[:en]Paris has a new King of Clay and, against all expectations, his name is not Novak Djokovic. Stanislas Wawrinka shocked the world No1 – and the tennis world in general – with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 victory over three hours and 12 minutes on a warm, pleasant day at odds with the brutal nature of a final that took each of them to the limit of their resources.
Wawrinka, who moves up to No4 in the rankings, first thought the title was his until an over-rule on his first serve at 40-30 in the fourth set after three hours and 10 minutes, and Djokovic got break point after a net cord fell kindly for him.
The tired Serb shoved a forehand long and they were back to deuce, Wawrinka getting his second tournament point with a big serve wide to the deuce court, sealing it with, what else, a backhand down the line. It was a finish as tense as the match itself.
It was Wawrinka’s 11th visit to the tournament – as it was Djokovic’s – and a better achievement even than his victory over the wounded Rafael Nadal to win the Australian Open in 2014. The Swiss was seeded eighth there and eighth here, and beat the world No1 each time. He surely is a man for the big occasion now, after years of under-achievement.
He struck nine aces and three double faults with 60 clean winners. That was twice as many as Djokovic, as was his €1.8m winner’s purse.
“To play against Novak is a huge challenge,” he said courtside. “He’s a very fair player but I played the match of my life. My first thoughts are with my team. It’s a lot of hard work and it’s finally paid off. Sometimes they kicked my backside but it worked. That’s why we’re here.
“It’s just immense to beat Novak. I know for him Roland Garros was very important. He deserves to win here. The crowd was amazing, really nice, great atmosphere to play in. I hope you all enjoyed it.”
Fittingly, Wawrinka received the trophy from Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten, who beat the winner’s coach, Magnus Norman, in the 2000 final.