Stan Wawrinka explained how compatriot Roger Federer contributed to some of his biggest achievements.
Federer’s career drew to a close this year as he played one final match at the Laver Cup before hanging up his racket. And one player who was touched by his retirement was compatriot Wawrinka, who has previously claimed that he shed tears when the 41-year-old ended his 24-year career at London’s O2 Arena despite not being at the tournament.
The three-time Grand Slam champion has now looked back on his memories with the former world No 1, as he admitted that Federer contributed to some of his biggest career achievements. “When I arrived, Roger was already at the top of tennis. He took me a little like a big brother. He helped me, we trained a lot together,” the 37-year-old said.
The 16-time title winner said he felt grateful to be able to call the tennis icon one of his friends as they grew close on and off the court. Wawrinka continued: “I was lucky to be able to rub shoulders with him a lot, in training, in tournaments. In the Davis Cup, we shared a lot of things.
“Afterwards, he simply became a friend. We were a little at the same level, not career, but behaviour, mutual aid.” And Wawrinka, who has won the Australian Open, French Open and US Open, admitted that his career wouldn’t have been as successful without the 20-time Major champion by his side in some of the most significant moments.
“I owe him a lot in my career,” he admitted. “There was something positive. I grew up and improved thanks to him. He helped me a lot. Thanks to him, I won the Olympic Games and the Davis Cup. These are two of the biggest headlines of my career.”
Wawrinka was a lesser-known prospect when the pair won gold in men’s doubles at the 2008 Olympics, but by the time they won the Davis Cup in 2014 he had already won the first of his three Majors. But it wasn’t all plain sailing as the current world No 150 recently admitted that he and Federer had argued at the ATP Finals days before catching the train to play their Davis Cup final for Switzerland.
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Federer’s wife had called Wawrinka a “crybaby” when the former world No 3 accused her of shouting when he was trying to serve during his semi-final against the 103-time title winner at the ATP Finals that year, with Federer going on to win after Wawrinka held match points.
“For sure, it was very, very tense right after the semi-final. Very, very hot. Very, very complicated, on both sides,” he recently told the RMC podcast. “We had to remember that we had a Davis Cup to win. I wasn’t going to let a little argument, which became a big one because of the emotions, disrupt this victory.”