Stan Wawrinka is in danger: from his hideous, chequered pink shorts.

If there’s something that can bring him down, despite beating the World No.1 Novak Djokovic to win the French Open earlier this month, it’s his choice of shorts. Last week, he put up a message on Twitter saying he will give away one pair of his “lucky shorts" to “a lucky follower" when he reaches 500,000 followers. We asked him if he was serious. “Of course, I’m serious! There has been so much talking about the shorts, so many people wanted to get one. There were also some funny cartoons in Switzerland. All of a sudden it was all about the shorts," he said in an email interview.

Those shorts, perhaps, dazzled fellow Swiss Roger Federer to submission in the quarter-final of the French Open, before defeating Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semis in front of a partisan crowd.

But in the final, after losing the first set, and down 3-0 in the fourth, when it looked like Djokovic might stage a dramatic comeback, where did Wawrinka find that extra reserve of grit to push through?

“I know that in a best of five-set match everything is possible. Losing the first set is not the end of the world; you always have time to come back if you play well," he says. “I stayed very focused after losing the set, hoping that my chances would come if I continued to play well."

After lifting the trophy, Wawrinka came to the winner’s press conference and laid out his shorts on the table in front of him. “It will be in the museum of Roland Garros," he said.

At 30, when most tennis players are contemplating retirement, Wawrinka is enjoying the best years of his career. Till as recently as 2012, Wawrinka had never even made it to a Grand Slam semi-final in 34 attempts. But in May 2013, the Swiss began working with former Swedish player-turned-coach Magnus Norman, a French Open finalist in 2000, and once (briefly) the holder of the No.2 ranking in the world. It was instant magic. He reached the semi-final of the 2013 US Open (but lost to Djokovic), and made it to his first ATP World Tour Finals. Next year, it got better: At the Australian Open, he beat Djokovic in the quarter-final, bringing an end to a 14-match losing streak against the Serb. In the final, he beat Rafael Nadal—his first win over the Spaniard in 13 attempts—to win his first Grand Slam.

“Norman has helped Stan to think clearly on court, stay in the point longer, and dictate play when he can," says Leif Shiras, the American TV tennis analyst and a former player over email. “I have seen Stan serve and volley to mix things up as well as play so well from the back (court). So Magnus has him thinking the right way on court and building the belief that he can beat the big boys—because he is becoming one of them himself."

But did Wawrinka really need to win the French Open to prove that he’s no fluke? His Australian Open win in 2014 was not the best indicator of his prowess—Nadal had an injury and had limped and grimaced in pain throughout that match, while Wawrinka went about doing business as usual.

“No, winning a Grand Slam is not just about the final," Wawrinka says. “And believe me, beating Rafa (Nadal) is never easy. Never ever! He wasn’t at his very best, but he reached the final, which means that he played great tennis over two weeks."

Norman too knows the importance of the French Open triumph: “I haven’t heard it personally, but I can imagine that people are saying that Stan would never have won in Australia if Rafa was not getting hurt in the final," Norman said to the media in Paris after Wawrinka’s win. “Now this time no one can say anything."

Wawrinka is an uncomplicated player—he relies on the speed of his movement and the power in his shots—but the one shot in his repertoire everyone talks about is the one-handed backhand, a shot that has almost disappeared from modern tennis.

“As a child I played a two-handed backhand." Wawrinka says. “But it wasn’t very good. So together with my (former) coach Dimitri Zavialoff, we changed it to a one-handed backhand."

“His backhand side anchors his game because it is such a powerful, point-ending type of strike—like the match point against Novak in the French Open final. But his forehand has equal weight and spin and, like the best guys, he can play it well from defensive positions in the court," adds Shiras.

Right now, Wawrinka and his one-handed backhand will be the combination to beat at the forthcoming Wimbledon. Australian tennis legend Rod Laver, 76, likes his chances. “Beating Federer at the French Open and his two Grand Slam wins will give him so much confidence at Wimbledon," he said over phone from California, US.

This time though, he will not have his pink plaid shorts to help him. He will have to wear white.

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