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June 5, 2015

Stan Wawrinka


6‑3, 6‑7, 7‑6, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English.

Q.  You have a chance to equalize Roger Federer in Roland Garros number of slams.
STAN WAWRINKA:  Great for the first question to put Roger on it.

Q.  And second, there were 32 break points in this match; you saved 17.  I mean, how do you explain it?  Surprise in a way because you both served well, but then you gave so many chances on your serve, too.
STAN WAWRINKA:  No, for sure it's surprising to have that many break point chance, and for me, also.  But I don't think the player who had break point had many opportunity to take it.
I think the server was always finding a good serve or the first shot really aggressive.¬† It was tough.¬† I know that, for example, at 5‑5 in the second I had many opportunities to break him, but he was always coming with big serve and big forehand, so nothing to do really.¬† And for me, the same.
Sure, it was strange, for sure.  It could have changed the match if someone would have made more break.  But was strange match for the break point, for sure.

Q.  Obviously the last two matches now you are managing to hold your serve.  You only got broken once.  How solid do you feel?  How confident do you feel going into the final?
STAN WAWRINKA:  I feel great with my game in general, not only my serve.  I think today was more my game from the baseline.  I feel strong.  I'm playing well.
Today it was tough battle.  Jo is always a tough player to play, especially when he's playing at home here in Paris.  The match could have gone his way also when he had so many chance to take advantage in the third set.  Really happy and proud the way I stayed mentally.
Even when I was really nervous in the third and fourth set, I stayed calm and was focused on my game plan.  And that's it.  I'm really happy and enjoying that moment so far before thinking about the final.

Q.  Last year you lost in the first round.  When did you start to believe it is possible for you to reach the final at Roland Garros and to play well here?
STAN WAWRINKA:  Today.  (Laughter).  Last year I was playing great tennis before coming here.  I was really confident with my game, but I wasn't there during the first match.  I did so many mistake.  I didn't find a way how to not play my best but win the match.
This year was a little bit different.  I was playing great, really confident.  I had quite a long weeks of playing Madrid, Rome, Geneva, coming here late.  Was a little bit different.
I quite enjoy it also not to be here too early, not thinking too much about Paris, French Open, five sets.  Just come here the Friday; I play on Sunday.
Then it's me.  My game, when I play my best, I know I can beat all the player.  I'm not playing my best every tournament so far.  So I'm just trying to focus every match.  I have been playing really well since the beginning of the tournament.
I have been really focused on the way I'm playing, on the way I'm dealing mentally with my pressure, with the way I want to go into this tournament.
I'm quite still surprised and really happy the way I have been playing the last few matches.

Q.  Stan, you won the junior title here 12 years ago.  Do you remember at all how you felt before the final, after the final?
STAN WAWRINKA:  Yeah, I remember everything.  I remember my first match junior on Court 7 when I was a little bit one of the favorite and I was losing first set and telling myself I'm not going to lose first round.
Yeah, I remember playing breaker in the final.  Was strange final, three sets, and it was great moment for me.  It was my only junior tournament that I played that year.

Q.  You were talking about handling things differently this year.  How has that changed for you guys mentally coming into a tournament knowing that you're not always going to play your best tennis?  What have you and Magnus done to really make sure that you bring your mental game?
STAN WAWRINKA:  We have been practicing.  For me the most important it's that my level is there at the practice court, that I'm playing my best game there, because that's give me confidence to come into matches.
Then you have to deal with the day and the opponent and everything.  Today I start really well match.  I was set and break up, playing really great tennis, really aggressive, and I start to be nervous, to lose my concentration, and the match completely change again.
So I had to fight with myself.  I had to then not play my best tennis, but still fight, stay with him, and find a way how to win it.  That was really good today.

Q.  Novak is two sets up.  Assuming he does win and make the final.  You said when you played him in Melbourne it was a strange match.  What did you learn from that match, and how do you feel about facing him in the final here?
STAN WAWRINKA:  He's been amazing so far this year winning every big title, playing his best test tennis ever, as he said, also.  But, again, he never won French Open.  If I have to play him in the final, for sure we both gonna be nervous.  That's a fact.
Maybe he's gonna play his best tennis and beat me straight sets.  But I know we have been having some big fight on the hard court.  We played I think only four years ago on clay court, if I remember, in Rome, 2011 which he was winning also everything.
Can be something really interesting.  I know that he's not always happy to play me when I can play my game.  When I can play my aggressive game he's not feeling his best normally.
So I will have to focus on myself and try to bring my A game.

