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Djokovic, Nadal & Federer Lead Top 10 Seeds To Perfect 30 At Roland Garros

  • Posted: Jun 01, 2019

Djokovic, Nadal & Federer Lead Top 10 Seeds To Perfect 30 At Roland Garros

Top 10 seeds through to major Round of 16 for third time in Open Era

History has been made in the first week at Roland Garros. You can say that the Top 10 seeds have been a ‘Perfect 10’.

The Top 10 seeds of the singles draw are into the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam for just the third time in the Open Era. It is the first time this has occurred since the 1970 Australian Open, which was a 48-player draw. The only other time the Top 10 seeds were perfect through three rounds was 50 years ago at 1969 Roland Garros.

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Top seed Novak Djokovic, 11-time champion Rafael Nadal and 2009 titlist Roger Federer have led the pack on the Parisian terre battue, winning 27 of 28 sets played between them.

“It’s pretty unique,” 2018 finalist and fourth seed Thiem said of the Top 10 seeds going 30-0 through three rounds. “[It’s just the] third time in the Open Era, which surprises me a lot, actually.

“Many of the guys who are Top 10 seeds, they had tough matches and of course some of them were also lucky to be in the fourth round,” Thiem said. “Maybe some balls here and there are different and it wouldn’t be the case. But it’s of course nice for the history books.”

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The only players who have not dropped a set thus far are Djokovic, Federer and No. 14 seed Gael Monfils. Djokovic and Monfils are tied for a tournament-low 24 games lost, dropping on average less than three games per set.

Each of the Top 8 seeds are into the fourth round at Roland Garros for the third time in five years. The last time that happened at any other Grand Slam championship was the 2011 Australian Open.

Of the 16 players remaining, five of them are into the Round of 16 at Roland Garros for the first time, led by World No. 6 and reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas. The other four are World No. 38 Benoit Paire, No. 45 Jan-Lennard Struff, No. 68 Leonardo Mayer and No. 78 Juan Ignacio Londero.

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Williams 'far away' from best in French Open defeat

  • Posted: Jun 01, 2019
2019 French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 26 May-9 June
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

Serena Williams says she is “pretty far away” from her optimal level and may seek a wildcard for a grass-court tournament to prepare for Wimbledon after her early French Open exit.

The three-time champion was stunned by fellow American Sofia Kenin in the third round, losing 6-2 7-5.

It was Williams’ earliest Grand Slam exit since 2014 and the 37-year-old now has a month to prepare for Wimbledon.

“I’m working on getting there. I think it will be enough time,” she said.

“I haven’t been able to be on the court as much as I would have. At least I can start trying to put the time in now.”

  • French Open 2019: Serena Williams loses to Sofia Kenin in third round
  • French Open 2019: Top seed Naomi Osaka loses to Katerina Siniakova in the third round
  • French Open 2019: Johanna Konta believes she can stay ‘until the very end’ at Roland Garros

Williams has not played a pre-Wimbledon grass-court event since Eastbourne in 2011.

That tournament is among those she might be considering before the grass-court Grand Slam begins on 1 July, along with Nottingham, Birmingham, s-Hertogenbosch, Mallorca and Eastbourne.

Since losing to Karolina Pliskova in the Australian Open quarter-finals in January, Williams has played in only three tournaments – Indian Wells, Miami and Rome – and has withdrawn from all of them.

She has struggled with a persistent knee injury since reaching the the US Open final last September and she says she needs more game-time to get back to her best.

“I’m definitely feeling short on matches and just getting in the swing of things,” she added. “I don’t really like playing out points when I practise.

“I have some time on my hands, so maybe I’ll jump in and get a wildcard on one of these grass-court events and see what happens.”

The last time Williams, who was seeded 10th at this year’s French Open, was knocked out this early at a Grand Slam was at Wimbledon in 2014, when she lost in the third round.

This latest defeat means her bid to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles continues.

