Five things to know about Stan Wawrinka, Grand Slam champion
Stanislas Wawrinka. Household name.
Tennis types have known him for years, but the new Swiss No. 1 is only now introducing him to the world stage after beating top-ranked Rafael Nadal on Sunday to win the Australian Open for his first career Grand Slam title.
Not familiar with Stan the Man? Here's five things to know:
He is no fluke
Those not paying close attention will point to Nadal's injury problems during Sunday's final and say Wawrinka got lucky. But the Swiss was outclassing Nadal from the get-go and was actually up a set and a break before there was any hint of a problem with Rafa's back. Wawrinka actually played worse after that, dropping the third set to a clearly hobbled Nadal.
Beyond that, don't forget he also beat three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals one year after pushing him to the brink in the fourth round. Wawrinka is now the first man to ever beat Djokovic and Nadal in the same Grand Slam.
And it isn't just at this tournament that Wawrinka has found success. His quarterfinal run at Roland Garros in 2013 was his best result ever there, as was his semifinal showing at the US Open later on. Many have credited a new coaching partnership with former player Magnus Norman for Wawrinka's ascension.
He may have brought an end to the "Big Four" concept
It's strange these days to see a name etched on a Grand Slam trophy that isn't Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer or Andy Murray. Since the 2005 French Open, those four have combined for all but one of the game's most coveted prizes -- an unprecedented run in the Open Era for such a small number of players.
Enter Wawrinka, who joins Juan Martin del Potro (2009 US Open) as the only players besides the Big Four to get a taste in the past nine Slam cycles.
It's too early to say what the future holds for the 28-year-old Wawrinka, but he has the tools to be a contender. Del Potro, though still a top-10 player, has battled injuries ever since his breakthrough and has never returned to a Slam final.
He's done living in Federer's shadow
For the first time in 12 years, Roger Federer is not Switzerland's best player. Wawrinka will rise to No. 3 in the ATP rankings when they come out Monday, putting him ahead of his far more famous countryman and behind only Nadal and Djokovic.
Federer and Wawrinka have a close relationship. They won gold at the Beijing Olympics as a doubles tandem and Federer tweeted out support for Wawrinka during his Australian Open. Wawrinka will never achieve the status of Federer, but adding a Grand Slam title to the Swiss trophy case (the country now has 18 of them -- Federer's 17 and Wawrinka's one) assures him a piece of his own history.
He has an excellent, and appropriate, tattoo
A Samuel Beckett quote, written on his arm in blue script:
"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better."
(Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Wise words for a guy who needed 36 cracks at a Grand Slam main draw before winning a title.
He gave us two iconic Rafael Nadal photos
A possible explanation for Nadal's constant wedgie problems:
(Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
And this classic Nadal face:
(Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Takes quite a player to do that to Rafa. Well done, Stan.