Swiss Wawrinka taking solace in 'failing better'

Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:45am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The recall of a crushing loss might not have the same attraction as the memory of an inspired victory for most top tennis players, but world number eight Stanislas Wawrinka wears failure as a badge of honor stamped permanently on his arm.

The 28-year-old Swiss, one of a number of dark horses hoping to shake up the establishment at next week's Australian Open, has a quote from literary giant Samuel Beckett inked on his left forearm which reads: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better."

Irishman Beckett, an absurdist writer renowned for his bleak observation of human nature, might seem an unusual motivator for a sportsman, but the quote aptly describes the noble, fruitless struggle that Wawrinka and his colleagues wage year after year trying to stop the same names winning the grand slams.

Since Russia's Marat Safin won the 2005 Australian Open, 34 of the 35 major trophies have been raffled between Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, with Argentine Juan Martin del Potro's 2009 triumph at Flushing Meadows the sole anomaly.

"I did that (tattoo) because it's a little bit like how I see my life, and especially my tennis life," Wawrinka told Reuters after training at Melbourne Park.

"If you see, I've been playing 10 years, it's a lot already but I only have five titles, so that means there's only been five weeks where I've finished like a winner.

"Every week we're losing except the top four, the top three. So that means we have to take positives from that. We need to still try things, we need to still improve.

"I always try to find the positives in losing a match but it's not always easy."   Continued...

Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland hits a return to David Ferrer of Spain during Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah