Dubai: World No.5 Juan Martin del Potro has credited Stanislas Wawrinka’s shock Australian Open victory last month with inspiring other fringe players to break the ‘big four’ monopoly.
In Melbourne, Wawrinka finally ended the Grand Slam domination of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray — who had won every major title since Del Potro’s US Open success in 2009.
And the Argentine believes others will now have the confidence to challenge for the Grand Slams. “After Wawrinka won the Australian Open, the rest of the players now believe more than in the past and we just have to wait for our moment like I did in 2009, when I played in the US Open,” Del Potro said.
“He [Wawrinka] gave hope to the tennis world. It’s nice to see other names winning Grand Slams for the tennis world and the tennis people and not the same guys as always. Djokovic, Federer and Nadal deserve to win, but — if you have different players winning the Grand Slams — it’s more important for tennis.”
World No.6 Tomas Berdych and No.26 Philipp Kohlschreiber both agreed that Wawrinka’s Australian Open success could be a catalyst for more parity in the game.
“It’s a good sign that Stan did it,” Berdych said. “He just proved that it’s possible. It’s very difficult and tough, but in the end it’s possible and it’s a good sign that anyone can do the same. It basically just gives you more power to go and try to compete for it.”
Kohlschreiber added: “from the rest of the tennis players, it is really nice to see it’s not just the top four guys winning the Grand Slam titles. It was really nice to see that. I am very happy for him because he is a very nice person.
“His success shows that anything is possible. It’s a great inspiration and a lot of energy to see you can achieve really big things. Just work and try your best and, at the end of your career, you will see what you have achieved.”
Like the Grand Slams, fringe players will also be looking to break big name domination at this week’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Only one man outside of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal has won the competition since 2003 — Andy Roddick in 2008.