Stan Wawrinka is a Swiss tennis player who has gained a cult following through his explosive game and powerful one-handed backhand.
The winner of 3 Grand Slam titles, Wawrinka has done a great job of emerging out of the shadow of his famous countryman Roger Federer, and creating his own unique identity. His rip-roaring display in the 2015 French Open final against Novak Djokovic is widely considered one of the greatest Slam final performances of all time.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: Champion (2014)
French Open: Champion (2015)
Wimbledon: Quarterfinalist (2014, 2015)
US Open: Champion (2016)
Highest Ranking: No. 3
Style of play
Wawrinka is an aggressive player who likes to set up camp just behind the baseline and tug his opponents from side to side. He has a huge backswing on both his forehand and backhand, which enables him to hit with tremendous spin, depth and power on almost every shot.
Wawrinka relies on his serve to set up points for his groundstrokes, but he also uses his return to neutralize the opponents' power. He occasionally comes to the net to finish points, but is primarily a baseline slugger.
Wawrinka also uses the slice liberally when he is forced to defend off the backhand side.
Strengths and weaknesses
Wawrinka's baseline game is one of the most devastating in the world, and can outhit any opponent with his booming groundstrokes.
His single-handed backhand has become a legendary shot owing to its power and elegance. In fact, until his Grand Slam breakthrough in 2014, his biggest claim to fame was his phenomenal backhand.
Wawrinka's forehand has improved over the years, and today he is adept at smacking winners off both wings. He is also fairly competent with his volleys, and comes to the net quite frequently on quicker surfaces.
The Swiss's serve can be a weapon, but he often struggles to get enough first serves in. His return is also a little inconsistent; some days he blasts a slew of winners off it, and other days he coughs up a bunch of return errors.
Wawrinka's movement is not the greatest, and his opponents have earned a fair amount of success by wrong-footing him. He is also not too comfortable on grass and other super-fast surfaces, as he doesn't get enough time there to wind up for his groundstrokes.
Wawrinka was born in Lausanne, and has dual citizenship - of Germany and Switzerland. This is due to the fact that his parents are from two different countries; his father Wolfram is German, while mother Isabelle is Swiss.
Wawrinka started playing tennis at the age of 8, and turned pro at the age of 17. He is a late bloomer, and won his first Slam and first Masters title only after turning 28.
Wawrinka was married to Ilham Vuilloud, a television presenter and model, from 2009 to 2015. The two have a daughter together named Alexia, whose name is tattooed on Wawrinka's right arm.
Wawrinka is currently dating fellow tennis player Donna Vekic.
Wawrinka's friendship with the legendary Roger Federer has garnered considerable attention over the years. The two won the doubles gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics together, and for a while Wawrinka found it difficult to get out of Federer's shadow. However, his 2014 success - first at the Australian Open, and later at the Davis Cup, proved once and for all that he was a champion to be celebrated in his own right.
The Swiss slugger's spectacular shot-making has earned him numerous flattering nicknames, the most famous of which are "Stan the Man" and "Stanimal". His performances in Grand Slam finals justify those nicknames; in each of the 3 Slam finals he has won, Wawrinka put up a jaw-dropping display of power hitting which rendered even Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic helpless.
Wawrinka is one of the most compelling big match players to have ever played tennis, and for that reason more than anything else he will always be remembered fondly by the history books.