And the seven-time Wimbledon champion admitted she is disappointed by her showing at Roland Garros.

“[If someone had told me I’d come this far] I would have thought they were lying, because I wouldn’t expect to have gotten only to the third round,” she said.

“So I would have been, like, That’s not true.”

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Cabal/Farah Lead Doubles Charge On Day 7

  • Posted: Jun 01, 2019

Cabal/Farah Lead Doubles Charge On Day 7

Top seeds Kubot/Melo and two-time champion Bryans upset

It was Colombian cooking on Saturday at Roland Garros, as third seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah extended their win streak to seven in a row.

The South American duo overcame Leander Paes and Benoit Paire 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 in one hour and 58 minutes, earning 24 break points and converting five. Cabal and Farah registered their best result in Paris in 2017, when they reached the semi-finals.

Two weeks ago, the Colombians retained their title at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome and will look to earn an eighth consecutive match win on Sunday, facing 14th seeds Robin Haase and Frederik Nielsen. It will be the second match on Court 7.

Cabal and Farah are now the highest remaining seeds at Roland Garros, following Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin’s 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 upset of top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo. The home hopes kicked off the tournament with victory over 15th seeds Ben McLachlan and Jan-Lennard Struff, and they would reach the quarter-finals with Saturday’s comeback win over the 2017 Wimbledon champs.

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Upset-minded 10th seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau also provided the fireworks, stopping two-time champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan to reach the quarter-finals. They prevailed 6-3, 7-6(7) in one hour and 28 minutes. The Bryans remain ahead 6-5 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry. Rojer and Tecau most recently prevailed in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open last month, followed by the American twins exacting revenge in Rome.

Meanwhile, German duo Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies extended their impressive run of form with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Nicolas Mahut and Jurgen Melzer. They have now won 10 sets in a row at all levels, following a flawless title run at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Heilbronn two weeks ago. The team lifted their first ATP Tour trophy at the New York Open in February.

In other action, French wild cards Gregoire Barrere and Quentin Halys continued their dream run on home soil, reaching the third round with a 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-3 win over Cheng-peng Hsieh and Christopher Rungkat. Mikhail Kukushkin and Joran Vliegen also extended their magical march with a 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 comeback win over Argentines Federico Delbonis and Guillermo Duran.

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Nadal & Federer Wrap Up Week 1 At Roland Garros

  • Posted: Jun 01, 2019

Nadal & Federer Wrap Up Week 1 At Roland Garros

Tsitsipas plays Wawrinka, Nishikori faces Paire in Sunday action

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer look to reach the Roland Garros quarter-finals against a pair of Argentines on Sunday. Second seed Nadal faces Juan Ignacio Londero and third seed Federer takes on Leonardo Mayer.

Sunday’s schedule also includes sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas squaring off with 2015 champion and No. 24 seed Stan Wawrinka. Seventh seed Kei Nishikori looks for his third quarter-final at this event against home favourite Benoit Paire.

Nadal dropped a set in his third-round victory on Friday over David Goffin, but has looked sharp and made clear that he’s primed for a 12th title in Paris. The Spaniard holds a staggering 89-2 record here and seeks his 13th quarter-final at the second major of the year. He also picked up his 34th ATP Masters 1000 title last month at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (d. Djokovic). Londero is competing in a Grand Slam main draw for the first time. The 25-year-old won his first ATP Tour title this February on home soil at the Cordoba Open (d. Pella).

Federer leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Mayer 3-0, including an epic comeback where he saved five match points at the 2014 Rolex Shanghai Masters. The Swiss star hasn’t lost a set this week and is showing that he’s a contender for the title. The 32-year-old Mayer is making his first fourth-round appearance in Paris.

