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Magnus Norman Once Thought Wawrinka "Too Nice" to Win a Major


While Magnus Norman admitted he didn't pay much attention to Stan Wawrinka earlier in his career, that's all changed since he started working with the Swiss star last year.

The results speak for themselves, including Wawrinka's first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January.

Speaking to Swiss website 24 Heures, Norman said he is hoping Wawrinka can just get through the first week of Roland Garros starting on Sunday.

"I do not expect (him) to win the title," Norman said. "As always before a Grand Slam, I hope above all that he might survive the first week."

While coaching two-time French Open finalist Robin Söderling several years ago, Norman admitted he didn't focus on Wawrinka a whole lot and wasn't sure if he would ever win a major.

"I was not particularly following it at the time, because I was (with) Robin Söderling. But I had noticed his great potential. I had also noticed that (he) was sometimes too nice on the court. It lacked the killer instinct," Norman said. "But (his) game, it is now a killer.''

When he first started working with Wawrinka last season, Norman said he was immediately impressed with Wawrinka's humility and hard work ethic. He feels that what is most improved about Wawrinka's game is his forehand.

"Technically, it's his forehand that progress is the most significant. His margin over the net is now larger, and he now has more confidence in its submissions on this one. You know, Stan has always had an incredible ball hit. He is a very, very, very good tennis player, that I have always liked to see play."

On Wawrinka's slump just after winning Melbourne, Norman said that his charge wasn't ready mentally for either Indian Wells or Miami. Yet he feels Wawrinka can only get better as he's hungry to improve and that more titles will soon come his way.

Norman, who reached a career high of No. 2 in the world along with reaching the French Open final in 2000, knows what it's like to hope for a major title but not achieve it. When asked about how some players said after Wawrinka's Melbourne win that they deserved to win a Grand Slam more than he, Norman offered a thoughtful response.

"I, too, felt I deserved to win a Grand Slam. But there is no place for merit. Stan has just been able to do it. It is as simple as that."

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