Novak Djokovic won the French Open on Wednesday, he beat his arch nemesis Rafael Nadal in straight sets in their quarter-final – that was the one he needed – and the remaining semi-final and final were just formalities. Stan Wawrinka hadn’t read the script though.
In absolutely unbelievable scenes in Paris on Sunday afternoon, the highly unfancied Swiss star produced one of the huge shocks in world tennis as he triumphed in four sets 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 to take his first Roland Garros title.
One man was supposed to win a maiden trophy in Paris, but not Wawrinka. Djokovic has been simply unstoppable in 2015 and has obliterated all in his path on the way to this final, there was no way he could fail to complete a Career Slam again after years of hurt.
It looked that way after set one too. The world no.1 took advantage of some errors by his opponent to take the lead, it was just the start he needed with bearing a huge weight of expectation.
That weight couldn’t be shook off for long, however. Djokovic began to buckle under the strain as Wawrinka, comfortable in the knowledge that he was expected to pick-up a runners-up medal, found some form which planted the seeds of doubt.
After threatening to break the Serb’s serve in the second set without success, the Swiss no.2 finally got the breakthrough and the tide began to swing the way of the impossible.
Now it was Djokovic who had a taste of his own medicine. Having dominated everybody for months, including a devastated Nadal days earlier, he began to find himself completely under the cosh and unable to do anything to regain the control he has had for so long.
Wawrinka finished it off in the third and fourth sets with some brilliance. The 30-year-old has been one of those players who has always been on the outside of the big four, but he seems to be capable of producing some stunning moments on his day. – as he did in the 2014 Australian Open final. Today was most certainly his day too.
The two finalists have enjoyed some great battles before, but until this contest Wawrinka had only won three of their 20 matches.
Damaging for Djokovic
As humble as Djokovic may appear, he would not have been expecting this at all and you wonder what sort of damaging effect this will have on him going forward. This has been his dream for so many years, to become just the eighth man to win all four Majors.
He will now have to wait another 12 months to try again, and you begin to think that the longer this wait continues, the less likely he is to have the mental strength to get over the line.
As for Wawrinka, can he finally turn all too rare moments of brilliance into consistency to become a legend? It’s a sad day for Djokovic, but in a way this is perfect for tennis as a sport.