Novak Djokovic believes 2016 US Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka deserves to be mentioned in the mix of top tennis players.
The Swiss defeated Djokovic 6-7, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 in the Men's singles final to clinch the crown at the Flushing Meadows on Monday. With three grand slam titles, Wawrinka has been able to break the dominance of Big Four, comprising the quartet of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer Andy Murray and the Serb, who have shared 46 major titles among them.
Wawrinka won his first majors title at the 2014 Australian Open defeating Djokovic en route to the finals of the tournament. At the 2015 French Open, the 31-year-old encountered his familiar foe in the final and outclassed him this time on clay to win his second grand slam title.
With Monday's win, the world number three maintained his 100% record in grand slam finals. He also extended his streak of consecutive wins in tournament finals to 11. Wawrinka had to fight draining battles on his way to the final at Flushing Meadows and the final encounter against the world number one player was no different.
After winning the first set Djokovic was all set to go the distance to clinch his third grand slam title of the year following his victories at the Australian Open and French Open in 2016. But Wawrinka came up with a spirited fightback and took the battle to his opponent, who was looking worn out during the final stages of the match.
"Well, I mean, he deserves to be in the mix, no doubt about it. Stan won three Grand Slams now and three different ones; Olympic medal. Been around for so many years, and he plays best in the big matches," Djokovic said after the final, as quoted by US Open's official website.
"He loves to play in the big matches. He comes up with his best game. He is so solid from both corners. He has got a good slice and amazing one-handed backhand, all corners. Big serve. Moves well. He is a complete player. Sometimes if he feels right he does not miss much and makes a lot of winners and it's hard to play him. That's what happened today."
Speaking of his performances in 2016, he added: "Well, winning four Grand Slams in a row for me was an incredible achievement. I am very proud of it, so this loss today cannot overshadow the great moments I have had in Australia and especially in Paris. So winning two out of four Grand Slams is pretty good year, and playing another final. I have no complaints."
On the other hand, Wawrinka himself feels he is not ready yet to make his way into the Big Five and instead wants to focus on winning more titles in his career. The right-hander reveals he does not think about becoming the top-ranked tennis player.
"Novak is always so nice with me. I love him. He's a good friend. He always say a lot of nice thing about me," Wawrinka said.
"The Big Four, I'm really far from them. Just look the tournament they won, how many years they been there. If you look, yes, I have three Grand Slams."