2017 French Open player profile: Stan Wawrinka

World number three Stan Wawrinka has had a mediocre 2017 campaign. Wawrinka is the reigning US Open champion, and he returns to Roland Garros, looking to win a fourth Grand Slam singles title in four years. Magnus Norman is the man responsible for Wawrinka's success, gearing the Swiss number one to mentally get over the line. The 2015 French Open champion has the game to trouble the best players on clay and will be looking to do so once more.

Notable results to date

Wawrinka has a 15-6 win-loss record in the 2017 ATP World Tour season, and he is yet to win a title. The four-time Chennai champion broke tradition this year and opted to participate in Brisbane. Wawrinka advanced to the semifinals in the Australian city losing to Kei Nishikori. However, 2014 Australian Open champion reached his second semifinal of the year in Melbourne. He defeated Martin Klizan in a five-set battle, Steve Johnson, Viktor Troicki, Andreas Seppi and a straight set win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach the semifinals. Wawrinka was unable to win his second title in Melbourne in four years, after losing to compatriot Roger Federer in five sets.

The world number three failed to defend his title at the ATP 500 level event in Dubai losing to Damir Dzumhur in the first round. He advanced to his first BNP Paribas Open final, where he once again lost to Federer in two tight sets. Wawrinka then advanced to the fourth round of Miami losing to Alexander Zverev in straight sets.

Wawrinka (right) was unable to beat Federer in the BNP Paribas Open final, their second encounter in 2017 (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)
Wawrinka (right) was unable to beat Federer in the BNP Paribas Open final, their second encounter in 2017 (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)

Clay Court results leading up to Roland Garros

The three-time Grand Slam champion had a mediocre clay court season for his standards, leading up to the French Open. Wawrinka began his clay court campaign at the Monte Carlo Masters, where he won the title in 2014. He received a bye in the first round, defeating Jiri Vesely in the second but lost to Pablo Cuevas in the third round in straight sets. The 2013 finalist at the Mutua Madrid Open failed to win a match in the Spanish capital losing to his best friend Benoit Paire. Moreover, the Swiss number one travelled to Rome to compete at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. Wawrinka gained his revenge over Paire in the second round, and he lost to big-serving American John Isner in the third round, who went on to reach the semifinals. Wawrinka is currently competing in Geneva, defending his title.

Wawrinka was unable to withstand the barrage of serves that Isner sent down (Photo by Michael Steele / Getty)
Wawrinka was unable to withstand the barrage of serves that Isner sent down (Photo by Michael Steele / Getty)

Best French Open result

The hard-hitting Swiss claimed the French Open title in 2015 when he defeated Novak Djokovic in a four-set thriller. Wawrinka entered the tournament as the eighth seed, and he seized the opportunity to claim a second Grand Slam title in two years.

Wawrinka began his campaign for a first French Open singles title against Marsel Ilhan, and it was a clinical performance for the eighth seed, defeating the Turk in straight sets. Wawrinka needed four sets to see off Dusan Lajovic but he defeated Steve Johnson and Gilles Simon in straight sets to advance to the quarterfinals in Paris. In the quarterfinals, Wawrinka pummelled compatriot and 2009 champion Roger Federer in straight sets. He overpowered Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals in four sets to reach his second Slam final. Once again, Wawrinka defeated the two top seeds to win another Grand Slam title. He recovered from a set down to deny Djokovic the chance to complete the Career Grand Slam. A memorable around the post winner from Wawrinka was one of the highlights of the tournament. The display from Wawrinka on Court Philippe Chatrier was well-deserving of another Grand Slam title.

Murray was too good for Wawrinka in their semifinal encounter but it was a good attempt of defending the title (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)
Murray was too good for Wawrinka in their semifinal encounter but it was a good attempt of defending the title (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)

Wawrinka reached the quarterfinals in Paris for the first time in 2013 but he was easily beaten by Rafael Nadal. However, the world number three was trying to defend a Grand Slam singles title, successfully for the second time. He advanced to the semifinals in Paris last year, surrendering the title to Andy Murray.

The Swiss number one almost surrendered his title in the first round against Lukas Rosol, he trailed a set and two sets to one down but stormed back to win the match in five. He went on to defeat Taro Daniel, Jeremy Chardy, Viktor Troicki and Albert Ramos Vinolas before losing to Murray in the semifinals.

How Wawrinka's game translates to this surface

Three-time Grand Slam champion possesses one of the best single-handed backhands on the men's tour. Clay is his strongest surface as it allows him time to unleash on his backhand. When he plays on grass, he doesn't get that much time to penetrate his backhand as the grass is a faster surface. His forehand is weaker but over the years, it has improved significantly. Sometimes, Wawrinka employs the serve and volley tactic to his game, and he likes to defend from the baseline. Wawrinka is the only player along with Jan Kodes to win three Grand Slam singles title but never to be ranked in the top two. As the French Open, approaches rapidly, the Stanimal is one to watch in Paris.

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