Wawrinka, the man who understood Beckett

Wawrinka, the man who understood Beckett

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
You always tried. You always failed. Never mind. Try again. It fails again. Fail better.

The phrase first appeared in “Heading for Worse,” a text Samuel Beckett wrote in 1983. Thirty years later, Stanislas Wawrinka had it tattooed on his left arm.

Beckett’s phrase became a mantra for entrepreneurs. “The only failure is not trying” would be the essence of the message that Elon Musk, Richard Branson, among others, adopted. But this does not seem to be the intention of Beckett, known mainly for “Waiting for Godot”, a play that theorizes about the absurdity of human life.

“This vitalism and optimism that he wants to give him has nothing to do with Beckett,” María Jesús López, professor of English Philology, told El País in 2016. Beckett’s text, “Heading for worse,” is literal in his Title: “Part of the inevitability of failure. There is resistance within that emptiness, that existential pessimism ”.

In 2013, Wawrinka was 28 years old, he had been the standard-bearer for Switzerland at the London 2012 Olympics, he was showing talent, he had stepped on the Top 10 but his showcases were skinny: three ATP titles and the Gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, in doubles with Roger Federer.

In addition to tattooing those six hypnotic prayers, he sought out Magnus Norman as a coach, who had led Soderling to his two Roland Garros finals.

“My wife wanted to have children, so I had to stay home. The agent (from Wawrinka) called me and tried to convince me to work a couple of weeks with him. After saying no several times, in the end I relented. I spent a week of preseason in Switzerland with him and I really enjoyed working with him. Stan has a very different personality than Robin and we fit in from minute one. The following week Portugal won and the second week reached its first Masters final in Madrid. You could tell that he trusted my advice, you could say that it was a positive start and that I was a bit lucky. When Stan is self-confident, well-groomed and on the road, he is a threat to everyone. ”Norman told Tennis With An Accent in 2020.

As if Wawrinka was an entrepreneur who was successful after so many attempts, he won his first Grand Slam in Australia 2014, after beating Djokovic in the same tournament, before which he had 14 losses in a row and Nadal in the final. The Swiss had never won a set against Manacorí in 12 games. On January 26, 2014 Wawrinka broke the stigma of being the Swiss who lost the finals. He became No. 3 in the world: “I have had the Beckett tattoo on my head for a long time. This is how I see my life in particular and also my tennis life,” he declared.

What was missing from that Swiss of aesthetic backhand and talent to make the leap? “I always noticed that he was too good on the court. He lacked the killer instinct, ”Norman told the Swiss site 24 Hours in the lead up to Roland Garros 2014.

In 2014, Wawrinka decided to completely drop his old skin and asked the ATP to change the name by which they entered him in tournaments: no more Stanislas, from that moment it would be Stan. The Man.

He won the Davis Cup alongside Roger Federer, who named Wawrinka as the best player in the final.

In 2015, the rumor emerged that Thanasi Kokkinakis was dating Wawrinka’s girlfriend. Kyrgios carried Wawrinka. Stan did not answer. With his index finger he pointed at his temple. Stan won Roland Garros.

In 2016, he played the US Open final with Djokovic. With his index finger he pointed at his temple. Stan won his third Grand Slam title.

In 2017, Wawrinka underwent a double left knee operation: arthroscopy first, cartilage reconstruction later. An inconspicuous tattoo remained on his knee. She also parted ways with Norman. In 2018 she returned with Norman but the results did not return and went to 263rd in the ranking. “It is the same in life and in tennis: you are always going to have some problem or pain and you have to live as this phrase says,” Stan had told The Guardian, in his 2014 honeys.

He did not win titles again but he pushed his stone, he climbed the mountain like Sisyphus. He reached the quarterfinals of the 2020 Australian Open and climbed to 13th place in the ranking.

Andre Agassi, a guru of neurosis, said in his book that tennis “is that sport in which you talk to yourself. Tennis is the closest thing to solitary confinement that inevitably encourages conversation with oneself. ” In that constant conversation, Wawrinka built himself an ally: every time he serves, every time he catches the ball, he looks at his left arm. Positive inspiration for the business world, Wawrinka reads Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. So he thinks: “You lose almost every tournament you play. You need to accept it and be positive because you are going to lose and fail. “

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