NEW YORK – If you want to hear what Stan Wawrinka thinks of his match today, don’t wait for journalists to tweet out quotes during the press conference or to write up their stories. He’ll likely have beaten us to the punch.
Most nights, by the time he talks to reporters, the reigning Australian Open champion has already tweeted his thoughts to his 334,000 followers or sent out a photo on Instagram.
After his fourth round match, he immediately retweeted an ESPN photo that showed him just after he flew into the stands while running for a backhand.
And from the recovery room, he sent another.
Around 10 p.m. ET, more than a half hour after he checked in on Twitter, his press conference started. He came in wearing his beloved red t-shirt with "Stan the Man" emblazoned in bold white lettering across his chest.
In the last question of the presser, I asked him how soon after his matches he checks Twitter. He let out a quick laugh, looked down at the desk for a second, and continued smiling as he lifted his head.
"Depends which day and everything," he said. The wry smile grew wider as he continued. “It's great for the fans to get something more personal and not only what the media bring."
He also takes them to places the media can't, like inside his hotel room after midnight. Once back in his room after that fourth-round match, he tuned into the later matches.
Earlier in the tournament, Twitter was abuzz with people wondering why he’d yelled, “Shut up, seriously, shut up,” at a fan during his first round match. That night, he answered more than a dozen tweets from fans and reporters.
@BenRothenberg hahahhaha he was drunk I think lol— Stanislas Wawrinka (@stanwawrinka) August 28, 2014
The next morning, his thumbs were once again at work, this time tweeting during his commute to the office.
If you create a funny meme about him, he's likely to retweet that, too.
Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) April 4, 2014
Can't wait to defend My singles Gold medal again for the Olympics pic.twitter.com/tr0G1F4c— Not Roger Federer (@PseudoFed) July 24, 2012
Wawrinka has been a Twitter regular since joining in 2009. He's not the only top-tier player using social media to talk to his fans - fellow quarterfinalists Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori, Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Marin Cilic and Gael Monfils are all on Twitter, too – but he's the most personable. Murray and Cilic have yet to tweet during the tournament.
When he ended his one-year marriage in January 2011, his Twitter followers were the first to read the official statement. When he and his wife got back together a year after that, he once again took to Twitter. He regulary retweets funny comments about his friends and opponents, too.
Perhaps it's that there are fewer profiles written on Federer's 29-year-old Swiss teammate, giving fans less insight into his off-court antics. Perhaps it's that he just prefers to talk to fans directly. Either way, it seems Twitter is the best way to get to know Wawrinka.
Leading into today's quarterfinal against Kei Nishikori, Wawrinka sent his last message from the locker room.
Pull up Twitter after his match. He'll likely meet you there.