Stanislas Wawrinka finally emerges from Roger Federer's shadow

The Swiss praises his national colleague as 'the best player ever' as he challenges to be the Switzerland's best

When you are the world No 8 and one of the game's outstanding players, you might think it galling to be described perennially as your nation's No 2, forever in the shadow of your fellow countryman. For Stanislas Wawrinka, however, playing second fiddle to Roger Federer has never been a problem.

"To be Swiss No 2 after Roger is still amazing," Wawrinka said. "He's a special tennis player, the best player ever. He has won everything. He's in a different league, on a different level. I'm No 2 in Switzerland, but I feel like No 1, because he is just in a league of his own."

Federer may be the best player in history, but before long he might not be the best in his own country. Wawrinka, aged 28, has been enjoying the season of his life and for several weeks now has been threatening to overhaul his compatriot in the rankings.

Although Federer's performances this week in Basel should secure his place in next month's Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, Wawrinka could yet be the man to deny his fellow Swiss a place.

The berths in the season- ending finale go to the eight players with the most ranking points in the calendar year, though the absence of the injured Andy Murray means that ninth place will be sufficient to earn a position. This week's Paris Masters is the final qualifying tournament.

Wawrinka, who is attempting to make the field for the first time, is currently seventh in the list, one position ahead of Federer, who is attempting to appear in the tournament for the 12th year in a row. Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, in ninth and 10th places respectively, are not far behind.

At last month's US Open Wawrinka went further than Federer in a Grand Slam for the first time, at the 35th attempt. If Wawrinka had beaten Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals and Rafael Nadal in the final he would have overtaken Federer in the world rankings for the first time.

Federer, meanwhile, has been in a downward spiral. While Wawrinka has reached four finals this year and won one title, Federer has one minor title to show from two finals. Having failed to reach a Grand Slam final for the first time since 2002, the former world No 1 has at times looked a shadow of his old self.

"I think this year a lot of things have changed – especially in Switzerland but also in the tennis world," Wawrinka said. "I was the last Swiss player at the US Open and everyone in Switzerland was watching. I feel good with my position. I'm enjoying what I'm doing.

"People in Switzerland are supporting me much more than they did in the past. That's normal. When you have Roger winning everything then people think it's normal to win a Grand Slam – and it's not. When you have someone who has won 17 Grand Slam titles then they think it's nothing when someone reaches the semi-finals of a Masters 1000."

Wawrinka said that having Federer as a fellow countryman had often helped him. "When I arrived in professional tennis I was quite shy," he said. "It was good for me to be in his shadow a little bit. I could just go about my career without having as much pressure.

"He's a close friend. He was already top 10, top six when I arrived. Then he was No 1 for many years. I've had the chance to practise more than 200 times with the No 1 player in the world. I've played Davis Cup and the Olympics with him.

"He always told me that if I needed to ask him anything about tennis I could always call him. And I did. When I arrived he helped me a lot with playing in Grand Slams, about coping with pressure, about playing the best players."

News
Shoppers at Selfridges department store in central London
black friday
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Life and Style
View of champagne glasses at a beach bar set up along the Croisette during the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 17, 2013
food + drink(and for now, there's a clear winner)
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Irradiated turkey and freeze dried mash potato will be on the menu this thanksgiving
video
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?