For many years, Stan Wawrinka was known as Roger Federer’s right hand man. He was the other Swiss that people only spoke about because of his association with arguably the greatest tennis player that ever lived. Not one that likes to be in the spotlight, Wawrinka shocked the tennis world when he won the 2014 Australian Open. Proving not to be a one slam wonder, Wawrinka won the 2015 French Open and 2016 US Open, defeating the world number 1 in each of those finals. A player that has more mood swings than a person on adderall, the Swiss has gained the reputation of being a big match player.

One thing that many people have wondered is why his career has taken such a giant leap in the past few years. Still inconsistent, he now seems able to call upon his best tennis on a much more consistent basis.

Hiring Magnus Norman was the best decision he could have made

Some tennis partnerships do not make sense while others do. When Wawrinka announced that he was to work with former world number two, Magnus Norman, it was as if cupid was working his magic arrow. Norman was a player that was known for his consistency off of the ground but lacked the fire power of many of his peers. Wawrinka has more firepower than just about anyone but lacked consistency. Hiring someone like a Norman was the perfect fit for the Swiss because Norman helped changed the way in which Wawrinka approached tennis.

Just because a person can hit the ball very hard does not mean that they have to on every single shot. Norman encouraged Wawrinka to let points play out and when he had a legitimate shot to hit a winner, then he could use his power to rush opponents. These slight tactical changes have allowed Wawrinka to play himself into matches when he used to play himself out of them.

Wawrinka is no longer in Federer’s shadow

When you hail from the same country as an all-time great athlete, people tend to overlook your achievements. Even before winning his first major, Wawrinka had a good career. Able to win titles on all different surfaces, it never seemed as though his efforts were even acknowledged by his country because (in comparison to Federer) his efforts were not worth talking about.

Now that he has three major titles, the perception of him (not only in Switzerland) but around the world has changed. He is now viewed as legitimate threat at every single major and with those wins, his confidence has skyrocketed. While he still does not consider himself to be a member of the big 4, his results over the past few seasons are mammoth. If Wawrinka can win Wimbledon this season, he would be the fourth active male player to complete a career grand slam. The other three are Federer, Nadal and Djokovic but if Wawrinka could pull off that achievement, Federer’s shadow would be far off in the distance.