French Open: Wawrinka backs Djokovic for career slam

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Roland Garros
Stan Wawrinka
Wawrinka will move up to fourth in the world rankings after winning the French Open

Stan Wawrinka backed Novak Djokovic to win the French Open one day after beating the Serb in the final at Roland Garros.

Wawrinka, seeded eighth, defeated the world number one 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 to win his second Grand Slam title.

The Swiss, 30, also denied Djokovic the one major title to have eluded him.

"I'm sure he's going to get it one one day because he's so strong. I know he's looking badly and desperately for this title," said Wawrinka.

"The way he was playing these two weeks was just amazing."

Wawrinka recovered from a set down to end Djokovic's 28-match winning streak, with a final tally of 60 winners illustrating his aggressive approach.

"That's the way I have to play if I want to beat him," he said. "I'm still surprised the way I played, because I think I played amazing today.

"I was really nervous but I didn't choke. I was always going for my shot, always going for the right play."

Game, set and stats
Wawrinka is the second Swiss player to win Roland Garros after Roger Federer in 2009Wawrinka is the first man to win Roland Garros after losing in the first round in the previous year
At 30 years and 71 days, Wawrinka is the oldest man to win Roland Garros since Andres Gomez in 1990Wawrinka is the first former boys' champion to win the men's title since Mats Wilander in 1988

Wawrinka won his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last year, taking him to third in the rankings, and he added a Davis Cup victory alongside Roger Federer in November.

However, he has also suffered slumps in form and was ranked outside the top 20 in 2012, while 12 months ago he lost in the first round in Paris.

"It's quite strange when I tell myself that I have a gold medal in Davis Cup and I have two Grand Slams," he said.

"It's something quite amazing. I never expected to be that far in my career. I never expected to be that strong."

Russell Fuller, BBC tennis correspondent
"Stan Wawrinka knew he would have to produce his very finest tennis for at least three sets, and he did just that - in only his second experience of a Grand Slam final.
"The backhand down the line winner to seal the decisive break in the fourth set was the most breathtaking of all, but only one example of the array of glorious attacking shots that made even Djokovic look flustered.
"The world number one played well enough to have beaten almost anyone, but for 3 hours and 12 minutes, Wawrinka didn't play like just anyone."

Wawrinka suffered a dip in form as recently as April, around the time it was announced that he was separating from his wife, Ilham, for the second time.

The pair were married in 2009 and had a daughter in 2010.

"It's important when you're an athlete that you can put your mind on yourself, on what you are doing," said Wawrinka. "You have to do some sacrifice."

With a new world ranking of four, Wawrinka is now firmly among the favourites heading to Wimbledon, but he continues to see himself behind the likes of Djokovic, Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal.

"I'm not as strong as the 'big four'," he said. "They are winning everything. But I'm strong enough to win some big titles sometimes during the years.

"I didn't find the way to play my best game every tournament, but I'm still OK and satisfied with my career so far."

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