Stanislas Wawrinka has been ranked in the world’s top 30 for the last five years, if you look at it like that it’s fair to say the Swiss has been one of the most consistent players on the tennis tour since 2008, but in the biggest events his performances haven’t always justified that.
However 2013 has been different for the Swiss number 2 who has spent a majority of his career in the shadow of compatriot and most successful player of all time Roger Federer.
At the Australian Open in January, Wawrinka was on the brink of stunning the world number one Novak Djokovic, only to be agonisingly denied in a 5 set epic in one of the matches of the year so far.
Wawrinka’s improved results this calendar year have put him in a strong position to qualify for the world tour finals for the first time in his career.
As Wawrinka slowly climbs up the ATP rankings his fellow county man Federer is beginning to slip down. A strong finish to the season for Wawrinka would not only see him qualify for the tour finals in November but also finish the Swiss number 1 for the first time ever.
This year, he won his fourth ATP event on the clay courts at the Portugal Open where he impressively dismantled world number four David Ferrer in straight sets.
He followed it up with a run to the final of the Madrid Masters where he was beaten by Rafael Nadal, before Wawrinka was again outclassed by the Spaniard in the quarter-final of the French Open.
After a disappointing first round defeat at Wimbledon to Lleyton Hewitt, Wawrinka showed he could still play a major part at the top of men’s tennis in the final Grand Slam of the year at the US Open.
Following impressive victories over Tomas Berdych and defending champion Andy Murray, Wawrinka was again deprived by Djokovic in another 5 set thriller, this time at the semi final stage.
At 28 years of age, Wawrinka appears to have finally reached the peak of his career and is beginning to challenge in the latter stages of Grand Slams.
On his day he has the game to worry anyone; his backhand has always been a fine-looking shot combined with a powerful forehand to give the Swiss a menacing baseline game.
It remains to be seen if Wawrinka has the mental toughness to really challenge the likes of Nadal, Djokovic and Murray for Grand Slam titles. However the Swiss will be a huge threat in the majors and no one will fancy him in their half of the draw.