Aircel Chennai Open 2016: Q&A with Stan Wawrinka
The 'wow' factor in Stan Wawrinka's game in these last few years has risen several notches to a stage that he is must-see tennis wherever he goes. A lot of the success he has enjoyed in the last two seasons, winning the Australian Open in 2014 and the French Open in 2015, has been founded on his success in the beginning of the year.
He's opted to start his season in India at Chennai for the past seven years, making it a constant in his itinerary. And this even after he's become a Grand Slam champion.
No. 4 in the ATP rankings and the top seed here, Wawrinka spoke to the media for the first time in his post match presser after beating Andrey Rublev in round 2.
Excerpts from the question and answer session with the World No. 4:
On returning to Chennai:
I'm happy to be back. This is my eighth consecutive time here. I really enjoy starting my year here. Great tournament, good organisation, people are really nice with me, good crowds. It's very tough for me every year, to be focused for the match. I go match by match. Always had been a difficult title to win. Hot conditions, really humid. Today, for my first match of the year, I played a really solid match, it was important to play well.
If Kevin Anderson pulling out makes the title shot a little easier...
Not at all. First I will look at the quarterfinal, still few matches to go. For a tournament I don't look at the draw and at this tournament, I don't remember a final between no.1 and no.2. So I just concentrate on who is on the opposite side.
Does he still feel like an underdog against the Big Four?
There's only one Big Four. They have been here for more than 10 years. They have achieved so much. I've managed to beat them last few years, but still they are different.
Olympic plans for Rio?
It is definitely important for me to be there, but what my participation will be, I don't know.
Thoughts on young 18-year-old Andrey Rublev
He is very young and very good already. Big talent for sure, big game. He's still go time, but I think he'll be really good in the future.
(Wawrinka beat the youngster in straight sets)
On what makes the Swiss so popular
I guess the efforts of the players before, including the ladies. Players like Martina Hingis and Patty Schnyder were really good, popularised the sport before Roger [Federer] came along.
On the question that he's asked the most...
(chuckles) There have been many, many ones actually. I don't think I can pick one. But it’s been okay so far.
Whether he remembers his first point on tour
Hmmm... It was a Challenger event in Geneva, I remember the tournament, but I don't really remember the point (grins).
(Wawrinka will be in action next on Friday when he takes on 5th seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain in the quarterfinals)