ATP Tour

Stan plays down French hopes

Stanislas Wawrinka (AFP)
Stanislas Wawrinka (AFP)

Monte Carlo - Stanislas Wawrinka has played down his French Open hopes despite his Monte Carlo Masters title success against Roger Federer, claiming that the sport's big names remain in a class of their own.

His convincing 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 fightback at the Monte Carlo Country Club sealed the first all-Swiss final on the ATP in 14 years and left Wawrinka with fresh confidence in his big-swinging game.

"I did an amazing job. I'm really happy after winning my first Grand Slam to now win my first Masters 1000," said the Australian Open champion.

"When mentally I'm there and I'm fighting, I can play (good) tennis, I can beat all the players.

"I play well on clay. It's normal that I would be a favourite for the French Open, but I don't think so because I'm very far from players like Rafa (Nadal), Novak (Djokovic) and Roger.

He added: "I think the big four will always be the big four -- Rafa, Novak, Roger and Murray. They won all the tournaments since many years and you cannot change that.

"The rankings may be different, but the statistics are the same. Anyway, I will not change anything in the way I approach the tournaments."

Third-ranked Wawrinka, who fired 33 winners on Sunday, lost his previous two Masters finals -- in Rome in 2008 to Djokovic and last year in Madrid to Nadal.

The title was his third of the year after trophies at Chennai and Melbourne in January.

Even 17-time Grand Slam title winner Federer, who has lost all four of his Monte Carlo finals, was happy for his good friend's success.

"It was, of course, a great pleasure to share this moment with Stan. I didn't feel frustrated, I was happy for Stan.

"I focused on myself, I didn't want anybody to feel uneasy. I've played so many finals already, I was relaxed. The important thing was that Stan had to feel comfortable. Before anything else, it was a tennis celebration on a beautiful court."

And after taking a month to come down to earth after his Melbourne title which was achieved over Nadal, Wawrinka will be hoping not to fall into the same psychological rut after this major breakthrough.

"I've been experiencing the best emotions ever during the past year or so. It's incredible. This is why I've been practicing all those years. It's to live those moments."

Wawrinka's next stop is a title defence at Oeiras, Portugal, starting a week from Monday.

He is then entered in the final pair of claycourt Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Rome before the May 25 start at Roland Garros, where he reached the quarter-finals last year.

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