Tennis player Stan Wawrinka explained his rivalry with Novak Djokovic, saying it was one that pushed the both of them to do better.

Djokovic and Wawrinka’s rivalry was the stuff of legend back in the day. They pushed each other to the absolute limit every time they met, and fans were treated to some absolute classics.

Although the rivalry has since died down, it is still frequently discussed by the tennis community. Now it has come to the limelight again, with both players giving their thoughts on each other.

Wawrinka went first and explained his rivalry with Djokovic, saying it did him a world of good competing against the Serbian.

“Novak Djokovic was always one of the Big 3, but I liked playing him the most,” he said, as quoted by Tennis World USA.

“His play suits me the most, even though he has beaten me more times than I can count.

Novak Djokovic: Stan Wawrinka was killing me but then it went the distance
Wawrinka (left) with Djokovic (right). Source: tennisworldusa.org

“I know he fears me, mostly in Grand Slams and I feel that stepping on to the court. He plays at his highest level against me because he knows what I’m capable of.

“(Against Djokovic at the 2014 Australian Open) I started doubting myself, and lost the first set 2-6. I managed to get into the match anyway and made it into the fifth set.

“I told myself, ‘this time I will make it and I won’t let him get away. It is my time’. That is what happened and it took me to another level in my career.”

Djoker Stan

Djokovic also commented on the rivalry, recalling their epic match at the 2013 Australian Open.

“(The 2013 Australian Open fourth-round match against Wawrinka) was another thriller,” he said.

“A five-set marathon match. Stan was killing me on the court. Then it went the distance and it was one of those matches that will remain in my heart forever.

“He is definitely one of the toughest opponents I’ve had throughout my career. We’ve had some amazing battles over the years and this was definitely one of the best ones.”

Read more: Kyrgios offers support for Djokovic – “He thought we were taking our anger out on him”

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