Lausanne – The Swiss press on Monday hailed the “impossible exploit” of newly-crowned Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka, who has finally come out of the shadows of more illustrious compatriot Roger Federer.
The Swiss, who also upset three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals, capped a magnificent fortnight in Melbourne with his 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win over Rafael Nadal for his first major title.
“Giant,” headlined Le Matin, including a signed poster of the player inside a 14-page spread dedicated to the “triumph” of the native of Saint-Barthelemy, a village which was renamed “Stan-Barthelemy” by its mayor on Sunday.
“Stantastic”, read the “Neue Zuericher Zeitung”.
“Anyone who would have said 13 months ago that Wawrinka would shortly win a Grand Slam title, would probably have been classified as insane,” the Zurich daily said.
If Wawrinka had until recently lived in the shadow of 17-time Grand Slam winner Federer his marketing value has now surely exploded, estimated the newspaper.
“Wawrinka represents like few athletes popular values such as reliability, work, and modesty,” it said.
“The triumph of work, courage and humility,” added the Tages Anzeiger, the other major German-speaking newspaper, of the player who had ironically dubbed himself “the Swiss player who loses”.
Wawrinka, 28, never saw himself “as being top dog” over Federer but just in the running “for the Oscar of best supporting actor,” said French-speaking daily 24 Heures.
Wawrinka was now being touted as a more reliable role model for young Swiss people, who could now shake off his annoying nicknames Ä “Stan the Man,” or “Stanimal”.
“All those who hope one day to reach for the sun without burning their wings have now found their guiding star.”
Wawrinka was also praised for being “loyal,” as he plans to follow his Grand Slam success by playing in the Davis Cup against Serbia at Novi Sad on Friday, while Federer has always been reluctant to play first rounds.
“That's how Stan is. For him glory doesn't put a brake on dedication,” said 24 Heures.
Le Matin, meanwhile, urged Federer to follow Wawrinka's example.
“It's now or never to change his mind,” the popular daily urged, stating that “the maestro Roger no longer has any excuse ... Federer is now ranked lower. His concerns are not more consuming nor more legitimate than those of Wawrinka.” – Sapa-AFP