Stan Wawrinka - Cincinnati 2022

Stan Wawrinka reveals ‘special’ reason why he continues to play

Stan Wawrinka has reflected on his 21-year tennis career, as he moves back into the top 100 for the first time since the beginning of 2022.

Wawrinka moving back into the ATP top 100 makes him the oldest in the group, with the Swiss turning 38 at the end of this month.

The three-time Grand Slam champion has revealed what motivates him to keep going after a difficult couple of years, that lead to him having to undergo surgery on a left foot injury.

“I enjoy what I’m doing. I’m passionate about it. The emotion that I get from the fans, from the people in each tournament, from the support that I can get in matches, is always going to be special,” said Wawrinka.

He added, “I want to enjoy that as much as I can because the day that I will stop there will be no return.”

After missing Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2021, Wawrinka fell to as low as No.361 and he has spoken about the enjoyment of climbing back up the rankings, “I think I always enjoyed it. I think I’ve always been passionate about that. I never forgot why I started when I was young. It was to play a game.”

He continued, “[Swinging] a tennis racket with balls against someone, it’s the game, it’s the sport. Even if some days are not that easy, you always have to push yourself. You have to have great discipline.”

“I love the work, I love the process to get there too, so I’m lucky and happy that I enjoy what I have to do to be at my top level and also when I play matches, it doesn’t matter which court, which big stadium, small stadium. For me I always enjoy it and I always appreciate the sport.”

While Wawrinka has commented on the privilege of being a professional tennis player, he also says he looks forward to life after retirement.

“I think you need to see it as the big picture. The day you stop your sport there is no return. There is no way back, because it’s impossible to stop after 30 and then try to come back. It’s almost impossible, it’s so tough. And then you have to see [what is] also tough [is] I’m getting really old for my sport. [But] I’m still really young in my life,” said the former No.3.

“After tennis, there are still so many years to do other stuff, so all together, I want to enjoy as much as possible. It’s a privilege to be a tennis player. It’s a privilege to be playing at that level, to be playing in the biggest tournaments in the world. As long as I’m feeling competitive with what I’m doing, that I feel like I can beat the top players, I’m enjoying that.”

Someone who has played a lot of his career alongside Wawrinka is Andy Murray, and the Brit has praised the likes of Wawrinka on their desire to keep going, “I love seeing guys that maybe are not at their peak. But they’re still out there giving everything, competing because they love the sport.”

Murray continued, “Me and Stan always stayed in touch during the injuries. I mean not daily but messages here and there. We always got on very well together and obviously have shared the court many times with each other and stuff. We always sort of message each other and stayed in touch through the injuries.”

Both Wawrinka and Murray are still in the first ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the year in Indian Wells, after winning their opening two rounds.

Both play their third round matches later today, with Wawrinka facing No.8 Holger Rune in a rematch of their Paris Masters match where the Swiss called Rune a ‘baby’ at the net.

Murray’s match involves much less previous drama, as he comes up against fellow Brit Jack Draper.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.