 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinal. Wawrinka played a tough match against the Japanese Kei Nishikori, and lost 7-6, 6-3. Although Wawrinka did not win the Brisbane International, he showcased his ability to play powerful tennis, while still implementing strategy into his game. This tournament was only the beginning of what would become one of Wawrinka’s best tennis seasons.
The Australian Open, one of the four annual Grand Slam tournaments, was Wawrinka’s next target. Martin Kližan gave a tough fight against the Swiss tennis player in the first round. Although Wawrinka was down a break in the fifth set, Wawrinka still managed to jump to a close win against Klizan, beating him 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. All hope seemed to be lost when Wawrinka was down in the fifth set, but he quickly turned the match around and won four consecutive games, clinching him the match. Wawrinka carried his determination to win a second Australian Open title into the next few rounds. He managed to only lose a total of one set in the next four matches he played (against Steve Johnson, Viktor Troicki, Andreas Seppi and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga). He beat Johnson and Troicki in straight sets, gave up one set against Seppi, and defeated Tsonga in straight sets, bringing him to the semifinals of a major tournament once again. In the semifinals, Wawrinka faced off against Swiss compatriot Roger Federer. In a grueling and tight match, Federer finally defeated Wawrinka in five sets; this match demonstrated Wawrinka’s perseverance and ability to contest the legendary Roger Federer who would go on to win the tournament.
Although Wawrinka lost in the first round in the Dubai Tennis Championships, he bounced back in the next tournament he played in: the Indian Wells Masters. Getting a bye in the first round, Wawrinka went on to win his second and third round in straight sets against Paolo Lorenzi and Philipp Kohlschreiber, respectively. In the fourth round and quarterfinals, Wawrinka faced more of a challenge, winning both matches in three sets. He played Austrian underdog Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals, a young tennis player rising through the ranks. Although Thiem proved to be a tough contender for Warwrinka, the Swiss veteran eventually put the Austrian youngster down, beating him 6-4, 4-6, 7-6. Wawrinka’s semifinal was a breeze, as he won 6-2, 6-2, and off he went to the finals against who else but Roger Federer. Wawrinka had recently met him in the Australian Open semifinals, and was going to try his best to defeat his Swiss friend. However, Federer once again came out on top and edged Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 in a close match for both players.
Players sometimes have days when they do not play as well as expected and end up losing in earlier rounds of the tournaments they play in. Wawrinka may have lost in the early rounds of the Miami Masters, the Monte-Carlo Masters, the Madrid Masters and the Rome Masters, but he did make up lost ground at the Geneva Open. Once again getting a bye in the first round, Wawrinka proceeded to face the Brazilian Rogério Dutra Silva in the second round. Dutra Silva was forced to retire the match after getting a right ankle injury, putting Wawrinka in the quarterfinals against American Sam Querrey. Wawrinka beat the sixth seed in three sets, winning 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. Wawrinka moved on to the finals after beating Andrey Kuznetsov in straight sets in the semifinals and was ready to face his final opponent: Mischa Zverev. In a close and physically demanding match, Wawrinka finally won his first tournament of the year, beating Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Wawrinka’s next tournament was Paris’ world renowned grand slam, the French Open, or Roland Garros. In this tournament, Wawrinka played exceptional tennis and reached the finals, where he met Spanish champion Rafael Nadal. Wawrinka cruised through the first five rounds winning in straight sets, dismantling Jozef Kovalik, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Fabio Fognini, Gael Monfils, and Marin Čilić. In the semifinals, Wawrinka faced the tournament’s top seed: Andy Murray. The British world-number-one was off to a great start in the tournament, getting past Juan Martin del Potro and Kei Nishikori. However, Wawrinka put an end to his winning streak at the French Open in an amazing battle. Wawrinka eventually won the match in five sets, which included a tiebreak in the first and fourth set. The 2015 champion advanced to the finals where he played the legendary Rafael Nadal. Although Nadal beat Wawrinka in straight sets, the Swiss veteran proved to be a strong competitor against many other players at the French Open.
Unfortunately, Wawrinka cannot participate in tournaments for the rest of 2017 because of a knee injury. He has showcased his brilliant skills as a tennis player this season and has demonstrated his ability to win matches and contest tough opponents in an era where two monster powerhouses dominate the sport. Hopefully, the Swiss baseliner can recover soon and return to the game he has dominated thus far.