How To Play Like Stan Wawrinka?

How To Play Like Stan Wawrinka

Playing tennis like the Swiss legend Stan Wawrinka is not an easy task. Stan has developed his game through years of sheer hard work and dedication. But by using proper analysis of his gameplay and persistent efforts, it is possible to learn the best things from this genius tennis player.

To copy the style of Stan, you need to go through some crucial aspects like his serve styles, shot selection, mind games, strategy, gameplay, racket grip, etc.

Then, with knowledge in your hand, you can look forward to being better each day and reaching your ultimate goal of playing like Wawrinka.

An Overview Of Playing Style Of Stan

Stan Wawrinka is a natural right-handed player known for his exceptional backhand gameplay. While serving, he prefers to have his left hand at the bottom of the hold on his racquet.

He is also known for his heavily angled service motions and high-speed approach to serving.

The serve that Stan has troubled his opponents and makes it hard to return, at least at the beginning of your rallies. 

He is also known for his famous inside-out forehand, which he plays very effectively. He shows versatility by playing shots that seem to be made for him, including all the topspin shots and touches, play, deep backhand slices, lobs, drop volleys, and half volley smashes.

The quiet but focused attitude of Stan on-court plays a great advantage because it gives you an extra edge to play your best tennis game.

Stan Wawrinka’s Gripping Technique

The grip of Stan Wawrinka is unique in the sense that he has cupped his hand very closely on his left-handed racket while warming up before an opponent.

Unfortunately, he also uses his thumb while holding the grip, making the placement grip on this side more confusing and tricky to control.

But according to Stan, this is the best way to save his wrist from injury. 

If you are not comfortable gripping their racquet and can’t keep their thumb in but want to copy Stan, then use any tennis grip that does not have the thumb inside.

For example, when warming up, try and keep your thumb out of the grip. This will help you control more easily because your thumb would be inside most of the time, which would mess with your control.

Holding One-Handed Backhand Grip Like Stan 

A proper one-handed backhand grip is essential while playing like Stan. You need to ensure that your thumb, middle, and index fingers are placed exactly on the racket handle.

For an effective backhand shot, you can use your wrist for power as well as for a lot of topspin. Make sure that you do not use too much of a wrist to hit a forehand because it will give power but less spin.

To get the perfect one-handed backhand grip like Stan, you need to place your index finger in the groove, which will help in developing a lot more feel.

Remember not to hold the racket too tightly because it will lead to loss of control and unnecessary muscle tension. To keep your wrist flexible, apply slight pressure only.  

Stan Wawrinka’s Ball Contact System 

For proper gameplay, you must develop your ball contact system. In addition, you need a strong stroke and good shot placement to play like Stan Wawrinka. If you are not sure about your ability to hit shots, try to copy him in all the aspects of the gameplay.

  • High Contact And High Stroke – You need to use your forehand and backhand for high contact and tight strokes. Stan Wawrinka hits his shots with a lot of topspin which can be easily replicated if you keep your wrist flexible and relaxed. 
  • Control and Coordination – Stan also has a lot of control over his strokes which helps in serving, volleying, and picking up balls. You can look up to his gameplay if you want to find how better control can turn odds in your favor.
  • Short Ball Contact – Stan Wawrinka loves to make short ball contact when searching for a winner; he often uses this type of shot. By doing so, he is saving himself from further injury.

If you want to remain in a position where you can take the game on your side, then you should look forward to adopting these tactics used by Stan Wawrinka. A better contact allows you to account for every smallest margin for error.

Role of Grip Size in Stan’s Game

Stan Wawrinka is a big guy who plays with a big tennis racquet. If you are also a bit bigger, you can also try to hold the tennis racket the same as your favorite tennis player.

It will help you control the ball better and hit powerful shots. It will also help you add more speed during the serve, forehand, and backhand shots and bend your shots through the court. 

Your reach while playing greatly depends on the length of your tennis racquet in inches or centimeters, depending on where you live.

If you want to emulate Stan Wawrinka, you must get the right tennis racket size.

The best thing is that they are very cost-effective and you can go for a cheaper one than his expensive racquet.

What Makes The Backhand Tennis Play Of Stan Special?

Stan is famous for his effective backhand play. He unusually plays the Ball, making it hard for the opponent to make a proper return.

His backhand shot has a unique style of coming across to his right more than the conventional forehand shot of any other player in the world of tennis.

He has a very effective deep cross-court backhand which is one of his strongest weapons on the court, and he uses it very cleverly when going for winners and playing a point at the baseline.

He uses it effectively, and once you start seeing it in action, you will want to use it too.

