Stan Wawrinka sets up Novak Djokovic clash in Wimbledon third round
Stan Wawrinka will lock horns again with old rival Novak Djokovic in the third round at Wimbledon.
Wawrinka, 38, defeated 29th seed Tomas Etcheverry 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-2 to reach the last 32 at the All England Club for the first time since 2015.
The Swiss veteran has won only six of their 26 previous meetings but two of those came in grand slam finals, at the French Open in 2015 and the US Open the following year, while he has also beaten him at the Australian Open.
They have played only twice since, with Wawrinka facing a long road back after knee and foot surgeries, but he has finally returned to the top 100 and will take on Djokovic for the first time on grass.
“I will enjoy it if I don’t get killed,” he said with a smile. “I’m quite happy to have the chance to play against him on grass at least one time before I finish playing. It’s going to be a big challenge. Hopefully I can play a high level and be competitive.”
The match will be the oldest combined age for a men’s singles match at Wimbledon since Ken Rosewall faced Barry Phillips-Moore in 1974.
Djokovic, 36, is now on a 30-match winning streak at Wimbledon and will be a big favourite but he will be wary of the power of Wawrinka.
“He took away two grand slams from me,” said the seven-time Wimbledon champion.
“After several surgeries of his knees, he keeps going strong and trying to create some more history for himself and tennis. We cannot forget that he’s a three-time grand slam champion and Davis Cup winner and also Olympic gold. He had a fantastic career.
“One of the nicest one-handed backhands that I have ever played against, ever seen. Very powerful player. Very strong. Very complete. He can play equally well on all surfaces.”