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Tsitsipas has more tour-level victories (32) this year than any other player. The #NextGenATP Greek’s clay season includes a win over Nadal en route to a runner-up finish at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Djokovic), semi-final showing in Rome and his third ATP Tour title at the Millennium Estoril Open (d. Cuevas). Wawrinka has scored impressive straight-sets victories this week over Cristian Garin and Grigor Dimitrov. The Swiss is looking for his first Grand Slam quarter-final since finishing runner-up here in 2017 (l. to Nadal)

Nishikori leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Paire 6-2 and has won their past four matches, including a five-set victory here last year. The Japanese has endured a challenging draw that included a tricky second-round battle with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and a thrilling five-set win over Laslo Djere that spanned well over four hours. Paire is riding an eight-match winning streak after prevailing on home soil last week at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon (d. Auger-Aliassime). This is his best showing in 10 main draw appearances at this event.

More On #RG19

* Federer: ‘My 20 Years On Tour Went Too Fast’
* Djokovic & Nadal’s Year-End No. 1 Battle Heats Up
* 5 Things To Know About Juan Ignacio Londero


Court Philippe-Chatrier start 11:00
WTA match
[3] Roger Federer vs Leonardo Mayer
[2] Rafael Nadal vs Juan Ignacio Londero
WTA match

Court Suzanne Lenglen start 11:00
Two WTA matches
[6] Stefanos Tsitsipas vs [24] Stan Wawrinka
[7] Kei Nishikori vs Benoit Paire

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Court Simonne-Mathieu start 11:00
Gregoire Barrere / Quentin Halys vs Guido Pella / Diego Schwartzman
[4] Oliver Marach / Mate Pavic vs Kevin Krawietz / Andreas Mies
Mixed doubles match

Court 1 start 11:00
WTA match
[8] Henri Kontinen / John Peers vs [11] Rajeev Ram / Joe Salisbury
Mixed doubles match and two WTA matches

Court 7 start 11:00
Rohan Bopanna / Marius Copil vs Dusan Lajovic / Janko Tipsarevic
[3] Juan Sebastian Cabal / Robert Farah vs Dusan Lajovic / Janko Tipsarevic
WTA match and two mixed doubles matches

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Novak Djokovic sweeps into French Open last 16 by beating Salvatore Caruso

  • Posted: Jun 01, 2019

Novak Djokovic is still to drop a set at the French Open after sweeping aside Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso 6-3 6-3 6-2 to make the fourth round.

The Serb has never lost a Grand Slam match to a player ranked as low as world number 147 Caruso and breezed to victory in two hours and four minutes.

He is three wins away from the final and a possible meeting with 11-time champion Rafael Nadal.

Fifth seed Alexander Zverev withstood Dusan Lajovic’s fightback to advance.

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The German, who lost to Austria’s Dominic Thiem in the last eight at Roland Garros last year, finally prevailed 6-4 6-2 4-6 1-6 6-2.

Serbian world number 35 Lajovic also took Zverev to five sets at Roland Garros last year.

Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas also had to work hard, finally overcoming Filip Krajinovic 7-5 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (8-6) in a match played over two days after bad light stopped play on Friday.

The Greek will play 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round after the Swiss beat Grigor Dimitrov, while Zverev will take on Fabio Fognini following the Italian’s 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 4-6 6-1 win over Spanish 18th seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

Djokovic’s serene progress into the second week continued as he lost just 19 points on his own serve in his victory over Caruso.

The 32-year-old, who is the Wimbledon, US and Australian Open champion, is bidding to become the first man in the Open era to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously on two separate occasions.

Tsitsipas, who lost to Nadal in the Australian Open semi-finals in January, is another potential final opponent for 15-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic.

The 20-year-old beat Nadal in Madrid last month and won his first clay-court Tour title in Estoril.

His victory over Serbia’s Krajinovic makes him the first Greek to reach this stage at Roland Garros since 1936.

Elsewhere, Argentine eighth seed Juan Martin del Potro made short work of Australian Jordan Thompson, racking up a 6-4 6-4 6-0 win in a minute more than two hours.

