Laver Marvels At Wawrinka's Improving Game; Djokovic Will Bounce Back
Paris, France
by James Buddell | 08.06.2015
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From his Carlsbad home, Rod Laver, perhaps the greatest player of all time, tuned in to witness Stan Wawrinka break apart Novak Djokovic’s game at Roland Garros Sunday and capture his second major crown.

“It was a pretty unbelievable match,” Laver told “It was seesaw throughout, with huge backhands and forehands.

“Wawrinka got himself back into the match courtesy of his groundstrokes. Not just the power, but the fact that he was able to return the ball deep consistently, which is something Novak has always been able to do so well.”

Take the first game, a 39-stroke rally at advantage. Djokovic did well to keep the rally going with Wawrinka ripping backhands in a hard-fought hold.

“Wawrinka has always had a great backhand and serve, but he didn’t have a forehand and I am certain that he has worked hard on that over the past 18 months,” said Laver. “He has become stronger and learned to be harder in playing under pressure. Now he seems to be playing unbelievably well.”

Wawrinka triumphed 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 to add to his 2014 Australian Open title. He hit 62 aces overall in his seven matches, and ranked in the Top 2 for first and second service points won.

Laver admitted, “Djokovic can feel a little unlucky, as the quality of his game was high. He had a great patch, but he couldn’t withstand Wawrinka.”

For all of Djokovic’s recent dominance – 49-3 match record since the birth of his son, Stefan, on 21 October 2014 – the record books show that he has lost six of his past nine major championship finals.

But Laver, the 1962 and 1969 Grand Slam champion, doesn’t expect the World No. 1 to dwell on Sunday’s defeat too long. Although it denied Djokovic the full set of all four major championships.

Nadal“I wouldn’t think it will take him long to bounce back from this loss,” said the 76-year-old Australian. “I never had a letdown, because I never felt that way. It’s a mental choice.

“Enjoying a win is one thing, but if you lose there is always a tournament next week. It’s a downer to lose a match that was very close, particularly as Djokovic has been close to winning the title two or three times.

“Novak has a great game. He is so consistent and plays well under pressure. His flexibility and incredible fitness level are among the reasons why he is at the top of the sport.”

By clinching the Roland Garros title, Wawrinka jumped five spots to No. 4 in the Emirates ATP Rankings today, which sees the start of an extended grass-court swing on the ATP World Tour.

The Swiss will switch his focus to grass at next week’s Aegon Championships, at The Queen’s Club in London.

Last year, Wawrinka reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals – his best performance on his 10th appearance at the All England Club. Laver sees no reason why he can’t improve upon that result.  

“I think grass should be right up Wawrinka’s alley. His serve is perfect and he volleys well, so I expect him to do well at Wimbledon.”

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