By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday May 29, 2023
Fans inside Court 14 at Porte d’Auteuil spent the afternoon basking in the glory of Stan Wawrinka‘s swashbuckling tennis. For four hours and 35 minutes the three-time Grand Slam champion riled up fans, then sent then all home with something to remember as he finished off Albert Ramos-Vinolas to earn a record 11th five-set victory at Roland-Garros.
While many in the audience were reflecting on two decades worth of memories that 38-year-old Wawrinka has provided, the Swiss is keeping his mind on one thing and one thing only: the present.
“This beautiful career I have had, I don’t focus on the past,” Wawrinka said. “I’m always focusing on the present, so I’m not always thinking about what I have accomplished, about what I have done in each tournament.
“For me, thinking about all this is when I will stop playing. As long as I keep playing, it’s always been important to be in the present, in the moment with the objectives for the future.”
89th-ranked Wawrinka, who will face Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round, is ready to try to make the third round at a Grand Slam for the first time since 2020.
“I’m very happy,” he said. “It’s been a very hard match. A great battle. It’s fantastic. But now I’m thinking about the next step.”
Wawrinka admits that the fans inside Court 14 played a big role in his success on Monday. It’s an energy he has earned over the course of his career, by leaving his heart on the court so regularly.
They don’t call him Stanimal for nothing.
Court 14 is general admission, first come first serve, and always packs in loyal fans who appreciate tried-and-true veterans like Wawrinka.
The Swiss appreciates them as well.
“I think was special today again to be here, a lot of support, a lot of fans here,” Wawrinka said. “It helped me a lot today to stay in the match and to keep fighting for it.
“I always try to make it special, try to have a connection with the people, with the fans, because as I say, it’s one of the main reasons why I keep playing and I want to enjoy as much as possible. So if I can stay five more minutes on court, I will do it.”