What players can learn from Stan
I think this Grand Slam was the most painful, physically and mentally, that I ever played
Newly crowned US Open champion Stan Wawrinka admitted that five minutes before the US Open final against Novak Djokovic he was in tears in the locker room. Perhaps there are a few words of wisdom in what he said for any player facing a big challenge.
“Before the final, I was really nervous like never before,” he said. “I was shaking in the locker. When we start five minutes before the match talking, last few things with Magnus [Norman, his coach], I started to cry. I was completely shaking.”
But by the time he got on court he managed to compose himself. He had a total belief in his game.
“The only thing I was convinced with myself that my game was there. Physically I was there. My game was there. Put the fight on the court and you will have a chance to win. And that's what happened after few games when I started to believe in myself, started to be in the match.”
Having played nearly 18 hours of matchplay in the six matches leading to the final the Swiss was ready to go though some pain to win, because losing was simply not an option.
“If you want to beat the No.1 player in the world, you have to give everything. You have to accept to suffer and you have almost to enjoy suffering. Because I think this Grand Slam was the most painful, physically and mentally, that I ever played."
He said that going into the match he thought: “I don't want to come to the court and lose a final. So close, so far. So maybe it's the reason why I was feeling so nervous.”
And if anyone wants the bottom line on the secret of his composure, he said: “I had to put my shit together” – apologising for the language, but it may be the best piece of advice the 2016 US Open champion could give to any player before a big match.
The morning after the night before the Swiss player was at a photo shoot at the top of the Rockefeller Center in New York. Amidst all the cameras and the attention, like most mortal players he still wanted a selfie.
Can the 2016 US Open Champion let us know how he managed to hold that trophy with one hand?