He stole the headlines at the US Open last week, but Stanislas Wawrinka is ready for a challenge of a whole different kind when he plays Ecuador in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-offs this weekend.
“It’s a play-off again for us,” said Wawrinka who defeated defending champion Andy Murray in the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows before setting the tournament alight with some scintillating tennis against Novak Djokovic in the semifinals on Saturday. “I’m looking forward to try to come back in the World Group. It’s really important in Switzerland.”
Wawrinka will go into this weekend’s tie against Ecuador as the red hot favourite to win his singles rubbers, and if called upon, his doubles encounter too seeing as his opposite number in the Ecuador team, Julio-Cesar Campozano, is ranked 272 places beneath him.
When asked what he knew about his opposition from Latin America, the 28-year-old Swiss said: “Not so much. I know they have a young team who is up and coming, but I don’t know them. Yet.”
For Wawrinka, the World Group play-offs not only offer him the chance to ensure his beloved country maintains its status as a World Group nation, but it also allows the softly-spoken Swiss the opportunity to erase the memory of that doubles rubber against Czech Republic in February’s first round tie in Geneva.
The doubles rubber lasted seven hours and one minute and shattered a whole host of longstanding Davis Cup records when the Czechs finally clinched it 64 57 64 67(3) 2422.
So what was it like to be on the wrong end of the result?
“It was a tough experience, but a great one for sure,” said Wawrinka. “To be on the court more than seven hours, to play doubles, it was a crazy match. Even if we lost that match I really enjoyed to be there.”
When asked whether he was able to compute that the match was going to go down in history while he was actually playing it, Wawrinka added: “A few times I was saying to Marco [Chiudinelli – his doubles partner] ‘I think we play a little bit too much tonight’ but to play seven hours of tennis is quite strange.”
If Wawrinka is forced to play for seven hours during the tie as a whole against Ecuador then the South American side will consider themselves to be playing well.
Switzerland play Ecuador in a World Group play-off on 13-15 September. Play starts at 1pm local time (11am GMT) on Friday.