Wawrinka has had a difficult year, doing everything he can to work his way back to 100 percent health. The three-time Grand Slam champion hasn't been the same since his knee required surgery after Wimbledon last summer. His knee even appeared to give him some trouble on Monday, but Wawrinka insists that it wasn't related to the surgery.
"As I say, my knee is good. I'm happy with that. That's really positive to see, but it's been now a few weeks that I'm feeling great," he said. "I feel good, and I'm ready to play matches and win matches."
After a visit from the doctor, the 33-year-old played a lot better, even taking a two-sets-to-one lead. But last year's runner-up at Roland Garros wasn't able to finish the job against Garcia-Lopez, and the loss has some significant rankings consequences. If you're a Stan fan, you may want to turn away.
Projected rankings on June 11th of two players who contested a French Open semi-final last year:— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) May 28, 2018
Andy Murray - No 155
Stan Wawrinka - No 256
Stan Wawrinka won't be able to use protected ranking.— José Morgado (@josemorgado) May 28, 2018
Wild cards will be needed for pretty much every event post Wimbledon.
This is a tough pill to swallow for Wawrinka, who grew irritated at various points today. He has finally been able to stay on the court in recent weeks, and he didn't play poorly against Garcia-Lopez. The Spaniard is a veteran dirt-baller that made things extremely tough at times, but it's not like Wawrinka wasn't competitive. Outside of a lopsided first set, this might even qualify as an encouraging outing for the Swiss.
Speaking of qualifying, Wawrinka will have to be given wild cards into upcoming tournaments (or, in theory, go through qualifying), although for a player of his caliber, he can expect to receive them. But no seeding means he will Wawrinka faced with difficult draws. The only way for him to change that is to start performing at a high level on a consistent basis.
"For sure, I'm going to require some wild cards. But again, if I have to play some Challenger, I have no problem with that," he said. "I know exactly where I want to be. I won three Grand Slams in my career and I know what it takes to do it. And my goal is to get to my top."
Wawrinka, who recently reunited with his coach, Magnus Norman, will now talk to him again about extending their partnership.
"I knew from the beginning that it will take a long, a lot of time to get back," he said. "It's tough mentally, because there is no, since the first day, there is no day off, like that you feel that you don't push yourself. So that's the most difficult part, but again, I think I'm on the right way.
On the plus side, Wawrinka has some extra time to continue treating his knee and start preparing for Wimbledon.
Match point from Wawrinka's loss to Garcia-Lopez in the first round at Roland Garros:
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