March 2, 2024

“He kicked my ass.”

Stan Wawrinka: Oldie but goodie.Image: Cornerstone

Stan Wawrinka feels 'old but still in good shape'. But in the third round of the US Open, a very big challenge awaits us on Saturday in a generational duel against Jannik Sinner.

Stan Wawrinka feels 'old but still in good shape'. But in the third round of the US Open, a very big challenge awaits us on Saturday in a generational duel against Jannik Sinner.

Even at 38 years old, Stan Wawrinka still amazes everyone. On Thursday, the Fudd native delighted New York tennis fans in the sweltering afternoon heat with a four-set win over No. 30 seed Tomas Martin Echeverry. In the end, the Argentine, 14 years his junior, succumbed. The unseeded veteran was stronger, more durable and hungrier for victory.

“I saw that Echeverri was suffering physically,” Wawrinka said happily after the win. With a smile: “I'm old, of course, but I feel good.” It wasn't easy mentally either after he couldn't convert the chance to lead the set 2-0 and the score was 1-1 after two hours of play. “The fight to come out of this is very positive.”

Enjoy the emotions for as long as possible

The joy of the fight and the emotions with many spectators motivates Wawrinka to continue working hard with his coach Magnus Norman and continue to want to improve every day. “I know I will never face anything like that again after my career,” says the three-time Grand Slam champion. That's why he wants to delay its end for as long as possible.

Is he as good again as he was in 2016, when he prevailed in the final against Novak Djokovic at the US Open? “I can't and don't want to compare,” he says. Obviously, a lot of it has to do with self-confidence. This increases with every victory, but now it is subject to a difficult test.

A sinner with a better head-to-head record

Jannik Sinner is the only player generally believed to be able to prevent another final showdown between Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. The world number six from the South Tyrol ski resort of Sixten won his first Masters 1000 tournament three weeks ago in Toronto and has lost just 15 games in six sets in his first two matches at the US Open. “It will be a big challenge not only physically, but also on a tennis level,” Wawrinka said.

The two have met twice this year. Sinner won 6:1, 6:3 in Rotterdam and 6:1, 6:4 in Indian Wells. “He kicked my ass twice,” recalls the Swiss. But: “I'm playing much better than I was then.” New York's average conditions with relatively high humidity suit both players.

Last year, the 22-year-old Italian gave eventual winner Alcaraz a superb fight at the highest level in the quarter-finals and lost after five and a quarter hours and his own match point. The future definitely belongs to Sinner, for now, Wawrinka just wants to be the one to postpone that future a little longer. (cat/sda)

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The best photos from the 2023 US Open

Carlos Alcaraz is not happy because he made a mistake.

Source: Keystone/Justin Lin

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