Stan Wawrinka is one of those special players in tennis who not only enjoys those gruelling five hour on-court wars of attrition — but actually thrives in them.
“I enjoy those long matches” he says cheerfully, when I ask them what the hardest part about competing for so long is. I don’t imagine his opponents will often say the same.
With one of the most powerful backhands in the sport, and a formidable serve, it can be more than a little intimidating having the six foot Swiss bearing down on you for five hours straight.
“We need to keep fighting in order to improve, to lose later which would mean to fail better...”
Despite being a dominant force on the court, Wawrinka admits that: “Rafael Nadal on clay is probably the toughest opponent you can face.”
And he should know, having recently faced the Spaniard in the 2017 Roland Garros final. But thanks to his mass of experience and his ever-evolving roster of tactics, Wawrinka is able to come back swinging after facing Nadal on clay.
Any time Wawrinka might feel like quitting in the midst of a five hour slog-fest (which is very, very seldom), the Swiss has to glance at the motto tattooed on his arm — a quote by Samuel Beckett. “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
It is a sentiment that speaks volumes to the tennis star who tries harder than most, and very rarely fails. But when he does (and Wawrinka does not go down without a fight), he knows the defeat is a necessary evil in his path to the top: “We need to keep fighting in order to improve, to lose later which would mean to fail better.”
No matter what faces Wawrinka in the future — and as he continues to recover from the knee injury that befell him in the first round of Wimbledon last summer — you can trust that he will be fighting to the very last point, no matter what.
This article was taken from the ‘How to Win’ section of Gentleman’s Journal May/June Issue. Subscribe here to get the magazine delivered directly to your door…