A victory would make the Spanish left-hander the third man to win all four grand slam titles twice, joining Australians Rod Laver and Roy Emerson, and also draw him level with Pete Sampras on 14 career major titles. (Agencies)
It would also leave him three behind Wawrinka's compatriot Roger Federer, who Nadal beat in the semi-finals, and would no doubt generate another round of debate as to who can justifiably be called the greatest player of all time.
"Is there one greatest player of all time?" Sampras replied when asked by reporters if Nadal or Federer could be labelled with that mantle.
"I believe when you look at the history of the game, each decade has their player.
"Certainly Roger has been the best player for the last 10 years. Rafa is up there with him. (Novak) Djokovic is pushing. So it's really hard to say.
"Rafa has won all the majors, he's been number one. You could argue that he's well up there. If he plays the next four or five years, he could have 17, 18 majors.
"Let's just appreciate what we're watching. It's hard to compare the numbers and the eras where we all did our thing."
Both sides have a strong case in the Nadal v Federer debate.
Fans of the Swiss suggest Nadal's record is skewed by his claycourt dominance over the years, while the Spaniard's supporters point to his 23-10 head-to-head record over Federer.
If Nadal does beat Wawrinka, however, it is inevitable the question will be asked whether he can achieve what no man has done since Laver in 1969 and win a calendar grand slam.
Few would bet against him winning his ninth French Open title in early June. He has lost just one match - to Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 - at the claycourt grand slam since 2005.
And the manner in which he accounted for 17-times grand slam winner Federer, who had looked back to his fluid best at Melbourne Park after a dismal 2013, suggests he will be hard to beat at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
Nadal, who has played the tournament with strapping across his left hand due to a painful blister, is only focused on the challenge posed by the 28-year-old Wawrinka.
"He's playing better than ever ... he's a player that is ready to win against everybody," Nadal said.
"If I don't play my best tennis ... I don't have (a) chance to beat him," he added.
A victory would make the Spanish left-hander the third man to win all four grand slam titles twice, joining Australians Rod Laver and Roy Emerson, and also draw him level with Pete Sampras on 14 career major titles.