On the back of his third Grand Slam win, and only another Major away from a Career Grand Slam, Swiss ace Stan Wawrinka made eleven straight finals until the St. Petersburg Open, where he was upset in the finals by teenage sensation Alexander Zverev. That loss aside, he still won four titles on the tour.
With his career back on the upswing after what seemed like a significant lull, Wawrinka’s ‘biggest wish’ for 2017 is not for his own career, but that of compatriot and friend Roger Federer, who has suffered serious injury setbacks in 2016.
Seventeen-time Grand Slam winner Federer, regarded by many as the greatest tennis player of all time, has struggled with his knee this year, and despite semi-final finishes at the Australian Open and Wimbledon – the latter seeing him play two intense 5-set matches, did not win a single Tour-level title in 2016 – the first time since 2001 that he had not done so.
Those injuries prompted Federer, on the advice of his medical team, to sit out the remainder of the 2016 season.
Wawrinka, who would have been expected to wish for a stronger season for himself, has mentioned that his “biggest wish” for the upcoming season is to see Federer back to fitness.
“For tennis in general, (I hope) that Roger will be back at the top with no injury. I think it's always good for everybody when he's playing. And for myself, I don't have any – I'm working every day to try to make the best I can with my tennis career, so we'll see how I can play next year.”
Asked whether he thinks Novak Djokovic could equal Roger Federer's all-time record of 17 Grand Slam titles, Wawrinka had some scathing words. “First of all, we will say, he has stll to win 5 majors for that level, and it’s not granted that he does so.”
World No. 1 Djokovic won his debut French Open title this year, completing his Career Slam – but has had trouble with consistency since, with a surprise early upset at the US Open, which the Serb ascribed to ‘personal problems.’
Wawrinka went on to mention former No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who had been touted to beat that tally before Djokovic. “We were saying the same thing about Nadal two years ago,” Wawrinka said. “It’s not worth it to speak about now.”
The Swiss is currently playing in the Shanghai Rolex Masters, the second-to-last Masters tournament before the ATP World Tour Finals in London, for which he has already qualified.
Federer will return to action in 2017, representing Switzerland at the mixed sex Hopman Cup in Australia, partnered by Belinda Bencic.