By Ayon Sengupta
Posted on December 29, 2008 | 07:38 pm · Filed Under Sport, Tennis
Stanislas Wawrinka’s six-year-long professional tennis career has seen a lot of ups and downs and it’s only of late that the Swiss No. 2 has blossomed to become one of the most compact players in the ATP circuit. Though predominantly a clay court player with a strong backhand, he has now developed an all-round game.
Since recovering from a knee-tendon injury in 2006, he has claimed his place as the next Swiss sensation after the legend Roger Federer. Ahead of his participation at the Chennai Open, the world No. 13 shares his hopes and aspirations for the coming season.
You had a relatively good 2008, what are your plans for the 2009 season?
Wawrinka: Yes, the year has been good for me including by winning the Olympics gold medal and also reaching the finals of Doha and the ATP Masters Series at Rome. The year has overall been good for me and I am sure the next year, starting the new season with Chennai Open, I hope to have a victory and have a great year to come ahead.
What is the highlight of 2008, winning the Olympic gold partnering Federer?
Wawrinka: Well yes, the Olympic Gold medal also plays been an important achievement for me. I teamed up with Roger Federer in the men’s doubles. Roger is a very good friend of mine and until recently he was the No. 1 in the world. We share a very good rapport and respect each other’s game. It was a great learning experience playing with him at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I cherish every movement I played with him. I have learned a lot from him.
You had beaten Indian pair of Paes and Bhupathi in the quarterfinals in Olympics. Do you think the Indian fans will remember that and give you a hard time?
Wawrinka: Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Peas are great players and have really made their country proud they have done wonders and have reached in the top position with their respective partners. I wish them all the best for the year to come. Well we play at different country with different players I don’t think it will be a problem for us.
This is your first visit to India? What do you know about the culture and the place? What are you expecting from the trip?
Wawrinka: Yes! This will be my first visit to India and I am very excited to play at the Chennai Open. India is a country with diverse cultures. I have heard the people in Chennai are very warmth in nature and are very soft person.
I would definitely like to see the place if time permits. The tournament has become very popular on the tour and I would like to use this opportunity to gain some valuable points in the build up to the Australian Open.
Didn’t you feel worried to come to India after the recent terror attacks?
Wawrinka: Well no, terror has strike at many places around the globe. That doesn’t mean we stop going to the place where it has happened. IMG, the organizers have always taken good care of the safety of the players and I am confident that they would ensure the same as per the desired guidelines in co-ordination with ATP for this tournament as well.
You have an excellent Davis Cup record. Do you feel more motivated playing for the country?
Wawrinka: Yes, playing for the country is anytime more than winning any grand slam victory or the ATP Masters win. I will always play for my country and then for the tournament. It’s really a proud feeling to win a tournament for your country.
What do you rate as your biggest victory till date and why?
Wawrinka: Well both If I need to choose there are two important victory for me that I can think about, I had reached the No 9th Position as on June 2008 and now I am at the no 13th Position with 302 points. It’s been an overall satisfying year for me. The Olympic Gold medal was the defining moment and an important achievement for me.
We both defeated the favourites American Bryan twins, Mike and Bob, 7-6(6), 6-4 in the semi-finals. We then went ahead and defeated Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson of Sweden in the finals, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3.