Mature Stan enjoys Oz glory
Stanislas Wawrinka has revealed that hard work and confidence has helped him become a Grand Slam winner in Australia.
Disbelief appeared to be the 28-year-old's primary emotion following his 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 triumph over a hobbling Rafael Nadal in a dramatic Australian Open final at the weekend.
The Swiss was reflecting on his incredible feat on Monday in Melbourne having become the first man to beat Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the same Grand Slam and the first player to defeat the top two in the world since Sergi Bruguera at the French Open in 1993.
"It still feels like a dream because it's a Grand Slam title so it's something that's just amazing for me," Wawrinka said.
"It's just good to wake up with that trophy. I didn't get much sleep. I was with my team, some friends, family, we celebrated a little bit and enjoyed the moment. We came back late but that's a good problem to have."
As well as getting his hands on silverware, Wawrinka's efforts also guided him up the rankings list, up from from eight to three, behind only Nadal and Djokovic and ahead of compatriot Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
Wawrinka has been a consistent performer in recent years but showed signs of greater things last season, nearly beating Djokovic in a dramatic match in Melbourne before losing another five-setter in his first slam semi-final at the US Open.
"It's what I've been doing for many years," he added. "I've always worked in a good way to try to improve, and that means I'm always going to practise hard, try to play better, to find solutions.
"Why this year, why last year? It's just my time. I'm 28, I'm more mature, I understand better when I win or when I lose and why.
"Everything last year came with the self confidence and now I know that I can beat everybody on the big stage at a Grand Slam, it doesn't matter if it's the final, semi-final, quarter-final.
"That changed everything because when you have that confidence in yourself then you can win a Grand Slam."