Stanislas Wawrinka, The Boss
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Stanislas Wawrinka is not known for a shining personality away from a tennis court. When he talks, he stretches his vowels and drawls through sentences, punctuating them only with an 'ummm.' Even when handed a trophy, just his fifth career singles title no less, the Swiss wears an expression that screams 'please, anywhere but here.' His eyelids droop, his shoulders slump and his nostrils twitch. Snooze.
But place him between tramlines and arm him with a racquet, and watch as a full-blown metamorphosis occurs. Now the bookworm has grown wings. Now Stanislas goes simply by 'Stan the Man'. Now Mister Jaded feels and moves like Mick Jagger.
On Sunday, during the Chennai Open final against Edouard Roger-Vasselin, the top seed won seemingly lost battles from positions that the crowds in this city were only used to witnessing in cinema halls. Positions that only Superstar Rajinikanth gets out of smiling, with a knife in hand and a cigarette in mouth. Today, at times, Wawrinka often played like Wawrinkanth
The eleventh game of the first set, perhaps the most crucial of this two hour long match, witnessed this transformation. With the game score locked at 5-5 and Wawrinka receiving, he made his move. Until this point, Roger-Vasselin had a clear game plan in mind. Keep the rallies short, don't engage the Swiss in long baseline rallies and approach the net whenever possible. So, having tossed the ball in the air to recommence proceedings, the Frenchman did just that.
Two crosscourt backhand rallies into the point, Roger-Vasselin charged net-wards. His opponent, however, had different plans. Instead of searching for a passing shot, Wawrinka pulled his wrist back and flicked it northwards, sending the ball deep into the Chennai sky. Roger-Vasellin, having watched the ball soar a mile above him and about the same distance past him, perhaps expected the chair umpire to break the silence with a 'fifteen, love.'