in his career, overtaking 17-time Grand Slam-winner Federer, his friend and mentor, who started the Australian Open at No. 6 and was expected to drop to No. 8 despite reaching the semifinals.
"Everything that's happened is quite crazy,'' Wawrinka said. "When you're No. 3 and you win a Grand Slam, journalists expect you to say, 'Now I want to be No. 1.' But I feel it's so far for me, so far from my level. That's why it's not my goal.''
Relentlessly aggressive on the court, Wawrinka gives the impression off-court that he doesn't want to revel in his success for fear of jinxing it. Occasionally, he allows himself to be proud.
"Now I know I can beat everybody. The big stage in a Grand Slam doesn't matter,'' said Wawrinka, but added that he's in the same position as Juan Martin del Potro, whose title at the 2009 U.S. Open is the only one of the past 35 majors not won by the Big Four. "Since (del Potro) won the U.S. Open everybody wants him to win another Grand Slam. But it's not that simple.''
He doesn't like to think too far ahead, but indulged one question about what it will be like to walk through the halls of Rod Laver Arena next year and see his picture up on the walls with the other champions.
"First thing I will do, I'm going to come back and take a picture of myself,'' Wawrinka said. "Again it's a dream. It's big. When I see all those champions, for me, they're the real champions. To be there is just something crazy