Q.  To follow up, last six times you played Djokovic, four times you went to the fifth set.  On clay, if you had to choose the surface where to play versus Djokovic, would you pick clay?
STAN WAWRINKA:  Before I beat him on the hard court, yes, I would have picked clay.  (Smiling.)  Now I think he's just amazing player on any surface.  He showed it this year really improving his game.  He's moving well, he's mixing the speed and everything, so I don't think there is one surface that someone wants to play him so far.
Me?  I'm quite happy to be in the final and to play him in the final here if he gets to the final, for sure.  Also because can be only special for him and for me.  He never won here.  That's something he is looking for really, really deep inside.
And for me, first final here in French Open is special, so can be hopefully a great final.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions in French.

Q.  You were up one set, one break, and then in English you said maybe it was due to pressure.  Was it due to pressure or was it due to the heat?  Because you asked for the physician to come, the doctor to come.  Or was it both things?
STAN WAWRINKA:  Well, first it was because I was getting a bit nervous, and I had lost totally lost my focus.  At that level you have to be 100% there, and mentally I "evaporated" due to my nervosity.  I gave him the game.  You know, two double faults.
I was back into the match and he was more aggressive, playing better, and as far as I was concerned, that's when I felt heavier.  I felt perhaps not in my best form.  I was first nervous and then I suffered from the heat.  That's when it was more difficult for me.  I felt heavier than usual.
But I fought hard with the weapons I had at the time.¬† I know what a five‑set match is like.¬† It's always been the case.¬† Well, as far as I am concerned, that is, we have several lives in a five‑set match.¬† There are moments when you feel a bit down, and that's when you have to hang on and put pressure on him.
You don't know how the opponent is going to react and when you're going to be in the match again, and that was the case.  He couldn't be up during the third set, and therefore I managed to unwind a little bit and be back in the match and find my game again.

Q.  Well, it was a very tight match.  Would you say that the difference here is that you won a Grand Slam and he didn't?  I have the impression that you're full of certainty during your matches.  You know where the key is.  That is, the key is if you can play your game, you're going to win.  Is it not the biggest change for you during the tournament?
STAN WAWRINKA:  I can talk about myself.  I don't know about Jo, you know, how he felt, if he felt nervous or not.
But as far as I'm concerned, you know, the fact that I did this before, I won a Grand Slam before, and therefore it calms me down.  Even though I'm nervous, I'm more tranquil.  I know what I have to do to give myself as many opportunities as I can to win the match.
Again, apart from this game, when he broke me during the second set, you know, that's when I lost my focus.  That's true.
But otherwise, the rest of the match I was nervous.  Mainly at the end of the fourth set and end of the third set, rather, and yet I decided to stick to my plan and I managed to hold with the game I was playing.

Q.  What about the crowd's attitude?  They were whistling when you waved to the crowd.  Many people were shocked, former players and current players like Jo.  He said, That's not cool, because people were shouting against you.  How did you experience this?  What do you think about this?
STAN WAWRINKA:  Well, you know, people were whistling when I was playing against Simon on the Lenglen Court, and a lot more than for this match today.
So it's happened to me before.¬† I have the impression that what happened during the Davis Cup last year‑‑ as I said before, I said things that maybe had gone too far.
But I didn't want to harm anybody.¬† I wasn't nasty against anybody.¬† You know, it's about joking, saying a few things several months before the final.¬† But the crowd will remember, you know.¬† They just remember what I said and not what had happened before, vis‑a‑vis the French players.
As far as we are concerned, we have no problems whatsoever with Jo.  With Jo, it's okay.  Well, we practice a lot before.  I was the first to be happy to see he's playing well again, that he's reached semis, and the first to be disappointed that he couldn't win today, even though I must say I'm very happy that I won.
You see what I mean between us, the players, Davis Cup is over.  It's the past.  They have an opportunity to win it again this year and I hope they will do this, because many people deserve it.