Last year’s US Open runner-up will face Russian Karen Khachanov next after the 10th seed’s 6-1 6-4 6-3 win over Martin Klizan.

Fourth seed Dominic Thiem once again needed four sets to beat his opponent. The Austrian, who beat Tommy Paul and Alexander Bublik with similar scorelines in the previous two rounds, overcame Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 6-3 4-6 6-2 7-5 to book a meeting with home-crowd favourite Gael Monfils. The Frenchman was a 6-3 6-2 6-3 winner over compatriot Antoine Hoang.

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Del Potro Sprints Into Round Of 16, Khachanov Awaits

  • Posted: Jun 01, 2019

Del Potro Sprints Into Round Of 16, Khachanov Awaits

Juan Martin del Potro and Karen Khachanov to meet at Roland Garros

Two days after battling through a five-set marathon, Juan Martin del Potro did not waste any time in securing his spot in the Round of 16 at Roland Garros.

Del Potro made quick work of Australia’s Jordan Thompson on Saturday, claiming a comprehensive 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 win in exactly two hours. One year after reaching the semi-finals, the eighth seed is streaking towards a repeat run on the terre battue.

The Tandil native sprinted out of the gates on Court Simonne-Mathieu, breaking to open the match. Thompson did well to fight back, drawing level at 3-all, but a determined Del Potro refused to engage in extended rallies and would break right back.

He would eventually surge to a two-set lead, and with a five-set marathon win over Yoshihito Nishioka fresh in his memory, the Argentine was eager to finish off the Aussie in efficient fashion. Three breaks in the third set would see him cross the finish line. Del Potro launched 38 winners in total, while hitting just 16 unforced errors.

A fully healthy Del Potro is a daunting sight as the second week beckons at Roland Garros. He is coming off a quarter-final finish at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome, which was just his second tournament back in his recovery from a fractured knee.

You May Also Like: Thiem Sets Monfils Blockbuster At Roland Garros

The Argentine will next face another big hitter in Russian Karen Khachanov, who stopped Martin Klizan 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 in their third round clash. Khachanov, seeded 10th in Paris, has equalled his best Grand Slam result. The 23-year-old has reached the second week in all three main draw appearances at the clay-court major.

Khachanov, who captured his 100th tour-level match win earlier in the week, is rounding into form in the French capital. He has dropped just one set en route to the fourth round, also downing Cedrik-Marcel Stebe and wild card Gregoire Barrere.

“I think from my side it was a solid match,” said Khachanov. “I think he was a little bit tired after two five-setters, so I felt it from the beginning. And I think that’s what was the main key for me, to try to move him, to not give him some easy shots, because he’s a dangerous guy. He’s going for his shots. He’s very unpredictable.

“And I think I did well from the beginning. In the second set, I had a little bit ups and downs at the beginning of the set. And it was most likely the deciding, mentally, for him and for me.”


The Russian was on cruise control from the start against Klizan, breaking three times in the opening set. He would eventually close out the convincing win on his third match point, converting seven of nine break chances for the one-hour and 41-minute victory.

Del Potro leads the FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Khachanov 3-0, with all three encounters coming in 2018. He kicked off the season with a straight sets victory in Auckland, followed by a four-set win in the Australian Open second round and another triumph later in the year in Beijing.

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French Open 2019: Johanna Konta believes she can stay 'until the very end' at Roland Garros

  • Posted: Jun 01, 2019
2019 French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 26 May-9 June
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

British number one Johanna Konta says she always believes she can stay “until the very end” at a Grand Slam.

Konta, seeded 26th, is the first British woman to reach the French Open last 16 since 1983.

She will play Croatian 23rd seed Donna Vekic for a place in the quarter-finals on Sunday.

“I have been in two Grand Slam semi-finals, so I know the feeling of wanting to go a step further,” the 28-year-old said.

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Konta had never won a main-draw match at Roland Garros until this year.

But, after a superb clay-court season where she reached WTA finals in Morocco and Rome, she has continued to build on that form in Paris.

