Stan Wawrinka's First Meeting with Roger Federer: A Transformative Swiss Connection

Youthful Memories Resurface in Stan Wawrinka's Fond Reflections...

by Zain ul Abedin
Stan Wawrinka's First Meeting with Roger Federer: A Transformative Swiss Connection
© Quinn Rooney/Getty Images Sport

In a heartwarming revelation, tennis stalwart Stan Wawrinka, now 38 years old, recently opened up about his initial encounter with the legendary Roger Federer. The Swiss maestro shared that their paths converged when Wawrinka was a mere 16 years old, a memory etched vividly in his mind.

This encounter marked the inception of a relationship that Wawrinka described as akin to having "a big brother in tennis," an influence that left an indelible imprint on his career. Two decades ago, Wawrinka, still in his formative years, was graciously extended an opportunity that would prove to be life-altering.

The then 16-year-old was invited to step onto the court as Federer's sparring partner at the Swiss National Tennis Centre in Biel. Reflecting on that pivotal moment, Wawrinka recounted with a touch of nostalgia, "I can guarantee that I was very, very nervous.

He was not number one in the world yet, but he was already at the top, I think he was top 15." Even at that stage, Federer's prowess was undeniable, and the palpable aura of greatness made Wawrinka's heart race.

As Federer's sparring partner, Wawrinka's initial jitters gave way to deep admiration and a steadfast determination to learn from his senior.

"I remember that I got tired after 30 seconds of training, because he was too agitated, he was not breathing normally. But I really enjoyed it. I always wanted to do my best against Roger. I didn't want to miss anything I saw," Wawrinka fondly shared with La Nacion.

Federer's Guiding Hand: Wawrinka's Grateful Journey

In the annals of Swiss tennis, Wawrinka's achievements shine brightly—three Grand Slam titles and a former world No. 3 ranking stand as testament to his skill. Yet, he candidly acknowledges the towering influence of Roger Federer, an icon who cast a long shadow over the sport.

Wawrinka, however, remains resolute in crediting Federer for catalyzing his growth. "Roger represents so many things. He is a good friend. He has been like a big brother in tennis. When I got to the big circuit he was already at the top.

He helped me in many things. I learned from him," Wawrinka articulated with gratitude. Their encounters on the court, both exhilarating victories and humbling defeats, served as invaluable lessons that honed Wawrinka's skills and mental fortitude.

"I enjoyed the time touring with the big three, playing against them, even losing many times, but I learned from Roger and again, I'm grateful for that," Wawrinka expressed, his words reflecting the enduring impact of a friendship that transcended tennis.

Stan Wawrinka's journey, intertwined with Roger Federer's mentorship, underscores the profound influence that a seasoned athlete can wield on a budding talent, transcending the boundaries of competition to foster growth, camaraderie, and gratitude.

Roger Federer