Stan Wawrinka pleased his many friends and family, as well as his tailor, by beating the world No1 Novak Djokovic in four sets on Court Philippe Chatrier on the most beautiful of Sunday afternoons.
The popular Swiss won for only the fourth time in 21 matches against Djokovic to take his second grand slam title 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and 12 minutes, and, at 30, became the oldest Roland Garros champion since Andrés Gómez 25 years ago.
Addressing the media later, he draped his trademark “pyjama shorts” over the interview desk, and said: “It will be in the museum of Roland Garros. You will see my shorts every day if you want. Everybody talks about the shorts. I quite like them. Apparently I’m the only one.”
By denying Djokovic victory, Wawrinka defied all predictions and stopped the Serb’s grand slam ambitions in their tracks. He described it courtside as “the game of my life”.
Wawrinka announced in mid-April that his marriage of six years to the Swiss TV presenter Ilham Vuilloud was over and he went on a run of poor form that he has only now reversed. He said he had to separate his emotions on and off the court since the news broke.
“You have to make sacrifices,” he said. “You have to work out, to be relaxed in your mind, to focus on what you’re doing. I’m still surprised that in two months I can win the French Open, because I wasn’t in good shape. It was a tough, tough moment for me. To say that now I won the French Open, it’s something completely crazy.”
Wawrinka, seeded No8 here, as he was when he beat the then No1 Rafael Nadal for his first slam title, in Melbourne last year, moves to fourth in the rankings, while the Spaniard drops to 10th, the first time he has been in double digits since April 2005.
It has been the tournament of fallen heroes, Wawrinka beating his compatriot and 17-slam champion Roger Federer in the quarters, with Djokovic succumbing when least expected – and refusing to blame fatigue after a semi-final of more than four hours against Andy Murray, completed the previous day.
The crowd cheered Djokovic long and loud at the end, and tears mingled with his smile as he responded: “I can just about speak enough French to get through this – but congratulations to Stan and his family. There are more important things in life than victories on the tennis court, like respect – and you deserve your win today because of the respect everyone has for you.”
Later he added: “ It was not easy to stand there as a runner-up again, but I lost to a better player who played some courageous tennis and deserved to win.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010