There was a really nice interview with Stan in a Swiss magazine and I thought it was worth to translate it.
Stan – the lonely fighter
Stan Wawrinka belongs to the elite in a world sport. The silent guy from Lausanne talks in this interview about his solo-tour, a wrong image and the feelings for his little daughter Alexia.
Interview by Christian Bürge
The Swiss know him as the second fiddle behind Roger Federer. As a fighter, as “Marathon-Stan”, as Olympic Winner in doubles in Beijing and flag carrier in London. But what concerns this shy man who has the most beautiful backhand in the whole tennis world? This is a try to bring the reserved man a little bit out of his shell.
Stan Wawrinka, you are known for the Olympic victory but also for many bitter losses. How are you dealing with your frustration? How do you let off steam? Do you destroy a set of rackets?
No, in general I’m not someone who destroys things. After the elimination from the Olympics I went home to my house in Wimbledon for example and was near to a depression. I was listening to music and mulled over the situation.
What kind of music are you listening to then?
When I’m sad I’m listening to quiet music.
It seems like you would like to savour your sadness.
Well, I think you won’t change the evening even with jolly music. It suits more to my mood then. You have to go through it.
Are you actually a lone wolf?
Because you are always travelling alone touring the world. Without your family. Do you never get bored on the flights around the world?
No, not really. I sleep a lot on the travels, watch movies, listen to music. I can unwind between the world on the tour and the one I have at home.
What kind of movies do you watch?
Everything which just runs. I’m not a huge fan of Science Fiction but apart from that it can be everything. On the plane I'm watching movies which I would never watch at home because they are maybe a bit too dumb. But when you are along such a movie can be a nice pastime. 90 minutes which you are just wasting and afterwards you don’t have an idea anymore what you have seen.
How do you travel? First? Business? Economy?
All long flights to America, Asia, Australia on Business Class, the short ones in Europe in Economy as it doesn’t really matter then. It would be wasted money.
So Federer is the only Swiss who can afford the First Class?
No, once I also went First Class with the Swiss Airline. It was when I came back from New York to Switzerland. That was after my Olympic Victory in Beijing. That was top, really perfect. But it was just a waste of all the amenities as I was sleeping the whole time. I was once in a tizzy on a flight to Australia and was watching every movie and played every game. But I was young back then.
Do you get a special treatment on the plane as an Olympic Winner?
Well, they know me at the Swiss. Sometimes I get an upgrade on my European flights. But I think it is okay when they treat me like everyone else.
Roger Federer travels with a whole team and his family. Why don’t you do this
I also had my coach with me for a long time. Now I have my physio with me on 50% of my travels. My family also starts to travel a bit more now. They were with me in Paris, Gstaad and New York. My manager joins at the Grand Slam tournaments. Roger always had a large team with him and is used to that.
Doesn’t it bother you when you are sitting alone in a hotel room?
No, I just make my thing. It’s not if I’m spending my whole life alone. For example I’m alone for 10 days and then united with my family again. But I don’t have a problem to spend time on my own. I can bear with myself quite good.
Do you see your daughter Alexia via video telephoning like Skype?
No, I’m not a big fan of this. My little one is only 2 ½ years old and when she sees me she doesn’t understands it. I’m a bit afraid that she wants to come over directly to me when she sees me. It’s the same when she sees me on TV. I don’t want it that she cries.
Is she already asking questions where her father is the whole time?
Yes, she is doing this. She actually knows that her father is at work and took the plane. When she sees me on TV she screams into the screen: “Look, papa is working!” And when she sees other tennis players on TV she says that these are papa’s colleagues.
You are online all the time and write many messages on Facebook and Twitter. What does this give you?
I’m doing this for my fans, for all those who support me. They want to see something privately. They love it when I show a picture of my hotel room, of my travels, of the practice court, of the swimming pool. They get another insight into the tennistour that way.
It’s only an illusion as it isn’t that privately in the end.
Yes, that’s true. But like I said: They find it exciting to see me sweating on the weight bench.
How many followers do you have?
2000 to 3000? Not that many. But nevertheless. (Wawrinka is wrong: He has nearly 50 000 followers on Twitter and nearly 30 000 fans on Facebook.) In Switzerland Twitter isn’t known that much. It’s much more popular in the States, in Asia or Great Britain. I like those new media. You always get the news and see what other players are doing.
Every player does image cultivation. What image of you is totally wrong?
Hmm, I have sometimes heard that I appear to be arrogant. Honestly said I’m quite shy and then it seems like I’m arrogant when I don’t look at the people directly or when I just pass them. I would like to know if the people in German-speaking Switzerland really know me. Do they know me?
You get to read much more about Federer. You get interesting in the Davis Cup or in the QF of a Grand Slam.
I thought something like that. They know me in the French-speaking Switzerland. So that’s why my image there is more accurate and better.
You earn a lot of money as a Top 30 player and can afford many things. How important is possession for you?
I don’t have a house or something like that. Of course it is important for me to have a basis for my family. For my daughter. I don’t want to buy a series of expensive cars. But it’s reassuring to know that I could afford this and that.
What’s the most valuable you own?
My apartment in Lausanne. You have a great view on the lake from there. That cost me quite a bit of money I can say.
What car do you drive?
I have a car from a sponsor and drive an Audi Q7.
What does this mean to you?
I like cars and was always interested in them. I like 4x4 vehicles. I need space and comfort.
How often do you think about money?
I don’t have a fixation on money. I never think when I win tomorrow I get 50 000 more. But there are people on tour who know: When I win I have 3750 € more in the pocket.
Do you already know how you will invest your money after your career?
Sure I give a thought to this. I have many ideas what I would like to do. Maybe something goes into the real estates. But I think I’m about to have 5 more years on the tour. So there’s still time for decisions.
Are you afraid of the future?
No, not at all. It inspires me. I know that a have a few good years on the tour left for me. I want to use and enjoy them. After my career I’m still very young and can start a lot of things.
Are you afraid of anything?
No, not even death. It’s part of life. I got richly rewarded and have the luck to live my dream. Fear is not a feeling which follows me.
What makes you most proud?
My Gold medal, without a doubt.
And in life?
My daughter. A children means a lot of work but then there are the little moments in which my daughter smiles at me. That gives you the strength for everything. When I come back from a long travel she wants to have me for herself. Sometimes it is hard because you are totally tired. It is like a second working place but a really nice one. The little one is like a drug to me. That’s also one of the reasons why I can’t skype with her. I could already start crying when my wife sends new pictures of Alexia. So I better don’t do it.
Source of German interview: Schweizer Illustrierte; 37; 2012
There's a picture included in the article which shows Stan with his tattoo of Alexia's name and hand print