Melbourne, VC, Australia (4E Sports) – Stanislas Wawrinka defeated an injured Rafael Nadal, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, to win the Australian Open men’s singles championship in Melbourne.
It was the first Grand Slam title in his first major final at age 28 for Wawrinka, who had never won a set from and was 0-12 against Nadal coming into the match.
Wawrinka will rise to a career-best No. 3 on Monday, replacing fellow Swiss Roger Federer, who drops to No. 8.
Battling a blister on his left palm all week, Nadal was down a break and a set when his back began to bother him.
He took an injury timeout that prompted a protest from Wawrinka, who grew frustrated and lost his concentration as the Spaniard returned to court to win the third set.
Nadal said his back bothered him during the warmup and grew worse as the first set ended. “The second [set] was the key moment that I felt, during a serve in a very bad moment, it [was] very stiff.”
The Spaniard added that the last thing he wanted to do was to retire from the match.
“I hate to do that, especially in a final,” he quipped.
“Rafa, I’m really sorry for you, I hope your back is going to be fine, you’re a really great guy, good friend and really amazing champion,” said Wawrinka during trophy ceremony.
Nadal leaves Australia without his 14th Grand Slam title and without becoming the first man to win each of the four Grand Slam tournaments twice in the Open era. Australia is, he noted,”not very lucky” for him. He has won only once, in 2009.