Konta eased past German qualifier Antonia Lottner, then overcame sickness to beat American Lauren Davis before thrashing Slovakia’s Viktoria Kumova.

A semi-finalist at the Australian Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017, Konta has now reached the last 16 at all four of the Grand Slams.

Victory over world number 46 Kuzmova means she has won all six of her third-round matches at the majors.

“There is definitely a habitual part of winning,” Konta said.

“If you get the chance to win matches back to back you are able to draw a lot of things a little easier than if you haven’t had that. I think you trust yourself a bit easier.

“Like I have said over the last number of weeks, I have never doubted my form on clay.

“It’s nice to be able to get some reward for the work I have been doing in general, which I think translates to all surfaces.”

‘You put friendships behind you on court’

Konta will renew her rivalry with 22-year-old Vekic, someone she regards as a friend and who she beat in an enthralling Wimbledon second-round match two years ago.

The Britain won the encounter 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 10-8 in three hours and 10 minutes on Centre Court – although securing victory was not the only memorable moment for Konta.

“I remember the flying ants – I think everybody remembers them that year. I felt like I was part of a David Attenborough documentary,” she joked.

And she added: “It was such a great match to be a part of, and I feel very fortunate to have come out the winning end of that. It was special.”

Konta and Vekic have equally shared victories from their six previous meetings, although this will be their first match on clay.

“We’ve had plenty of really great battles and, preceding that one at Wimbledon, we had a really good match in the final at Nottingham where she won.

“I’ve lost our last two encounters so I’m really looking forward to playing her again.

“We have practised together quite a few times, she’s probably one of the girls I know more on tour.

“But you put that behind you when you go on court.”

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French Open exit 'probably best thing' – Osaka after shock loss

  • Posted: Jun 01, 2019
2019 French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 26 May-9 June
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

Naomi Osaka says her French Open exit was “probably the best thing that could have happened” and that she was suffering headaches from the “stress” of being the top seed.

Her bid for a third Grand Slam in a row ended with a 6-4 6-2 third-round defeat by unseeded Czech Katerina Siniakova.

The US Open and Australian Open champion was playing in her first Grand Slam as world number one.

“I feel like there has been a weight on me,” the Japanese 21-year-old said.

“In this tournament I have had a feeling that was different to the other Grand Slam tournaments.

“Usually, I find it very freeing and fun but this time I was kind of tense the entire time.

“I think I was overthinking this calendar Slam.”

  • Williams stunned by unseeded Kenin
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Osaka made 38 unforced errors as she lost in one hour and 17 minutes to world number 42 Siniakova on a stunned Court Suzanne Lenglen.

“It is incredible, it is something I can’t believe, I’m so happy,” Siniakova said after reaching the last 16 of a Grand Slam singles for the first time.

The 23-year-old right-hander is ranked as the world’s leading women’s doubles player and won that competition at the French Open last year alongside fellow Czech Barbora Krejcikova.

“Roland Garros brings out my best and I hope it will continue,” she added.

Siniakova will play 14th seed Madison Keys for a place in the quarter-finals after the American came through a testing encounter with 20-year-old Russian Anna Blinkova 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-4.

‘It hasn’t been the happiest of times’

Osaka became the world’s leading player after following up her maiden Grand Slam win at September’s US Open with victory at the Australian Open in January.

At Roland Garros she has talked candidly about how she has felt the stress of competing in her first Slam as the top seed.

Osaka dropped the first sets in her opening two matches before fighting back to beat world number 90 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka.

This time, against Siniakova, it did not happen.

“I had this headache, but I didn’t feel tired,” she said.

“So I’m thinking, the headache is just my stress.”

She also said she felt nervous but did not want to blame that for the way she played.

“I know that’s because everything is sort of new. I have played the French Open before but not in this situation,” she added.

“So it hasn’t been the happiest of times.

“It’s weird but I think losing is probably the best thing that could have happened.

