It was one of those days for Stan Wawrinka on Wednesday. He looked like he’d rather be anywhere other than where he was: Across a net from a lean and hungry 18-year-old named Borna Coric, who had won the first set of their match at the Western & Southern Open and was threatening to do the same in the second. Wawrinka was moving sluggishly, spraying shots, and trudging from point to point as if the next one might be his last. The heavy gray skies passing over Mason, Ohio, seemed to mirror his mood.
“For sure I was struggling today to be completely on the court and to fight the way I wanted,” Wawrinka said.
Just when he appeared ready to call it a week and trudge on to New York, Wawrinka did decide to fight. As the second set continued and young Coric failed to put him out of his misery, Wawrinka brought out a fist-pump here and shouted a “Come on!” there, and when he threaded his way through a second-set tiebreaker, he vented with a long, “Yeah!” Wawrinka was, finally, “completely on the court,” and he would go on to win 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3.
“It was really important to win this match today,” Wawrinka said. “It was not the way I played on the court, but the way I fight with little energy that I have. That’s the most important.”
For a couple of hours, Wawrinka had turned the tennis court into a refuge from his personal life. That's exactly what it hadn’t been for him last week in Montreal. There Nick Kyrgios, as everyone knows, made Wawrinka’s personal life very public. But it wasn’t the first time it had happened to Wawrinka in 2015. In April, after he announced that he was separating from his wife, Ilham, she issued a stinging statement of her own, in order, she said, to clarify the circumstances.