The 34-year-old Swiss has received three main titles — and so they all got here towards members of the Large Three.
Guess what? He is nonetheless right here.
On Sunday evening in New York, Wawrinka struck once more, gorgeous the world No. 1 and defending US Open champion Djokovic 6-Four, 7-5, 2-1 to advance to the quarterfinals. It was a rematch of the 2016 US Open closing, which Wawrinka received in 4 units.
Djokovic, who has been battling a left shoulder harm, elected to retire within the third set when Wawrinka was main by a break, eliciting boos from the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd.
“It is by no means the way in which you need to end a match,” Wawrinka mentioned on court docket. “I am actually sorry for Novak. He is pal. He is a tremendous champion. We have performed some superb battles all my profession. I really feel sorry for him. I need to preserve my stage (from) tonight. I believe I used to be taking part in tremendous good tennis. I’m pleased to be again.”
With the loss, the Serb, who received the Australian Open and Wimbledon earlier this yr for his 15th and 16th main titles, did not get nearer to Nadal’s 18 titles and Federer’s 20 on the all-time males’s checklist. He had not misplaced earlier than the quarterfinals in New York since 2006, when he was 19 years outdated.
“It is no secret that I’ve, you already know, after all want and a objective to succeed in probably the most slams, you already know, and attain Roger’s report,” Djokovic, 32, mentioned. “However on the similar time, it is a lengthy highway forward hopefully for me. I hope I can play for a lot of extra years. I am planning to. I imply, I do not see an finish behind the nook in any respect.
“Now it is a matter of conserving my physique and thoughts in form and making an attempt to nonetheless peak at these sort of occasions which might be majors and which might be probably the most important in our sport.”
‘Analysis is to come back’
Djokovic confirmed to reporters it was the left shoulder, which has been bothering him for a few weeks, that compelled him to retire.
“Analysis is to come back,” Djokovic mentioned. “Clearly I did plenty of completely different therapies and diagnostics and all the pieces within the final couple weeks. I clearly must do it once more and see how the shoulder reacts.”
Djokovic was requested if he would play once more this yr.
“Clearly, not taking part in goes to assist pace up restoration,” he mentioned. “I am planning to play Tokyo, and hopefully I am going to give you the chance to take action.”
Wawrinka, in the meantime, underwent two knee surgical procedures in 2017 and has been working his means again up the rankings since. Presently he is ranked 24th and is the No. 23 seed within the US Open. His profession excessive was No. Three, again in 2014.
“It has been actually robust since my surgical procedure,” Wawrinka mentioned. “It took me two years now to be again at that stage. Final time I entered this court docket was final yr. I wasn’t actually prepared but it surely’s been superb to be again this yr at that stage. The environment is all the time one thing particular to play an evening session.”
Uncharacteristic errors from the world No. 1
After Wawrinka received the primary set, Djokovic raced to a Three-Zero second-set lead. However the Swiss put Djokovic by lengthy, hard-hitting rallies, resulting in errors not usually seen from the world No. 1. After dropping the second set, the coach labored on Djokovic’s shoulder.
As soon as Djokovic double-faulted to provide the break to Wawrinka early within the third set, he was achieved. On the time of his retirement, Djokovic had 35 unforced errors.
“The ache was fixed for weeks now,” Djokovic mentioned to reporters. “Some days greater; some days with much less depth and clearly taking completely different stuff to kill the ache immediately. Generally it really works; generally it would not. You simply know when you already know, I suppose, while you really feel such as you’re not in a position to hit the shot anymore.”
Wawrinka, in the meantime, received 84% of his first-serve factors at 32 of 38 towards arguably the very best returner within the sport.
Wawrinka’s report towards those that have been ranked No. 1, at 5-21, would not initially look spectacular. However after an Zero-15 begin, he is gone 5-6 since, together with defeating Andy Murray on the 2017 French Open semifinals; Djokovic on the 2015 French Open closing and 2016 US Open closing; and towards Nadal on the 2014 Australian Open closing.
His head-to-head report towards Djokovic is now 6-19.
“I used to be feeling good on the court docket,” Wawrinka mentioned. “I used to be taking part in properly. The extra the match was going, higher I used to be taking part in, I used to be hitting actually laborious the ball. I used to be feeling nice on the court docket. That is crucial.
“For certain I might see some little factor that (Djokovic) was in hassle. However I used to be most probably, more often than not, targeted on myself as a result of I understand how properly he can combat. I understand how properly he can come again. Would not matter how he is feeling on the court docket, and that is what I used to be specializing in.”