To play shots like this, your grip and wrist movement has to be very simple and efficient as they are not as complicated as the forehand.

Wawrinka’s Mentality

Mentality is one of the essential things that you need to learn from Wawrinka. He believes in winning and never accepts any defeat easily.

Understanding this trait, he has collected titles and grand slams till now and is still working hard on his career. His strong faith has made him sure of walking on a fruitful path. He never settles for anything less and always strives to reach the top.

If you want to play like Wawrinka, you need to have a strong will power and be ready to face all sorts of unexpected situations.

You should believe in yourself and your abilities as going with this mindset is helpful to develop a successful career.

Only a self-confident player can play better and lift his level when match turns tough.

Wawrinka Started Winning Late!

With 16 titles (only) to his name, including three grand slams, the first one was only in the 2014 Australian Open, around the age of 28-29! His first real success came after he made some considerable changes in his game, including change of grip.

After that, the way he played was completely different and exciting to watch.

Getting late success is not an easy task and it requires a lot of patience and determination.

You may face many ups and downs in your career; but if you believe in yourself, no hurdle can stop you from reaching to the top.

Only those who know how to handle failures can win titles as they understand that their hard work will bear fruits some day.

Like Wawrinka, you too need to have patience and belief in yourself. Being confident of your abilities is the key to success!

Do not let any bad situation make you feel low; instead encourage yourself and work harder on weaknesses. It will make you stronger day by day and soon you will be able to achieve your goals.

His immense fitness level (although it doesn’t seem like it)

Stan Wawrinka is not as muscular as men like Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, but he is fit enough to play long strenuous matches without much breaks. His fitness level is one of the reasons that help him to stay near the top for a long time now.

He trains a lot on court and off it too, to maintain his fitness. His workout routine is different from other players and he also practices yoga to keep himself in proper shape; which help him immensely on court.

You need to follow the same routine if you want to play like Wawrinka. Work hard on your game but do not neglect your fitness, because it’s necessary for every tennis player.

His Serve Styles

Wawrinka’s first serve is around 130-135 mph, which is comparatively lower than the other two Swiss players Federer and Chiudinelli.

Since the Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has a very strong forehand return because of his height, Wawrinka uses a little chip on his 1st serves to bring the return back in play.

This speed of serve helps him a lot, as it makes his opponents uncomfortable and they have a hard time timing it properly.

His second serve is comparatively faster around 110-120 mph and he uses it well, just like Federer does.

Wawrinka’s Solid Backhand

Wawrinka has a big and powerful backhand, which is one of the main reasons for his success in recent years.

He is extremely strong in this part of court and uses it in best possible ways to ace opponents making them run from corner to corner.

His shots have good depth and are placed at the right places on court, drawing his opponents forward to make errors.

He has a good forehand too, but still lacks behind Federer in this part of game.

His net play is also very effective as he comes quickly to net after hitting strong backhands down the line.

The key thing about Wawrinka’s backhand is that he uses it aggressively and doesn’t loose his nerve, hitting hard and deep cross court shots without worrying about a weak reply from his opponent.

Stan’s Lack Of Consistency

Despite of all his qualities, Wawrinka has a big drawback which is his consistency.

He is very unpredictable and does not have a fixed game plan like others.

His play also changes according to the opponent he is playing against and does not stick with one style of play.

He plays aggressively against stronger opponents and adopts defensive tactics to counter weaker ones.

This makes him vulnerable against players who are solid from both wings.

He also has problems while playing on grass court and his game lacks variety, making it easier for opponents to predict his shots.

His Movement On The Court

Wawrinka is not the tallest player (a bit shorter than Federer) but still moves quite well on court, making it difficult for his opponents to pass shots.

He is very flexible and has good reach which helps him play different strokes without much adjustments.

His agility also keeps him alive in grueling matches where others would have lost patience.

Wawrinka does not have the same elegant movement like Federer, but still manages to maintain balance on court and move swiftly to reach shots on time.

This is one of the biggest weapons in his game that helps him win points both with cross court and down-the-line shots.

He does a good job while playing against opponents who have faster shots and plays a lot of close to the net, keeping points short to put pressure on his opponents.

Wawrinka’s Stance

If there’s one thing iconic about Stan (the man) it’s his stance. Like every other great champion, he has a nice wide stance on the court which is actually more important for his performance.

Wawrinka can reach shots from any part of the court with ease due to his long strides and wide stance. His ability to hit smashes also depends largely on his strong base which helps him keep balance while winding up for a power shot.

