At each ball toss, if he cared to glance, he could see the words of Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
He’s going to have to come up with something new after beating top-ranked Rafael Nadal to win his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open on Sunday night. Nadal was clearly hampered by a back injury after the first set, but Wawrinka blocked that out of his mind to win 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
Coming into the first major of 2014, Wawrinka hadn’t beaten No. 1-ranked Nadal in a dozen matches, and had a 14-match losing streak against No. 2 Novak Djokovic, who won three straight Australian Open titles from 2011-’13. He wasn’t even the highest-ranked player in Switzerland, not surprising considering he was playing in Roger Federer’s generation.
“I had that quote in my head for a long time. It was part of my life, how I see the life, and especially how I see the tennis life,” Wawrinka said of the Beckett quote.