Stanislas Wawrinka captured his first Grand Slam title Sunday at the 2014 Australian Open, upsetting world number one Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Hampered by a back injury that nearly forced Nadal to retire after seeking off-court treatment for the injury. En route to the finals, Wawrinka defeated world number one Novak Djokovic, becoming the first man to defeat the number one and number two seeds at a Grand Slam since Sergi Bruguera at the 1993 French Open.
The win was Wawrinka’s first in 13 career meetings against Nadal, having never won a single set against Nadal before the match. With his 36th Grand Slam appearance, Wawrinka was in second place for most appearances at a Grand Slam event before winning his first title. Goran Ivanisevic still tops the list, having captured the 2001 Wimbledon title in his 48th major
“This is the Stan Day, not my day,” said Nadal after the match. “It’s the moment to congratulate Stan. He's playing unbelievable. He really deserved to win that title. I am very happy for him. He's a great, great guy. He's a good friend of mine. I am really happy for him.”
Capturing the title in Melbourne will propel Wawrinka to number three in the ATP Men’s Singles Rankings when they are released Monday.
"For me, the Australian Open is the best Grand Slam ever," said Wawrinka. "Last year, I had a crazy match, lost it and was crying a lot after the match. In one year, a lot has happened. Right now, I still don't know if I'm dreaming or not, but we'll see tomorrow morning."
Wawrinka has yet to lose to begin his 2014 ATP World Tour season, winning his fifth title at the Aircel Chennai Open in the first week of the season.
“To win a Slam and to be number three, are both big surprises,” said Wawrinka. “But I think more to win a Slam because in the rankings, you can be number three without winning a Slam. But now, both are happening, so it's a big surprise.”