Australian Open 2014: Becoming world number one 'is not my goal' says Stanislas Wawrinka, despite winning first Grand Slam

Reaching the top of the rankings is beyond 'my level' says the humble Swiss


They were words that Stan Wawrinka had probably never uttered before. Asked here on Monday morning, in the wake of his victory over Rafael Nadal in the final of the Australian Open, whether he had spoken to his friend and fellow Swiss Roger Federer, Wawrinka replied: “I talked last night with him. I just said that when I had time I would call him back.”

There was not a hint of arrogance in those words - the new world No 3 is much too good and much too humble a man for that - but the reality is that Wawrinka is now the Swiss No 1. Not that the man himself sees himself as superior to Federer in any way.

“I really don’t care [about becoming Swiss No 1] because when you’re No 2 after Roger it’s really not a problem,” Wawrinka said. “He’s the best player ever. I will always feel that I am No 2 behind him. For me it’s more about being No 3 in the world. That’s really big and something amazing.

“I don’t think a lot of people in Switzerland were expecting me to win a Grand Slam. That’s simple. Until last year I wasn’t close at all. My best result in a Grand Slam was making the quarter-finals, so I was far away from winning a Grand Slam title. All my career, I’ve been on the tour when Roger was already there. In a way that was good because he was taking all the attention and I could do my own things and concentrate on my own career.”

Wawrinka, who admitted he had had little sleep after celebrating long into the night, said that even last year, when he reached the semi-finals of the US Open before losing to Djokovic, he had not thought he had it in him to win a Grand Slam title. “Even if I had won that match I would have had to play Rafa in the final,” he said. “For me that was too much. That’s why I always say I had never dreamed about winning a Grand Slam. For me it was just not my level.”

So why had everything finally come right for him this year? “I think it’s because of what I’ve been doing for many years. I always try to improve. I always practise hard, try to play better, try to improve my game, try to find solutions. It’s just my time. I’m 28, I’m more mature, I understand better when I win and when I lose and why.”

Monday’s updated world rankings list saw some notable changes, with Wawrinka at No 3, Juan Martin del Potro at No 4 and Andy Murray and Federer down to No 6 and No 8 respectively. Wawrinka said that a number of the other top players now believe that they can challenge the game’s Big Four for the major honours.

“I think they were already saying that last year,” Wawrinka said. “We were thinking that the four major guys were still there, were still amazing players, but we had more chances to beat them. We hadn’t won a Grand Slam but we were close to them. I think we all realised that it could be possible to do something big.”

Nevertheless he added: “When you’re No 3 and you win a Grand Slam, a journalist will expect you to say: ‘Now I want to be No 1.’ But I feel that is so far from me, so far from my level. That’s why it’s not my goal, that’s why I have to take time for myself, alone, with my family, with my team, to see exactly how I am going to deal with that for the rest of the year.”

Nevertheless, Wawrinka admitted that his own expectations would now rise. “I realise that when I play my best tennis I can beat Novak, I can beat Rafa, in a Grand Slam, in a final, in a semi-final,” he said.

Might the likes of Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga now emulate Wawrinka by winning a Grand Slam title? “I always thought before this week that they were closer than me to win a Grand Slam,” Wawrinka said. “But it’s tough. The big four, even if they’re not top four any more, they’ve been there for many years, winning everything.”

Wawrinka was asked what it would be like to return here next year and see his photograph on the wall, alongside those of other past champions. “The first thing I will do is take a picture of myself,” he said. “It’s big when I see all those champions. For me, they are the real champions. To be there is just something crazy.”

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Morrissey pictured in 2013
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star