As Stanislas Wawrinka seeks to win his maiden Grand Slam title against Rafael Nadal in Australian Open men’s singles final on Sunday, here are five reasons why ‘the other Swiss’ can defeat the mighty Spaniard at the Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.
Victory against Djokovic
Djokovic has been one of the most consistent players in the last few years. His dominance at the Australian Open finally ended when an aggressive Wawrinka took the revenge of his last year’s defeat, by knocking the Serb out this year in their quarter-final match.
Wawrinka has, to an extent done the job of Nadal easier, by ousting the defending champion, who has been a nemesis to Rafael Nadal on several occasions in the past. Wawrinka looked in total control against the World No. 2 who was seeking his fourth consecutive Australian Open title, and if he can defeat Nole, there is no reason why he can’t defeat Nadal.
Wawrinka’s incredible backhand
One of the most delightful moments in tennis of late, has been Wawrinka’s one-handed backhand. While he has hit more winners from the cross-court, Stan every now and then surprises the opponent with a down the line screamer. Several of Federer’s backhand shots against Nadal in the semis looked good, until they crashed into the nets. So if Wawrinka can get his backhand - which has more pace than Federer’s, going, he could give a neck-to-neck fight to the mighty Spaniard.
Another improved aspect of Wawrinka’s game has been his quick serve. Stan served a barrage of aces against Tomas Berdych in their semi-final match, and even though he didn’t come up with that many against Djokovic, the Serb certainly had problems handling the pace of the serve which exploded while hitting the court.
Against Djokovic, Wawrinka often delivered a wide serve and followed it with a powerful volley or a forehand winner. While serve and volley wouldn’t be a good idea against Rafa, at Wawrinka’s pace, it could be the key for the Swiss.
Rafael Nadal’s blister
He might have showed no signs of pain despite playing with a blister in the last few matches, but it is yet to be seen if Rafa can play with the same momentum if he is forced to play a five setter. When he received treatment on the blister after the first set in the semi-final, it looked in bad shape and Wawrinka can for sure take the advantage with his attacking play.
As a result of the blister, we have seen Nadal serving at a much slower pace and Wawrinka would also be looking to take advantage with better return of serves.
Wawrinka’s attacking forehand
Wawrinka has developed a reputation of being a good backhand player. But it was the forehand which did most of the damage to Djokovic’s defense. With Rafa’s backhand not at its best due to the blister, if Wawrinka can force him to stretch to his right side of the court, something which he regularly did against Djokovic, he can once again take an edge in his maiden Grand Slam final.