PARIS — Novak Djokovic won’t be obtaining the highly-coveted Career Grand Slam this year. Unfortunately, his opponent at the French Open was just a bit better than he was.
Stan Wawrinka won his first French Open, and by doing so has become one of the elite names in all of tennis. The victory at Roland Garros was the second major for Wawrinka in two years, his previous win coming at the 2014 Australian Open.
Over that time, Wawrinka has had more Grand Slam wins than Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray, or as some say 3/4 of the supposed “Big Four” in men’s tennis. Wawrinka was able to defeat Djokovic in four sets, sweeping the final three after he lost the opening set. It was a career-defining match for Wawrinka, who defeated Djokovic to win his first career major in 2014, and as a result he can now be looked at as one of the best men’s tennis players in the world.
The victory might also signal the end of an era, as Federer and Nadal look to be on the downswing of their historic careers. Waiting in the wings is a core of young talent ready to overtake the men’s game.
Over the next few years, fans will hear the names of Kei Nishikori, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Grigor Dimitrov, Nick Kyrgios, and Jack Sock quite often, as for the first time in 10 years the men’s game is wide open. Of course, Djokovic is still in the prime of his career and will come into Wimbledon hungry for a second consecutive title.
However, the opportunity for new and upcoming stars is knocking at the door, and it’s about time some new blood emerge in the men’s game.