Australian Open
Magnus Norman: Man behind Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka

Magnus Norman: Man behind Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka

Of all the high-profile coaches talked up before the Australian Open, it was the one who got the least attention who delivered.

Magnus Norman may well sit as Rafael Nadal's kryptonite.

It was the Swede who was in charge of countryman Robin Soderling when the then 23rd seed stunned Nadal at a Roland Garros he has owned.

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That fourth-round loss in 2009 remains 13-time grand slam winner Nadal's only defeat at a French Open he has won eight times.

It was Norman sitting in the opposition box again at Melbourne Park on Sunday night as his charge Stanislas Wawrinka claimed his maiden major.

For all the grand slam titles between Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl and Stefan Edberg, 37-year-old Norman sits in the spotlight.

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Like Wawrinka, that may be a welcome change for a man whose best results at grand slams were a final (2000 French Open) and semi-final (2000 Australian Open).

Norman can take some credit for Wawrinka's blazing start, with the 28-year-old having the courage to go for his shots early in his first slam final.

"I have more confidence in myself. I know that when I go on court I can beat almost everybody, even on the big stage," Wawrinka said when asked of Norman's influence ahead of the final.

"It's a lot about confidence, especially with my game that I'm playing quite fast from the baseline, trying to always be aggressive. 

"I take a lot of risks sometimes, so it's important to be really fresh and relaxed in my head."

Before the final, Norman told Wawrinka 'it was important not to think about the result but think about the way you want to play, the way you want to win every point.'

It worked.

Wawrinka's serve has improved – he produced the most aces and unreturned serves at the year's first grand slam, winning an incredible 82 per cent of first-serve points.

And there were 302 winners, but the dominant side may surprise.

Of those, 110 were forehand winners and 57 off that eye-catching one-handed backhand.

Wawrinka showed last year he was capable of pushing the best, twice beaten in five sets by Novak Djokovic while challenging Nadal without winning a set.

He teamed up with Norman in April last year – on a 'trial period' – when ranked 17th in the world.

Just over eight months later, Wawrinka is a grand slam champion and world number three.

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