A short, chip return to the backhand and Boom; Stanislas Wawrinka has for years feasted on that short ball to his back hand, but yesterday was different. The gazelle like backhand swing seemed like a pained motion, a motion that Wawrinka wasn’t even willing to make.
‘Stanimal’ didn’t quite make an appearance on Centre Court last night. An impostor instead took the stage against the fiery Medvedev, going through the paces without much intensity, without any purpose.
The first set was like an anomaly as despite breezing through the first two games, Wawrinka seemed like a man who was forced to exist on Centre Court. The serve wasn’t there, the forehand didn’t have the ‘zip’ and the backhand was on a vacation.
Normalcy returned in the 2nd set as Wawrinka started to feel the ball a little better but as soon as it was done, the ice pack came out and the metaphorical British rain had set in.
Wawrinka refused to move in the next two sets. His knee had given up and so had his desire to win. He strolled across, patted Medvedev for his brilliance and then made his way into the dark.
Stan seemed distraught in the post match presser, confirming that it was his knee that was forcing him to behave in this unusual way on court.
Wawrinka had knee problems in Australia as well, but they were now in full force on grass.
“I had some problem with the knee with Queen’s, so that was not the way I wanted to get ready for this tournament,” Wawrinka said.
He was out in the first round in Queen’s, falling to the eventual winner Feliciano Lopez, and wasn’t quite ready for Wimbledon.
“I wasn’t feeling the way I wanted to feel. But I played against a great player who I think was confident today, was playing well, was playing faster. It was a tough loss.” Wawrinka added.
Stan didn’t make the entire post match presser about his knees, bringing to the fore his opponent’s qualities and how that forced him to play in a subdued manner.
“He is a really good player. I was expecting a tough match. I saw him play the last couple of weeks and how well he is playing on grass. He is playing a fast and fat ball. He is moving quite smoothly, he loves the grass. He’s a really dangerous player” Wawrinka said.
Wawrinka also said that he was going to asses his situation now and see what he would do about his knee issue.
Medvedev was ecstatic after his win, saying that he had never dreamt of playing on centre-court was extremely pleased with the way he played today.
“I have no words to describe this. I guess this memory will be with me forever,” Medvedev said.
“It was just something special. I don’t know how to explain it” he added.
Medvedev now faces 124th-ranked Belgian Ruben Bemelmans in the second round.