Wawrinka ready to emerge from Roger's shadow

It was probably the most bizarre celebration in the history of tennis. After his victories in the semi-finals and final of the Olympic doubles tournament in Beijing last summer, Stanislas Wawrinka would lie on the court while his partner, Roger Federer, knelt down and held out his hands as if warming them over a camp fire.

The explanation? Federer said that Stanislas Wawrinka was on such a hot streak that he was on fire. As a partnership they were certainly too hot for the opposition and their gold-winning performance earned them the accolade back home as Switzerland's team of the year. It was one of the few occasions in Wawrinka's life that he was able to share the limelight with Federer.

The Swiss No 2 is an accomplished player in his own right, ranked No 18 in the world, but usually the only place where he can upstage the five-times Wimbledon champion is on the table tennis table. Wawrinka beat his Davis Cup colleague at the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time two months ago, but Federer was on a working honeymoon at the time, having wed his long-time girlfriend, Mirka Vavrinec, five days earlier.

Wawrinka, 24, is one of Federer's best friends in tennis. They are Switzerland's first-choice players in both singles and doubles in the Davis Cup, which is where Wawrinka has his best opportunity of getting one over the former world No 1.

"I play Roger at ping pong in Davis Cup ties," Wawrinka said. "I have beaten him at ping pong, but it's not easy." He agreed that he was quite different in personality to Federer, particularly on the court. "He just plays in a more relaxed way and always makes it looks easy," Wawrinka said. "We're quite similar away from the courts, but on the court we're not the same for sure. He's the best player ever and he's playing so well."

Did he think he would be doing his fellow countryman a favour if he could beat Murray today? "That's not what I'm thinking when I go on court," Wawrinka said. "For sure if I won on Monday Roger would be happy, but that's not what I'm thinking."

Wawrinka's surname is evidence of his Polish ancestry, but his father is German, his mother is Swiss and he has Czech grandparents. He left school at 15 to concentrate on tennis full-time, won the French Open junior title in 2003 and broke into the world's top 100 four years ago, reaching a career-high No 9 in the world rankings after reaching the final of last year's clay-court Rome Masters.

He is at his best on clay – his only tournament victory on the main tour came on clay at Umag, Croatia, three years ago – and in the week of the pre-Wimbledon grass-court events at Queen's Club and Halle chose to play in a clay-court Challenger tournament in Switzerland, which he won.

Two years older than Murray, Wawrinka did not cross paths with the Scot until Britain played Switzerland in the Davis Cup in Geneva four years ago. Wawrinka won in straight sets in Murray's debut singles rubber in the competition.

They have since become good friends. "We have been friends now for four or five years, since we came on the tour together," Wawrinka said. "We are almost the same age and we practise a lot to together. We enjoy being together and talking in the locker room."

Has Wawrinka seen a change in Murray since his climb to No 3 in the world rankings? "Of course he has changed, but not with me," Wawrinka said. "He's the same. In his game, yes, for sure. He is playing much better."

Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
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.

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London