Let's talk Stan the Man. We all know Stan. We all like Stan. He's that other Swiss dude that plays tennis and has a baby, remember? He won that gold medal with his mate Rog that one time and they had that weird campfire ritual? You with me?
So, once upon a time Stan was in the top ten, but he hasn't been there for a little while now. This really isn't due to too much fault of his own - we're in a totally strong age. This said, Stan has not been playing totally great for a while. He's good, he's solid, but not great. He takes some weird losses. He takes some losses he really shouldn't. Sometimes Stan is not the Man. (Even though his backhand is a thing of pure joy. Can we please have a Gasquet/Wawrinka exo one day where they're only allowed to play with their backhands?)
What people often forget about Stan the Man is that he won junior Roland Garros in 2003. And also, his first title was in Umag, which is, I believe, on clay. The dude is, in essence, a dirtballer. I mean, look at the big result that catapulted him into the top ten - it was making the final in Rome a couple of years back, which is one of the biggest claycourt events there is. (I believe he beat one R Federer en route to that title, and that is no mean feat). Most of Stan's best results have come on dirt.
And this is how I explain the weird score of Stan's match today - he may be playing a little erratically, but he's a dirtballer in his soul. That's where 6-4 0-6 6-4 comes from. There's some good solid play in there, with a little WTFery in the middle.
I like Stan's game a lot - especially his backhand - and I think that if he has a real swell claycourt season, he can climb back into that top ten. So here is the question I ask today - what does Stan need to do to eliminate the WTFery and be Stan the Man all the time?
3 months ago