Federer on Wawrinka: "He's a Fighter and a Winner"

Roger Federer is hoping his friend and compatriot is back in the Top 10 soon.

Stan Wawrinka is slowly but surely finding his form in 2019 after a forgettable 2018 that was more about a test run than a title run.

Roger Federer says it’s just a matter of time before the Stanimal finds his way to the top of the game.

“I mean, he came from very far away,” Federer said on Sunday in press. “Clearly he knew and I knew that he was not ready for the Australian Open [in 2018], but he still wanted to give it a go. I was just hoping he'd get through the Australian Open uninjured, which he did, which I was happy for him.”

Things started to click for Wawrinka more late in the season, when fears of re-injuring his knee finally faded, but he still needed time to find his game with a surgically repaired knee.

Federer, who will face Wawrinka in third-round action on Tuesday at Indian Wells, says he wasn’t far off by the end of the season when he decided to take a long off-season to continue to add layers to what has clearly been a complicated rehabilitation.

“I really feel like he's been back at a normal level, let's say, around the US Open,” Federer said. “But obviously his ranking was low, he was still maybe missing some fitness, you know, that day-to-day match fitness that you need, mental fitness that you require to bring it every single day. I think he was just missing it a little bit. But I think as the season wore on, he only got stronger, even though at the end he didn't play anymore because he didn't want to take a chance, which I totally understand.”

Now a year and a half from his double knee surgery, Federer feels that it could be any day that the old Stanimal appears and snags a big title or two.

He was close in February, reaching his first final since 2017 Roland Garros before falling to Gael Monfils.

The loss may have been disappointing but the 500-level final was yet another sign that Wawrinka is getting closer to bagging big titles.

“I think, from what I'm gathering, if he's in no pain or injury-free, I think we will see a great Stan [maybe at Indian Wells], down the road, without a doubt, because I know what he can do,” Federer said. “I think a lot of Stan. He's got all the different options how to win points. He's a fighter and a winner. Yeah, I hope he's going to be in the top 20, top 10 very soon again.”

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