PARIS – Stan Warwinka is resigned to the fact he will soon have to send out begging letters.
A year after reaching the French Open final, the three-times grand-slam champion will effectively fall off the tennis radar after being beaten in the first round of the clay-court major. Yesterday’s result will see his ranking plummet from 30th to outside the top 250 in the world when the new standings are released on June 11.
His inability to defend the 1 200 ranking points he earned in Paris last year, combined with the knee injury that shut down his 2017 season last June, means he has effectively hit rock bottom as he will be left with around 210 points - good enough for 261st place.
To gain entry into events, he will now have to request wildcards, and rely on the goodwill of tournament organisers, if he wants to regain his place among the tennis elite.
Rather than getting worked up about his misfortune, Wawrinka put a positive spin on his predicament because as far as he is concerned the only way for him now is upwards and onwards.
“When you’re out of the tour because of injury, for sure your ranking will drop because you didn’t play,” the 2015 Roland Garros champion told reporters following his 6-2 3-6 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 defeat by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
“The ranking doesn’t lie. If you don’t play, you’re getting down. I’m going to require some wildcards. But again, if I have to play some challenger (tournaments), I have no problem with that.”
* Novak Djokovic launched his campaign for a second French title with a moody victory over Brazilian qualifier Rogerio Dutra Silva, winning 6-3 6-4 6-4.
In his quest to become the first men’s player in the Open era to win each of the grand slams twice, Djokovic, who underwent surgery on his elbow after January’s Australian Open, looked unhappy even when he was stroking winners past his opponent.
“You don’t always get to feel your best but all you can do is try and get the best out of it,” the Serbian said.
* Rafa Nadal, chasing a record-extending 11th French Open title, took a two-set lead but was a break down in the third against Italian Simone Bolelli before rain halted play.
The pair will return today with Nadal leading 6-4 6-3 0-3.