It was a tournament to remember for Stanislas Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet, who fell to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, respectively, in the U.S. Open semifinals.
Now what will they do for an encore?
2013 has been a career year for both of them as Wawrinka and Gasquet have shown previously unreached levels of consistency. For the bulk of the season, they've both been ranked inside the top 10 and have each made multiple finals, including at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level (Wawrinka in Madrid and Gasquet in Canada).
While they've always had the game to have seasons like they've experienced so far, it's been a variety of outside factors that have held them back.
For Wawrinka, playing in the shadow of his fellow Swiss Roger Federer—arguably one of the greatest to ever pick up a racquet—has brought with it its own set of unique pressures. For the most part, anything Wawrinka does will naturally be compared to what Federer has accomplished—an unfair situation to be sure.
As for Gasquet, he has been tapped for greatness since an early age, making the cover of France's Tennis Magazine as a nine-year-old. With the weight of a nation on his shoulders (France hasn't produced a male Grand Slam singles champ in 30 years), Gasquet in the past has let the expectations get to him.
But if anything, this year and this U.S. Open have shown that they are both mentally prepared to start playing to the best of their ability and make the most of their time as professional athletes. Twice this year now, Wawrinka has pushed Djokovic to the brink in Grand Slam play, where the Serb is at his best. And while he fell in straight sets to Nadal in the U.S. Open semifinals, Gasquet did push the Spaniard to come up with the goods when necessary.
The Grand Slam season is now over for Gasquet and Wawrinka, but there is the fall swing ahead, where they have the potential to build toward career-high rankings. And if this year is any indication, Wawrinka and Gasquet have much to look forward to in 2014.
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