The newly-crowned French Open champion, Stanislas Wawrinka, says he still has ground to make up to be considered an equal to “the big four” despite his shock final victory over Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic was the strong favourite to clinch his first title at Roland Garros and complete a career Grand Slam but Wawrinka outplayed the world No1 to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
It means a second grand slam success for the Swiss, who won last year’s Australian Open. He, along with Juan Martín del Potro and Marin Cilic, is one of only three players since the 2005 Australian Open to break the major stranglehold of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
Murray is the only one of the big four Wawrinka is yet to beat this year after the 30-year-old knocked out Federer in the French Open quarter-finals and defeated Nadal last month in Rome.
His latest triumph over Djokovic was particularly impressive for the way he overpowered the Serb with a number of brilliant baseline winners, but Wawrinka believes he needs to be more consistent to join the elite.
“I’m not as strong as the big four – they are winning everything,” Wawrinka said. “But I’m strong enough to win some big titles. I haven’t found the way to play my best game every tournament but I’m still OK and satisfied with my career so far.
“I’m not as good as they are but I’m good enough to win two grand slam tournaments.
“I can beat them in major tournaments – in a semi-final, in a final – but the big four will always be the big four.
“I don’t want to be in comparison with them. I want to make progress and strides. I want to beat them.”
Wawrinka’s victory follows a painful period off the court for the new world No4, who announced in April he had separated from his wife. He said: “It’s important when you’re an athlete that you can put your mind on what you are doing. When you are practising and when you give everything, you have to try to focus on what you’re doing.
“I’m still surprised that in two months I can win the French Open because I wasn’t in good shape after Monaco [in April]. It was a tough, tough moment for me. To say that now I won the French Open, it’s something completely crazy.”
Wawrinka will now turn his attention to improving his record at Wimbledon, where he achieved his best result last year in reaching the quarter-finals.
If he enjoys success in SW19, however, it is unlikely to be in the same garish pair of shorts, which attracted plenty of attention in Paris and which Wawrinka proudly draped over the table at his final press conference.
“I don’t think they will allow me to wear the shorts at Wimbledon,” Wawrinka joked. “Everybody has talked about the shorts since I put them on. I quite like them but apparently I’m the only one. I know a lot of people have talked about them and it’s quite funny that they won the French Open.”