“For me, the calendar Slam is something that I have wanted to do forever, but I think I have to think ‘if it was that easy, everyone would have done it’.

“I have to keep training hard and put myself in a position again to do it.”

‘If disappointment goes from 1-10, then I’m 100’

Despite her shock defeat, she will remain the world number one after nearest challengers Karolina Pliskova, Angelique Kerber and Kiki Bertens also made early exits in Paris.

On a sun-baked Court Suzanne Lenglen, Osaka looked subdued with the backing of the French crowd unable to rouse her.

Siniakova broke for a 5-4 lead and sealed the opening set with her second set point, then broke twice more on her way to winning the final five games as Osaka fell apart.

A double fault on break point at 4-2 in the second set summed up her troubles, drawing gasps from the spectators and leaving Siniakova with the chance to serve out for the match.

More errors from Osaka’s racquet – a wild backhand whacked well long, a weak forehand into the net then another backhand wide – brought up two match points for her Czech opponent.

And she only needed one as Osaka hit another forehand past the baseline.

Siniakova jumped up into the air with both fists clenched, turning and screaming in delight at her box, before Osaka greeted her at the net while nodding in appreciation of the performance.

“If my level of disappointment goes from one to 10, I’m at a 100 right now,” Osaka said.

“I don’t want to say I feel depressed, but I do. I think it’s a natural part of life, especially if you train super hard for moments like these, and then you don’t perform how you want to.

“I feel like saying that ‘I’m depressed’ is a very strong statement. Because I felt that way before, and it’s not as extreme as that.

“So I would just say I’m very disappointed in how I played, and I wish I could have done better.”


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

And so Naomi Osaka’s remarkable run has come to an end – this was her first defeat in a Grand Slam since 7 July last year.

She had opportunities against Siniakova, but the Czech player defended superbly and Osaka simply made too many errors.

The world number one has made great progress on clay this year – enough to suggest that with her power and mindset she is very capable of becoming a Roland Garros champion one day.

But here she felt the pressure, some of it self-imposed. Very aware of the ranking number next to her name, and unable to block out thoughts of a calendar Grand Slam, this time the 21-year-old was not able to conjure up another comeback.

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Tribute: Resilient Wawrinka Records 500th Match Win

  • Posted: Jun 01, 2019

Tribute: Resilient Wawrinka Records 500th Match Win pays tribute to the Swiss star, who has recorded the 500th match win of his career

It has been quite the journey for Stan Wawrinka to 500th match wins (500-290), earned today with victory over Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the Roland Garros fourth round. Wawrinka will rightly savour his fight from knee surgeries two summers ago and feel positive about the future in his ‘second’ career.

Speaking exclusively to, Wawrinka said, “The level on our tour is extremely high and you suffer a lot to get to 500 match wins, trust me! So it means a lot to hit the milestone, but I’m not done yet. Let’s keep working hard and start the road to 600!

“I do feel like I’m having a second career, somehow, since I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to come back. There were many doubts and long weeks on crutches. But I’m happy that I got through that and that I got a chance to compete again and do what I love. I missed the competition, the tour and of course the fans. It feels great to be back.”


No. Opponent Year/Tournament
1 Hugo Armando (USA) 2003 Amersfoort 1R
100 Mischa Zverev (GER) 2008 Wimbledon 3R
200 Potito Starace (ITA) 2011 Wimbledon 1R
300 Benjamin Becker (GER) 2014 Chennai 2R
400 Lukas Rosol (CZE) 2016 Australian Open 3R
500 Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 2019 Roland Garros 3R

Wawrinka first spent 22 weeks in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings in 2008, but his game, centred on his immaculate timing and one-two punches off his serve and forehand were not yet perfected in comparison to his single-handed backhand. It took a combination of factors for the Swiss to return to the Top 10 — the goal of any tennis player, but requiring consistency week-in, week-out — five years later.

