Nadal is the best player ever on clay, says Wawrinka

Nadal is the best player ever on clay, says Wawrinka
Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka reacts during the final against Spain's Rafael Nadal. (Reuters)

Paris - Wawrinka said the Spaniard had lived up to his expectations on Sunday



By Reuters

Published: Mon 12 Jun 2017, 11:20 PM

Last updated: Wed 14 Jun 2017, 12:35 AM

Until Sunday, Stan Wawrinka had an unblemished record in grand slam finals but then he had never faced Rafa Nadal in a final in the Spaniard's favourite arena - Court Philippe Chatrier at the French Open.
The Swiss, who beat Nadal in the 2014 Australian Open final, was dismantled 6-2 6-3 6-1 on Sunday as Nadal won his 10th Roland Garros title. "He's playing the best he's ever played," the third-seeded Wawrinka told a news conference after watching Nadal collect the trophy. 
"He's the best ever on clay; it's always a tough challenge."
Wawrinka, the French Open champion in 2015 when Nadal lost to Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals, said the Spaniard had lived up to his expectations on Sunday.
"It was the Rafa I was expecting. We saw how he has been playing since the beginning of the season - fit, aggressive, his level has been incredible," said Wawrinka, who had lost to Nadal on the same court in the 2013 quarterfinals.
The 32-year-old Swiss had only one break point, early on, and then never threatened Nadal and he blamed himself for being too hesitant. "When you hesitate on how to play a ball, your legs move later and it's too late. You have to be able to play without thinking. If you hesitate for half a second, it's already too late.
"If you're not completely free... you don't want him to take the lead and play even more freely," said Wawrinka, who became US Open champion last year.
"At the end of the day it was three sets, nothing to say. I can talk about the game, about what I did, about what he did, but at the end of the day it's quite clear."
Wawrinka, however, took positives from the tournament as he had been on the comeback trail after a first-round loss in Madrid and a second-round defeat in Monte Carlo. He entered the final on an 11-match winning streak following his title in Geneva. 
"It was an amazing tournament. Today I lost the final but three weeks ago I was feeling down, I had doubts about my game," said Wawrinka.
"Then I won Geneva and I reached the final of a grand slam. That's big for me but I will need a few days to really see that."Meanwhile, Wawrinka has added American Paul Annacone to his coaching team for the upcoming grasscourt season, the world number three announced.
Annacone coached former world number one Pete Sampras from 1995-2001 and for a short period in 2002.
The 52-year-old, who will work with Wawrinka's regular coach Magnus Norman, also coached 18-time grand slam winner Roger Federer in 2010 and 2011. "I would like to take this opportunity to announce that I have added Paul Annacone to our existing coaching staff to help during the grass-court season over the next four weeks," Wawrinka announced on Sunday.
"Paul's experience speaks for itself having worked with some of the greatest players of all time. His knowledge can only better our understanding of the grass. It's a real privilege and honour to add such a coach to our corner."
Wawrinka will be in action at the Aegon Championships in Birmingham next week before the Wimbledon begins on July 3. He is a two-time quarter-finalist at the grand slam.


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