September 30, 2020
There’s no finer sight in tennis than Stan Wawrinka unleashing a backhand.
The effortless single-handed swish, the unparalleled power, a timeless shot, pinged with such poise and balance.
The fans on Suzanne-Lenglen couldn’t get enough of Wawrinka and his magic.
We know it can’t last forever. But Stan rolled back the years on his favourite clay and came up with a vintage display.
There was a brief lull against Germany’s Dominik Koepfer. But Super Stan was soon back with a bang.
He was simply enjoying himself too much to be denied for long. Before we knew it, another trademark backhand brought up match point.
The ball flew unerringly, as though honoured to have been sent on its way by such a master of his art.
And of course it’s too easy to forget that Wawrinka also possesses a thumping forehand, punishing enough to suppress an opponent’s hopes on command.
That’s how Stan the Man converted his very first match point to close out 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.
Wawrinka didn’t need to speak because his happiness was written all over his face.
The Roland Garros crowd gave him a standing ovation. They knew they had witnessed something special.
Wawrinka may only be seeded 16. But the former champion is playing much, much better than that.
How we would love to see Stan play his best tennis at Wimbledon 2021 too!
For now we can all just feel happy about what we are witnessing in Paris.
The great Rafael Nadal was also in his element. He lost just four games in a convincing 6-1, 6-0, 6-3 victory over Mackenzie McDonald.
The crowd on Philippe-Chatrier lapped up every moment. They cheered the underdog too.
Especially when the young American won the longest rally of the match, a 22-shot extravaganza.
But McDonald was no match for Rafa’s power. Nadal has shaken off the rust. He is playing like a champion once more.
At 34, Nadal is year younger than Wawrinka. But he’s already a legend at every Grand Slam venue
We can’t wait to welcome such a magnificent former champion back to the All England for Wimbledon 2021.
Serena Williams will surely be there too. She’s had to pull out of Roland Garros due to an achilles injury she picked up in New York.
But a good rest between now and Australia should leave her refreshed and ready for one last big push in 2021.
‘My body is actually doing really well and I’m so close to some things,’ she said. ‘Like, I’m almost there. That’s what keeps me going.’
One more Grand Slam title will draw Serena level with Margaret Court.
How fitting would it be for Serena to make more history at the spiritual home of tennis, on Centre Court, Wimbledon?
Whatever happens, we hope to see you there.