“Winning the doubles gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games [d. Aspelin/T. Johansson] was important, as I was able to step up when needed, and Roger [Federer] and I worked very well as a team there [in Beijing],” said Wawrinka. “Then, after splitting with Peter Lundgren, I was on my own for a while, which is something that worked very well for me. I learnt a lot about myself during that period, and also got some help from Severin Lüthi, who knows me very well.”

But the defining match that mentally triggered Wawrinka’s career resurgence came on 20 January 2013 in an absorbing Australian Open dog-fight against Novak Djokovic, who won 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7(5), 12-10 in four hours for a place in the quarter-finals.

“It was one of the key matches of my career,” said Wawrinka. “I saw that I could compete with the very best and that was a key moment for me. Then, a few months later, I started working with Magnus [Norman], which was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Those are all pieces of a puzzle that came together in the end when I made it back into the Top 10 and started an amazing phase of my career.”

Yet it wasn’t until almost four months later, on 13 May, that Wawrinka solidified his position again among the Top 10 elite and entered the best period of his career, which included three major championship crowns — the 2014 Australian Open (d. Nadal), 2015 Roland Garros and the 2016 US Open (d. Djokovic both times) — when he overpowered his rivals. His lone ATP Masters 1000 crown, a pulsating 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 victory over Federer, at the 2014 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, also proved to be a highly emotional moment.

“Winning a Grand Slam title had always been a dream of mine,” said Wawrinka. “But until you win it, it always seems like a dream and something that is quite far away. Once I reached the final in Australia, I obviously knew that I was only one step away from it, but facing Rafa didn’t make it easier. I had been playing very well during those two weeks in Melbourne and that’s when I realised that there was actually a chance that my dream could come through.

“Then winning Monte-Carlo meant a lot to me too. It remains my only Masters 1000 title and everyone knows how tough it is to win those tournaments. Qualifying four times for the [Nitto] ATP Finals is also another achievement that I’m very proud of — being one of the Top 8 players at the end of the season shows that you’ve done a lot of great things during the year. I made it to the semi-finals [in London] three times.”

Today, as a senior statesman of the ATP Tour, for which he served as a Player Council representative from 2014 to 2016, Wawrinka has often used his status for the greater benefit of the sport. And as his on-court performances improve, rewarding his endeavour outside of the tramlines, the 34-year-old is close to returning to the Top 20 for the first time since 5 March 2018 (at No. 11). In the 22 months since his two left knee surgeries, Wawrinka has vaulted back from No. 263 almost 12 months ago (11 June 2018) and once again his rivals are looking over their shoulders again.

“I’m very happy with how I played [at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament] in Rotterdam,” said Wawrinka. “It was a bit of a ‘renaissance’ week for me, and reaching the final, and playing against Gael [Monfils], who is a good friend of mine, was quite emotional. As of now my goal is to play well, be consistent and stay healthy. I’ve always said that the ranking comes with the results, but I never focused on the numbers. If I play well, my ATP Ranking will go up automatically. My passion is my job, that’s a great privilege.”

Wawrinka is the 49th player in the Open Era (since April 1968) to have recorded 500 match wins in their career, and the ninth active competitor to hit the milestone – following in the footsteps of Federer (1,205), Rafael Nadal (946), Djokovic (861), Andy Murray (663), Tomas Berdych (639), Fernando Verdasco (535), Tommy Robredo (533) and Richard Gasquet (524). David Ferrer, who recently retired at the Mutua Madrid Open, compiled 734 victories.

CAREER 500 MATCH WINS CLUB (Active players as of 1 June 2019)

Player Match Wins
1) Roger Federer (SUI) 1,205
2) Rafael Nadal (ESP) 946
3) Novak Djokovic (SRB) 861
4) Andy Murray (GBR) 663
5) Tomas Berdych (CZE) 639
6) Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 535
7) Tommy Robredo (ESP) 533
8) Richard Gasquet (FRA) 524
9) Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 500

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