MELBOURNE: Stan Wawrinka said he was "mentally completely dead" after bowing out in five sets to Novak Djokovic to end his Australian Open title defence in the semi-final on Friday.
The Swiss fourth seed had his moments during the intense three hour 30 minute match on Rod Laver Arena but it was the Serb world number one progressing to Sunday's final against Andy Murray after winning 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.
It was his fourth straight Grand Slam encounter with Djokovic to go to five sets after upsetting the seven-time major winner in the quarter-finals at last year's Australian Open.
But a shortened off-season caused by Switzerland's euphoric first ever Davis Cup win in late November had him mentally jaded after winning five matches to reach Friday's semi-final.
"I'm really happy with my level. It was mentally that I think I'm paying for the price to finish off the season with Davis Cup and not having a bigger off-season," he said.
"I was trying to focus really well to start the year well with winning Chennai and being here trying to do the best.
"I told my coach before the match that I was mentally completely dead and had no battery.
"It was tough to focus on what I want to do. Tough to focus on my game. And that's what happened today."
Wawrinka said the match was not top quality, compared to sixth seed Murray excelling in beating seventh seed Tomas Berdych in the other semi-final on Thursday.
The Swiss upset Djokovic in last year's quarter-finals on the way to winning the Australian Open for his first major title, but Friday's match was nowhere near that standard.
"Describe the match? Strange. Not the best, for sure. I think there were a lot of ups and downs," he said.
"At the beginning conditions weren't too good. The balls were flying about and were not easy to control. It was not the best match, for sure.
"I'm surprised we went five sets again, but, no, we had some great battles here last two years. He was there playing good enough to win and he deserved to win and play the final."
Wawrinka, sporting a 'Stan the Man' shirt, said he was planning to take a week's break before his next tournament and had adjusted his playing schedule this year to allow for more rest and practice.
"I think I have a good schedule for the year. I will try to have some moments when I can practice with my coach and fitness trainer, when I can have some holiday," he said.
"So it should be fine for the year again. I think it's about the right schedule for the year."
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