Stan Wawrinka’s future in the sport was somewhat uncertain heading into 2023. The three-time Grand Slam champion had struggled with injuries in the previous two years, and began 2023 ranked outside the Top 100. He was also close to 38 years old as the season began. Could the Swiss legend stay competitive on the ATP Tour? This article gives the highs and lows of Wawrinka’s season.

Stan Wawrinka 2023 Season Review

The Highs

Wawrinka’s biggest high in 2023 was reaching his first ATP final in nearly four years. It came on the clay courts of Umag in July. The 2015 French Open winner played superbly in his run to the final, not dropping a set in victories against Filip Misolic, Federico Coria, Roberto Carballes Baena, and Lorenzo Sonego. The semifinal triumph against Sonego was particularly impressive, showing how Wawrinka had reinvented himself again at the age of 38. Unfortunately, a first title since 2017 slipped from the 38-year-old’s grasp. He fell in the final to Alexei Popyrin 7-6 3-6 4-6.

At Grand Slam level, Wawrinka had his best run at Wimbledon since 2015, when he lost an epic quarterfinal in five sets to French stalwart Richard Gasquet. The 2014 Australian Open winner registered a very impressive win in straight sets against the dangerous Emil Ruusuvuori in Round 1 and then defeated the seeded Tomas Martin Etcheverry in four sets. He lost to eventual runner-up and former Grand Slam final rival Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Wawrinka also had a run to the third round of the US Open, beating Etcheverry in the second round once again. He played well for long periods in the third round against sixth seed Jannik Sinner, but eventually lost in four sets.

Wawrinka also managed his best run at a Masters 1000 event in close to three years in Indian Wells. That included a third-round triumph against Holger Rune, which was probably the 16-time ATP champion’s best win of the season. It was a titanic battle, with the Dane saving match points in the second set, but Wawrinka recovered to claim a 6-2 6-7 7-5 victory. He then lost in straight sets in the fourth round to Sinner once again.

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The Lows

Wawrinka’s best moment was also his worst in some ways. A first final run in nearly four years was a great achievement, but he missed a huge chance in to win the title. Alexei Popyrin played terrific all week in Umag, but Wawrinka started the final as the favourite. It is unclear how many additional chances he will have to obtain a 17th ATP title, making the loss a harder one to swallow.

Wawrinka may also be slightly frustrated by how his season petered out after the US Open. He managed just two wins in the eight matches that he competed in after the final Grand Slam of the year. That included having to retire from his final contest of the season at the Moselle Open against Luca Van Assche. Fortunately, the Swiss has indicated that it is not a major issue and he should be fit for the start of the 2024 season.

Overall, Wawrinka can be very proud of what he achieved in 2023. The 38-year-old is understandably far past his best. However, he still produced his best season since 2019, despite so many injury problems in recent years. Wawrinka’s dedication to the sport is inspiring, and hopefully we can continue to watch his attractive style and glorious backhand for some time to come.

Main Photo Credit: Geoff Burke – USA TODAY Sports

Akash Mahi, a dedicated enthusiast of the game, is a recognized expert in the domain of tennis balls. With a keen understanding of materials and aerodynamics, he has contributed to the evolution of tennis ball design, enhancing playability and performance. Mahi's expertise continues to impact both casual players and professionals alike.