[x-h] Wawrinka joins exclusive club as Djokovic suffers Paris heartbreak
The Swiss eighth seed Stan Wawrinka has gained membership to one of the most exclusive clubs in tennis, and denied Novak Djokovic his own place among the sport's immortals, with an epic French Open final triumph in Paris.
Wawrinka continued his dream run to upset Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in a pulsating title match at Roland Garros to collect his second grand slam crown inside 18 months.
For so long living in Roger Federer's shadow, the Swiss No.2 has now joined his superstar countryman, as well as Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray as only the fifth man in the past decade to snare multiple majors.
"It is amazing, for sure," Wawrinka said.
"I still have problem to really realise that I won the French Open because it's always the same after winning big title; you are a little bit lost in your mind."
The 30-year-old said it was impossible to rank his latest success with his 2014 Australian Open victory.
"I don't try to compare at all," he said.
"For me, this one is really special for sure playing Novak here in final, the No.1 player."
"He won almost everything since beginning of the year."
Believing it was finally his time after taking out nine-times champion Nadal in the quarter-finals, Djokovic had been striving to join Federer, Nadal, Andre Agassi, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Don Budge and Fred Perry as only the eighth player in history to complete an elusive career grand slam.
But for third time in four years, the Serb departs the co-called City of Love heartbroken.
After being denied by Nadal in the 2012 and 2014 finals, as well as in three semis and a quarter-final over the years, Wawrinka crushed Djokovic's hopes with an awesome display of power and precision.
The eighth seed used the same deadly one-handed backhand, surgical serve and steely resolve that devastated Djokovic and Nadal at last year's Australian Open to once again destroy the Serb's grand slam dreams at Roland Garros.
The free-hitting Swiss star crunched 60 winners to Djokovic's 30 and, fittingly, nailed his signature backhand down the line on his second match point to reign supreme after three hours and 12 minutes.
The oldest champion in 25 years said he "played the match of my life" and a gracious Djokovic was full of praise for the victor.
"Obviously it was not easy to stand there as a runner-up again, but I lost to a better player who played some courageous tennis and deserved to win," Djokovic said before vowing to return with added motivation next year.
In addition to his Australian and French Open triumphs, Wawrinka also teamed with Federer last November to help Switzerland to its historic first Davis Cup trophy.
This morning's victory was also the ultimate pay back after he'd blasted organisers on the opening day of the championships for airing an invasive story about his personal life on the tournament's official website.
Wawrinka is the first person in 27 years to win the French Open boys title and then go on to win the men's title.