WATCH: Wawrinka Breaks Down In Tears After Tough Umag Final Loss

WATCH: Wawrinka Breaks Down In Tears After Tough Umag Final Loss

by Nurein Ahmed

Stan Wawrinka's wait for a first ATP title in six years will have to go on a little longer after he succumbed to a three-set defeat in the Croatia Open final.

Wawrinka lost to Australia's Alexei Popyrin 6-7 6-3 6-4 in slightly over two and a half hours, which effectively ended his bid for the 17th ATP title of his career. The Swiss, at 38, was looking to lift his first Tour-level title since his comeback from multiple knee injuries, but could not build on his one-set lead.

An aggressive Popyrin beat tired limbs and overcame a bout of cramps in the decider. He broke Wawrinka' serve in the ninth game of the final set with a cheeky drop shot and was ice cold in serving for the match. The triumph was Popyrin's second ATP title - a welcome relief after a tough 2022 season.

For Wawrinka, who has pretty much won almost every big accolade in the sport, this was a tough one to swallow. He has battled career-ending knee surgeries and is still showing incredible love for the sport and ambition at his age. He broke down in tears during the post-match trophy presentation after coming so close to adding to his trophy cabinet.

"Guys, thank you so much. I know it's so stupid to cry, but I love this sport so much, you make it really special. Amazing week and I really hope I can come back thank you for the support during the week, thank you for being here and hopefully I see you next year."

Stan Wawrinka burst in tears after the Umag final

An inspired Popyrin had nothing to lose in the final. The Aussie was having the week of his life, beating some of the fastest-rising clay-court challengers on tour en route to the final. Popyrin admitted quitting was not an option despite having experienced a cramp in his quad.

"My quad was done at 2-1. I felt it cramp, I felt it strain. I think it’s pulled, but I managed to dig deep. I don’t know how I won it, honestly. I honestly don’t know. I even told the physio when he came out."

Alexei Popyrin pulled up his quad in the final set

"I said, there’s no point in quitting now, I’m here in the final. If I lose, I lose. If I retire, I lose anyway. So I have a better chance of winning if I stay in."


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