McDonald: Stan Is Clutch, Like A Rolling Stone

Long time ago the quartet of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray were known as the Big Four.

They were tennis’s version of the Beatles, who towered over everyone else.

Simply put, they were fab.

But now, times have changed and the Fab Four of Tennis may become the Big Five, with Stan Wawrinka starting to dance with the net gods after winning the US Open over Djokovic, 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.

“He deserves to be in the mix, no doubt about it,” Djokovic said. “Stan won three Grand Slams now and three different ones; Olympic medal. Been around for so many years, and he plays best in the big matches. He definitely deserves to be mentioned in the mix of top players.”

So maybe the Beatles are becoming the Rolling Stones of Tennis, and Wawrinka may be the biggest money player of the group.

He may not win every tournament, but when he makes the Final, he win’s it. His streak is 11 final wins in the row and three of them were Slams in 2014 with Australia, 2015 in Roland Garros, and now Flushing Meadows.

It’s that type of top success that makes Wawrinka a very likable champion.

“Are you saying next year I focus only on Wimbledon?,” he said. “There is no plan. The only plan is trying to push myself the maximum to be the best player I can. I’m not good enough to start and say, Okay, I’m going to win a Grand Slam this year. No.

“I’m trying every day, day by day, practicing hard, trying every match to win. And, again, I think the result will come because I’m doing that every day, because I’m fighting with myself to improve, to be a better tennis player, because I have a great team behind me pushing me every day to try to be a better tennis player.”

He doesn’t have the grace of his buddy Federer, the precision of a Djokovic, the tenancy of Nadal or the quiet mystique of Murray. Rather Wawrinka is just clutch. You need a win and he comes through. Not just in the finals, but throughout his tournament.

Stan was tested here. He almost went out to Daniel Evans in the third round and after the first two matches of this tournament, he had to fight each time four or five sets to win.

It’s that type of crucible, which makes New Yorkers love him.

It’s also why Wawrinka keep raising his game every tournament he enters.

Which is why they are putting him up with the other current greats, however Wawrinka is still humble when he is asked.

“The Big 4, I’m really far from them. Just look the tournament they won, how many years they been there. If you look, yes, I have three Grand Slams. How many Masters 1000 have Murray? They have been there since ten years,” he said.  “They have not only been winning, but being in semifinal, final every time. That’s why I’m not there. I don’t want to be there. For me, there is no question about that. But I’m trying the best I can with my career.”

Maybe, but Stan is a Wimbledon away from the career slam, which is a notable achievement and the way he has been winning a slam a year, you have to wonder if 2017 is his year at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

We will see around Jul. 4, but until then, we have to look back and appreciate Wawrinka for what he is. A clutch player, who may not win every tournament, but when he gets to the finals, he wins them.

And for that reason alone, he should be part of this tennis Rolling Stones.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

Get connected with us on Social Media