Stan Wawrinka became the oldest US Open men’s champion on Monday when he pipped world number one Novak Djokovic to claim the title. Djokovic was dealing with an injury throughout the tournament and the niggle seemed to have caught up with him early in the fourth set. From there, Djokovic briefly began conceding points, showing little of the fight he’s so famous for.
Djokovic who won the first set tiebreak 7-1 by running off the last five points, saluted Wawrinka as a “big match” player. The Swiss has won three of their seven grand slam encounters. Wawrinka trailed Djokovic 19-4 in their career meetings, but the hard-working Swiss saves his best for the big stage and he came through with a superlative performance that extended his remarkable streak to 11 straight wins in tournament finals.
As the match wore on, Wawrinka proved stronger and appeared to have Djokovic on the ropes early in the fourth set, the Serbian breathing heavily after some rallies and clutching at his leg in discomfort after being broken to trail 0-2. Wawrinka cashed in on six of 10 break point opportunities, and frustrated Djokovic by saving 14 of 17 break points against him to become the oldest U.S. Open winner since Australian Ken Rosewall (35) in 1970.
The victory was worth $3.5 million for Wawrinka, who is only missing a Wimbledon victory to complete the coveted career grand slam. He is a perfect three-for-three in grand slam finals.
Wawrinka’s efforts were appreciated by hundreds of fans and some prominent individuals, including celebrities and former players, congratulated the Swiss player through social media.
Here are some of the reactions:
— Pat Cash (@TheRealPatCash) 12 September 2016
Stan Wawrinka is the man indeed- congratulations!!! #USOpen2016
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) 12 September 2016
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) 12 September 2016
— Juan M. del Potro (@delpotrojuan) 12 September 2016
— Rohan Bopanna (@rohanbopanna) 12 September 2016
— Varvara Lepchenko (@Varunchik1) 12 September 2016