Having a wide stance also gives a player a better view of the court and lets him move swiftly from one place to another, making it easier for Wawrinka to run around the ball and hit the right stroke.

Note: This article is just my opinion about The Stanimal, based on all I have read and learnt about the champion.

Personally, he is one of my 3 favorite players (being Delpo, and Federer the others).

Obviously, it’s not a complete guide to play like him and no one can actually make people play like him; we all have our own unique playing styles and Wawrinka is simply different from most players out there.

Wawrinka’s Weaknesses

Despite having many strengths, Wawrinka is not perfect and has some flaws in his game as well. He does not have a good serve which sometimes puts him in trouble against stronger players.

He is also very weak when it comes to moving backwards and reaching shots at the net.

He can be hit off from his base many times, especially against players who have better net play and a good serve under their belt.

On grass courts, Wawrinka’s weaknesses are exposed more because of the low bounce over the green surface.

His smashing also fails to penetrate through the grass which gives his opponents a much better chance of retrieving shots and making him run around.

Net play on grass courts is not his strongest attribute and he would like to keep points at the baseline.

Wawrinka’s serve has improved over the years but still fails to bring him many free points; there are times when he falls behind in the game only because of poor first serves.

He is also unable to use variety successfully while serving, making it easier for opponents to read his serves.

He is not the fastest player out there and takes more time than other players (including Federer) to complete one rally; this makes him vulnerable against faster shots by his opponents.

Wawrinka’s Strengths

Despite of all his weaknesses, Wawrinka is still a top class player who can beat anyone on any surface.

His strengths are much better than his weaknesses and assist him in taking down opponents who are of much higher caliber.

The Swiss man uses his all-round game to its full potential, making him a feared player on any surface. He has decent shots from both wings and can slice or hit with power equally well.

He does not have a big serve or powerful groundstrokes but still manages to put high pressure on his opponents due to amazing placement and tactical play.

Contrary to beliefs, Wawrinka does have a decent first serve but just doesn’t rely on it often. His backhand is one of the best in the circuit at the moment and he prefers hitting high cross court shots from that side rather than down-the-line angles which he uses with his forehand.

Clay is the best suited surface for Wawrinka due to his all-round game and weakness in net play. He prefers reaching balls and moving opponents around instead of hitting winners like Federer or Nadal.

He has a beautiful one-handed backhand which is one of the main reasons why he is very successful on clay courts; he can hit angles, slice easily, go out wide to change the direction of play and also take control of the point due to excellent placement.

Wawrinka’s Strategy

Wawrinka plays according to the situation and tries to play as close to the baseline as possible; staying inside and hitting easy shots is not his style.

His strategy is to keep pushing the opponent back with powerful groundstrokes and maintain a good distance between him and his opponent.

He likes to come into the net when he feels that he can finish the point off without wasting too much energy.

He possesses a very good overhead and lobs are one of his favorite shots on clay courts or any hard surface with high bounce.

He is not afraid to play long rallies but prefers making quick changes in the direction of play; this works really well for him on most surfaces due to his ability to use both wings offensively.

Wawrinka’s Return of Serve

Returning serve is one area where Wawrinka usually gets into trouble against top players, especially on faster courts.

His return of serve is not fast enough and he fails to get it back in the court most times; this lets him down on hard courts especially due to the speed of modern day serves.

He usually targets the backhand side when returning serve on most surfaces but leaves a lot of room for opponents to place their shots.

He is more confident in his returns when playing on clay where he can slide into the ball and hits it with good power.

Wawrinka’s Second Serve

Wawrinka is one of the few players who use their second serve effectively. He can hit huge serves when required but does not rely on that too much.

Most opponents are forced to attack his second serve because it carries a lot of pace and bounce; this lets Wawrinka take control of points very easily.

Stanislas Wawrinka is not the best returner in the circuit but uses his returns well to get into advantageous positions even on difficult second serves.

Wrapping Up…

Wawrinka is not an aggressive baseliner but he is extremely good at holding his ground and hitting the ball right into his opponents’ weaknesses. He can slice, hit with pace or drop short like most other modern day players; all this adds to his array of skills.

He has excellent net play which helps him win points quickly after coming to the net.

He may not be extremely fast around the court but he is able to maintain an optimum distance between him and his opponent which helps him play power-packed shots with perfect accuracy.

Overall, Wawrinka is one of the best players on clay courts without doubt; his game fits perfectly into the strategy required for playing on this surface.

He has the ability to mix his game up between power shots and short rallies but is extremely successful when it comes to playing long matches in which he uses all his skills with excellent variation in his gameplay.

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