Q.  (Off microphone.)
STAN WAWRINKA:  Well, yeah, well maybe there are one or two players I know in the past, players who like then the crowd is whistling against them.  No, of course nobody is happy with that.  We don't like that.
I don't think I'm the bad guy.  I don't think I'm someone who's quarreling with anybody or looking for that type of thing, that type of reaction from the crowd.
I'm here to play my matches.  That's all.  But, you know, it's like when I defeated Simon and I thanked the crowd.  You know, I will thank them and walk away.  No problem.

Q.  If it's Djokovic for the finals, would you say that the rallies will be different?  Because it's not on hard surface but on clay, would you say this is going to have an impact on the game?
STAN WAWRINKA:  Well, to some extent, but not that much as far as he's concerned.  You know, he's so solid.  The difference is that on a hard surface you can hit hard, you know, more directly for the first two or three shots.  Then when I switch on to the "on" mode, then he's so surprised that he doesn't know how to play.
You know, the conditions are faster, but on clay, we tend to slide.  It's difficult for us to have good footwork, so during the first strokes we have to be careful so that the other player doesn't take control.

Q.  What about this thing, to be reaching finals at Roland Garros?  Is it a boy's dream?
STAN WAWRINKA:  Well, you know, my dream was to play Roland Garros, not to win it, not to reach the finals.
To me, the players that did that were mutants.  The fact that I have reached the finals now here is something exceptional after winning a Grand Slam in Australia a year ago now.  And, you know, to think that this is yet another final in yet another Grand Slam, it's something amazing.
I'll try and enjoy it as much as I can, because, you know, tennis is an extreme sport in terms of emotions‑¬† in the good way, bad way.¬† Good emotions, bad emotions.¬† When things go well you tend to forget that sometimes you're really down.¬† So don't forget this.¬† You should make the most of these moments and enjoy them fully.

Q.  Now, what about the physical injuries you had during the second set?  Is this something serious or not?  You were holding your thighs.  No problem?
STAN WAWRINKA:  No, I had no physical problems throughout the match.  Perhaps I suffered from the heat.  I was very nervous.  Then you don't move that quickly.  You feel more tired.  But physically, no, no problem whatsoever.

Q.  I have the impression that this year nobody can beat Novak.  He's a machine.  What are you going to do about this?
STAN WAWRINKA:  He is a machine, that's true.  For the time, no one has defeated him in the major tournaments.
Then, well, you know, it's usually the same type of thing for me.  Before I'm on the court I'm thinking, What am I going to do to defeat him?  I watch his matches.  He wins easily.  He controlled everything in Australia.  It was the same.
A year ago in Australia he had won three matches in a row, and I was thinking, What am I going to do?  But the next thing to do is to play my best tennis, don't forget that my game is bothering the top players, and when I start and I'm in form, I can perhaps seize this opportunity to defeat them all.
You know, it's happened on five‑set matches against Djokovic.¬† That is, sometimes they live what I live when we both fight against the best.¬† That is, we never really know.¬† We have the impression we are never really into the match because they break the pace and rhythm and have answers to all shots.
I know I'm able to do this and turn around the match and hit him hard.

Q.  When you won the Australian Open you were saying, Oh, this is a bit bizarre; what's happening to me?  You didn't really understand.  Do you have the impression this is where you deserve to be, this final?
STAN WAWRINKA:  Well, I still don't understand this.  It's happening to me.  That is, if I look at my career, I have the impression that, you know, it's the finals at Roland Garros.  Who's playing Roland Garros?  You know, I'm going to watch this final.  It's going to be so exciting.
And then this time, it's me.  It's changed in the past year.  This is what I told Magnus.  That is, if you look at the draw, in the past I'd say, Okay, who is going to play against whom?  It's going to be wonderful a quarterfinals, semifinals.
Maybe I thought, Maybe it's going to be me if I can go deep.  It's true, it's special.  I know if I am here it's because I play well, because I deserve it.  I feel this is my role.  This is where I should be.
But I'm not forgetting that this is huge for me.  It is "not normal," because I'm not in the Big 4.  You know, they have all played 25 finals and won so many of those.

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