Immediately after winning the Australian Open, The admirable Stan Wawrinka said there was a good chance he’d be going out to get drunk. From the sounds of the night that followed and his condition the next day it seems he was true to his word.

Greg Cary

Greg Cary

Sports writer

Anything sporting to add? email me at

As Stan was recovering, Willie Mason was apologising for getting caught with a reading of .09 the morning after he says he finished drinking at 11 pm. That would’ve made him extremely drunk whilst knowing he had training the next morning. Good luck if you’re a Knights fan this year!

Matters related to alcohol are complex but little discussed (and not as easily resolved as the “O’Farrell package” would suggest) are the societal attitudes that have normalised the situation we now confront.

It is here that sport and those who play it have an important role. Should they choose to accept it.

In a country where alcohol was once used as currency in the early days of settlement it is understandable that it continues to play a key role in our lives. The triumph of the alcohol companies is that it plays that role in nearly all aspects of our lives.

I enjoy a drink and these are not the comments of a wowser but, rather, those of someone who thinks Kevin Spacey’s character in “Usual Suspects” was on to something when he said the greatest trick the devil ever played was to make you think he didn’t exist. Now, I don’t believe in the devil or even inherent evil but his point was about beliefs and how they are formed.

Happy? Get drunk. Sad or disappointed? Likewise. It’s everywhere. Not to enjoy a drink (even to excess) is seen as the exception. Non-drinkers have their credentials queried.

Neither Stan nor Willie (or many like them) reached the top by being regular abusers of alcohol so why would someone like Wawrinka – fit, disciplined and smart- want to hand over his powers on the night of his greatest achievement.

Celebration with a few drinks is different to the commonly stated aim of getting drunk.

Our society is awash with alcohol. Enjoying it is one thing – drowning in it another entirely.