French Open

Wawrinka part of 'Big Five'

2014-05-23 16:01
Stanislas Wawrinka (AFP)

Paris - The so-called Big Four of men's tennis is now the Big Five according to long-standing member of the elite Novak Djokovic, but Stanislas Wawrinka is not so sure.

Djokovic says Australian Open champion Wawrinka is now the real deal at grand slams and can be talked about as a potential winner of the French Open which starts on Sunday.

Wawrinka's victory over Rafael Nadal in Melbourne added his name to the grand slam winners' list that has been dominated by Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray in recent years and he starts in Paris as third seed.

After several seasons of steady improvement Swiss Wawrinka's breakthrough title in Australia has led to predictions that he can go on and add more major silverware to his collection.

"He deserves to be considered as one of the favourites to win the title because of the fact that he had one of the best results of all the players this year," world number two Djokovic told reporters at Roland Garros on Friday.

"He won his first grand slam; he won the Monte Carlo tournament in great fashion winning against some top players.

"He has proved to everybody that he is one of the contenders for grand slam titles. Now from the mental perspective it's going to be more familiar or easier for him to approach grand slams because he knows how and what it takes to win it.

"He always had a game that he could hurt any player on any surface, but it was just a matter of his self-belief. Now, mentally he's got stronger and more experienced in the big matches. You can see the reflection in the results he has."

Wawrinka played down suggestions that he is a favourite for the French Open, however.

"The favourites are Nadal and Djokovic. They are far above the rest," Wawrinka told reporters.

"You can tell me what you want. It's always going to be the case. When they're on the courts, nobody else can beat them.

"I'll be with Rog (Federer), just after them. I'm one of the favourites, but I wouldn't say I'm the top favourite. I'm so far from Nadal, so far from Djokovic."

Djokovic is brimming with confidence after beating Nadal in the Italian open final on clay - his fourth consecutive victory over the Spaniard who is bidding for a ninth French Open crown.

Some are predicting that this could be the year he finally completes his grand slam collection after losing to Nadal in a semi-final epic last year and the final in 2012.

"I have played some epic matches against him, especially the one last year in the semi-finals," Djokovic said. "We went the distance. I think it was 10-8 in the fifth.

"Even though it was a tough loss, I was putting a lot of emotional effort into winning this event last year, I still take the positives from that tournament.

"Knowing that I have gotten closer and closer each year to the title gives me enough reason to be confident for the start of this year. Winning against Nadal on clay is something that doesn't happen every day so (Rome) definitely helps my confidence, my self-belief."

"And I'm healthy and obviously very motivated and inspired to play my best tennis here," added Djokovic who has fully recovered from the wrist injury that prevented him from playing at the Madrid Masters.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  french open  |  stanislas wawrinka  |  tennis
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Good morning, Djokovic's!

2014-07-22 09:14

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Vote

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

 
 
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.