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Wawrinka steps into top four

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Roger Federer has slipped to his lowest world tennis ranking in over a decade, in a shake-up of the ATP rankings, while Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka has shot to world No. 3.

Federer’s semi-final exit at Melbourne Park cost the 17-time grand slam champion two spots on the ATP rankings released on Monday, dropping to world No.8.

Locally, Bernard Tomic has slipped to be the fourth-ranked Australian player.

Lleyton Hewitt remains Australia’s top-ranked male after climbing two spots to No.41, while Tomic slipped eight places to 65th.

Tomic is behind Hewitt, Marinko Matosevic (55) and Mathew Ebden (61).

Teen star Nick Kyrgios improved his place on the rankings by 21 to 162nd, with South Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis up 169 spots to No.401.

Losing Australian Open finalist Rafael Nadal retains the top spot, extending his points lead from No.2 Novak Djokovic who lost in the Open quarter-finals while defending the title.

A humble Wawrinka admits he’s struggling to comprehend the magnitude of his breakthrough triumph.

He was still on cloud nine on Monday after becoming the first player to conquer Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the world’s top two players, at the same grand slam event.

“Everything that’s happened, it’s quite crazy,” he said, savouring his 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 final victory over Nadal.

“I have to take time away with myself, with my family, my team, to see exactly how I’m going to deal with that for the rest of the year, and what I want to do more.

“There’s a big chance it’s going to take some time to realise what I’ve done.

“It still feels like a dream because it’s a grand slam title and it’s just amazing for me.”

His seismic breakthrough at Melbourne Park sent 28-year-old Wawrinka rocketing up five spots to No.3 in the world.

“That’s amazing. Last year I was No.20 and I never ever dreamed about that,” he said, also refusing to believe he’d surpassed Roger Federer, who dropped to No.8, as Switzerland’s new No.1.

“He is is the best player ever. I will always feel like No.2 behind him.

“For me, it’s more about being No.3 in the world. That’s something big. That’s amazing.”

Wawrinka won an Olympic gold medal partnering Federer at the 2008 Beijing Games and said the 17-times grand slam champion and “close supporter” was among the first to congratulate him on Sunday night.

“He text me, phoned me. He was quite crazy for me, like really, really happy,” Wawrinka said.

“He’s been in that situation so many times, so he knows the feeling.”

But it’s a feeling Wawrinka never thought he would know.

Even after pushing Djokovic to five sets in the semi-finals of last year’s US Open – and also in the fourth round at the 2013 Australian Open.

“Even if I was to win (in New York), I had to play Rafa in the final and, for me, it was too much,” Wawrinka said.

“That’s why I never dreamed about winning a grand slam. For me, it was not my level, not my goal.

“But I have a good mentality to always try to improve.”

So much so that Wawrinka had a quote from Samuel Beckett inked into his left forearm last year to keep him going.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better,” the tattoo says.

After trying for 35 grand slams, but failing better than ever before in New York and opening 2014 with a title in Chennai, Wawrinka arrived at the Melbourne Park major believing he could do “something big”.

“Why this year? Why last year? It’s just my time,” he said.

“I’m 28, I’m more mature. I understand better when I win and when I lost why.

“And then for sure last year the self-confidence came.

“Now I know that I can beat anybody in the grand slams. It doesn’t matter if it’s a final, semi-final, quarter – and that’s changed everything.

“When you have that confidence in yourself, you can win a grand slam.

“Now I have my trophy – I have my grand slam trophy – and no one can take it back.”

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