Stan Wawrinka, at 32 years old, is a three-time Grand Slam champion having won at every major once except for Wimbledon. He currently sits ranked 15th in the world and many have wondered if there is a chance for him to get back to the top level.
Is his body breaking down?
Wawrinka opted to get surgery on his knee after being sent packing in the first round of Wimbledon. This put him in a position where he would have sit out six months just like fellow Swiss player Roger Federer did at the end of the 2016 season. Except Wawrinka is four years younger than Federer.
An Underwhelming Return to Action
Wawrinka entered the Australian Open as the 9th seed and made it to the second round before the American, Tennys Sandgren, beat him in straight sets. But after that Stan said he was just happy to play and be back on court.
Wawrinka was the number one seed at the Sofia Open where he lost in the semi-finals. He did get through a three-setter in the quarterfinals. Afterwards, Stan did say his body is making steady progress.
“I am feeling better and better and starting to come back to my top level,” Wawrinka said.
Wawrinka has been a player who shows up in the second week of majors. Once he reaches the second week, he is always labeled a contender who can beat anyone on the tour with his backhand that is unstoppable when on point.
Even though Wawrinka has three majors, he is usually one of the players put on upset alert in the early rounds as he has suffered seven losses prior to the quarterfinals in his last sixteen grand slam tournaments.
Luckily for Wawrinka, the next generation of players is far from consistent. Alexander Zverev has yet to reach a grand slam quarter-final, Dominic Thiem seems to only be consistent on clay, and there has been no one out there to show consistent success.
Also, the injuries to Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have taken them off the tour. Murray has already planned on returning for Wimbledon and Djokovic has no set timetable for a return.
Wawrinka will have to try to get ready for Indian Wells and Miami as he has 690 points to defend there. Ranking will be crucial as he would like to avoid having to play Federer or Nadal before the quarterfinals or at the least the round of 16 in a tournament.
He Has Time
Stan the Man has the time to make a comeback. But, if he wants to do this, he has to do it before everyone returns and reaches top form because it will get tougher as time goes on. Now he is no Roger Federer, but if Wawrinka hits top form again, he can contend for another slam or two.
It’s not a matter of him having the ability make a comeback, but does he have the drive to put in the work that it takes to make it back to the top.
- Dominick Capolupo is a contributor for The Slice from New Jersey, USA. He is our in-house comeback specialist. Follow him on Social Media @dcaps241199.
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