Australian Open 2014 Men's Final: Stanislas Wawrinka Cements Star Status

R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IJanuary 26, 2014

Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland celebrates after defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain during the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

Everyone doubted him. Despite defeating Novak Djokovic en route to his first Grand Slam final, nobody believed Stanislas Wawrinka had a shot at defeating Rafael Nadal for the Australian Open title.

After playing the best tournament of his life, Wawrinka topped it off with the biggest moment of his career by earning the biggest upset in Melbourne after a tournament where underdogs ruled the court.

The official Twitter account of the Australian Open provides highlights of Wawrinka's win:

With the win, Wawrinka will now move to No. 3 in the world, overtaking David Ferrer and ranking him just behind both Nadal and Djokovic, according to the Australian Open's Twitter account:

But even with all of this on his side after the first major tournament, questions about Wawrinka will likely continue because of his past experiences in Grand Slams. Even after knocking off Nadal in the final, his performance was lessened because of Nadal's injury holding him back.

Wawrinka was able to cruise through the first two sets against Nadal before dropping the third set and ultimately winning in the fourth. Even with Nadal clearly ailing, Wawrinka wasn't able to hold off the Spaniard for a straight-set win.

Following the match, Wawrinka immediately addressed Nadal's injury and said he wished he would have played him at full strength:

Despite playing an injured Nadal, Wawrinka was dominant in the final much like he was against Djokovic in the quarterfinals. In a tournament of firsts for the Swiss player, he also accomplished something that hasn't been done in over 20 years.

According to ESPN Stats and Info, Wawrinka was the first to knock off the two highest seeds in a Grand Slam in two decades and did so after his 36th try at claiming a title:

Along with winning his first slam, the Swiss player also made an impression on some of the game's analysts. Pete Sampras spoke about Wawrinka's success following the win and said he believes he will continue to remain near the top of the sport, according to

This will hopefully be the beginning for Wawrinka. The win over Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals was a big moment. He got through it, he's now a Grand Slam champion and is on his way.

I think the right person won. He played great. He's got a big serve, moves well and has a good touch at the net—he's the real deal.

After becoming the first man outside of the big four of Nadal, Djokovic, Andy Murray and fellow countryman Roger Federer to win a Grand Slam, he admitted that he wasn't sure it was ever going to be possible to take them down to win one. 

Piers Newbery of provides a quote from the first-time winner as he spoke about the difficulty of breaking through in this era of tennis:

I never expected to win a Grand Slam because, for me, I was not good enough to beat those guys. It is a measure of Wawrinka's achievement that, along with Del Potro, he is only the second man aside from the 'big four' to win one of the sport's major titles since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open.

To win a Slam, to be [No. 3] [in the rankings], both for me is a big surprise," said Wawrinka. "But I think more so to win a Slam, because in the ranking you can be [No. 3] without winning a Slam. But now both are happening, so it's a big surprise.

It's an amazing feeling. I saw Roger winning so many Grand Slams in the past, so now it's my turn to win one. [...] If you look at the 10 past years, except Del Potro, it's only the top four guys who were winning all the Grand Slams.

It may have taken him 36 tries to pull out his first Grand Slam title, but Wawrinka certainly appears to be one of the favorites to continue his success in the near future. With three other major tournaments left to go this season and the chance to take on both Djokovic and Nadal at full health again very soon, Wawrinka has a chance to take over one of the top spots before the end of the year.