Stan Wawrinka was one of the early casualties at Queens Club just a few weeks ago and was the standout casualty in round one at Wimbledon but what went wrong?
Stan has never been able to master grass so this year he brought in Paul Annacone to boost his chances, two first round exits later it couldn’t have gone worse. Stan did seem to be struggling with a knee issue at Queens and did receive treatment in the loss to Medvedev but you can’t put it all down to that.
Stan’s game is quite defensive. He is one of the big defenders on court and this is where his game doesn’t work well on grass.
These grass courts around the world are a fast surface especially on the first week or so of the tournaments as no-one has played on them for almost 12 months so they are slippy and for players who have big ground strokes and a big serve it skids through the court making them dangerous hence why on the women’s side Karolina Pliskova is one of the favourites as the surface suits her style of play.
I watched Daniil Medvedev play against Novak Djokovic for the first time in Eastbourne last weekend and I was incredibly impressed, his game suited the surface and he played very well but was desperately unlucky in the match not to win.
Watching Stan against Daniil I’d say only one did their homework and that was Daniil. Time and time again we saw him go for that serve out-wide into the Wawrinka backhand which is a threat on the front foot but on the back foot it’s not a shot that will extend and keep yourself in rallies.
This still is first set at set point and Daniil plays it perfectly. You couldn’t have played a better point. He went for that serve out-wide into the BH slice of Stan and a backhand slice is a good weapon to have on tour but returning a serve on grass against a big baseline player means you have to keep the BH low but time and time again it came back to the Russian and it basically said hit me on it.
The height and lack of speed that Stan got on that in particular return compared to a forehand return gave Medvedev countless options. Stan is about 2 metres behind the baseline and Daniil could go cross court, inside out down the line or if he fancies it a cheeky drop shot.
After watching Daniil in Eastbourne I wouldn’t call this a shock, when I heard he would be playing Wawrinka I thought this could get tricky, all credit to the young man!