Stan is the man in Monte-Carlo
In the first all-Swiss final for 14 years on the ATP World Tour, Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 in the final of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
The 29-year-old Wawrinka captured his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, having previously finished runner-up in Rome 2008 (l. to Djokovic) and Madrid last year (l. to Nadal). With his semi-final victory over David Ferrer Saturday, the Swiss became the 11th active player to record 100 ATP Masters 1000 match wins.
Wawrinka is the 59th different winner of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, breaking up the domination of the ‘Big Four’. In 34 of the past 36 Masters 1000 tournaments, the trophy had been lifted by one of either Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Federer or Andy Murray. The only exceptions came at the BNP Paribas Masters in 2010 (Robin Soderling) and 2012 (Ferrer).
“It’s always special to play Roger,” said Wawrinka. “We know it’s always a strange match, especially being in the final here. He’s my best friend on the tour. We respect each other so much. I’m just trying on the court to win the match. Before and after, we are still very good friends. During the match, we just try everything to win. Today I’m really happy to take that one.
“I can see that when mentally I’m there and I’m fighting, I can play tennis, I can beat all the player. I did an amazing job. I’m really happy after winning my first Grand Slam to win a Masters 1000 so quick. I didn’t expect to. When I came here, for me it was more like a test. I knew I was playing good tennis, but I didn’t expect to win because the draw was so strong.”
It was just Wawrinka’s second win in 15 meetings with Federer (2-13 FedEx ATP Head2Head series). His other victory over Federer also came at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, five years ago.
“Of course, I’m very happy for Stan,” said Federer. “It’s a huge win for him after winning his first Grand Slam this year, also to win his first Masters 1000. To take the opportunities when they’re there, that’s key in a tennis player’s career. So I’m very happy for him.”
As victor, Wawrinka received 1000 Emirates ATP Ranking points and $549,000 in prize money. He was presented with the trophy by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco.
Victory for Wawrinka sees the Lausanne native maintain his grip on World No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. On Monday, he will leapfrog Nadal, Djokovic and Federer to rise to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Race To London, which is based solely on results this season.
The top eight in the Emirates ATP Race To London at the end of the regular season will qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Wawrinka qualified for the elite season finale for the first time last year, reaching the semi-finals (l. to Djokovic).
Wawrinka becomes the first player this season to win three tour-level titles, adding to victories in Chennai (d. Roger-Vasselin) and at the Australian Open, where he defeated Nadal to win his first Grand Slam championship.
The 32-year-old Federer was looking to win the elusive Monte-Carlo trophy for the first time after finishing runner-up to Nadal three times from 2006-’08. The Swiss has won 21 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, with his last triumph coming in August 2012 in Cincinnati.
“I think it’s one of the those finals that I could have won,” said Federer. “But Stan was tougher at the end. I think he deserved it just a little bit more. Clearly it would have been nice to win that second set tie-break. I didn’t necessarily play a bad one, but also at the same time I didn’t quite ever get into the lead where things went my way.
“I would have loved to have won a second title [this season] because I’ve come close a few times. That’s my next objective, that I get to the very end more frequently. But clearly I’m happy that the clay court season started so well for me.”