Stanislas Wawrinka confident of shining at Aircel Chennai Open 2013

Chennai: World No. 17 Stanislas Wawrinka is one of those players who couldn’t be happier to start the New Year at the Aircel Chennai Open 2013. It is after all a tournament he has grown to love and respect over the five seasons he has launched there. The 27-year-old Swiss national has witnessed India’s and South Asia’s only ATP World Tour tennis event grow from strength to strength into the USD $430,000 event it is now.

In 2011, Wawrinka won his 3rd career ATP World Tour title in Chennai and has been choosing the tournament to kick start his new campaign simply because he feels the event provides him with a great platform to set off. “The tournament has become huge over the years and it’s great to see how amazing it gets from year to year,” he said. “I adore the spectators and preparing for Chennai has a very relaxing feeling to it.

Support from the crowds is probably the main reason I come back,” he added. He also admits the tournament gets the best-looking spectators.
Though there are higher ranked players in the draw, Wawrinka is definitely one to watch out for. A player with simple goals, he is focussed on pushing himself to do better than the year before and on staying healthy and happy in the seasons to come.

2012 has been a good season for Wawrinka. He put up a solid performance in Cincinnati against World No. 2 Roger Federer and looking to build on that momentum in 2013. Though many would think that his greatest achievement until now has been his gold medal victory for Switzerland in the men's doubles event in the Beijing Olympics partnering multiple Grand Slam winning compatriot Roger Federer, he feels the best is yet to come. After experiencing a narrow quarterfinal loss during last year’s tournament, he is refreshed, renewed and all set to take on the best in the world during the coming weeks. Looking forward to a fantastic 2013, the six-footer said he has worked very hard during the off-season and hopes to be in the best form possible.

Deriving pleasure from his game makes a lot of sense to the Swiss who does not worry about aspects like the nature of the playing surface at a tournament. “I don’t think about it too much. I just try to get on with it and enjoy my tennis”, he said.

Wawrinka began playing tennis at age eight and was coached by Dimitri Zavialoff since then before the pair split after Wimbledon in June 2010. “Life goes on when you change coaches. I have had togrow up and I’m excited about the future, he said while recollecting his association with the coach.

Committed to playing the best tennis while on the court, he transforms into a caring husband and father off the court. Thisis evident in the way he expresses his feelings for his family. “I have a baby and she makes every year memorable off-court!” he exclaimed while telling us about daughter Alexia. He is also certain that wife Ilham is the best-looking woman he has seen on the WTA Tour even though she is not on the tour all the time! He however confesses his admiration for Angelina Jolie because the actor helps underprivileged children being a UN ambassador.

In his free time, the right-hander loves to play table tennis, listen to music and use his play station, and given a chance, would love to play the role of Batman. It is not surprising that five visits to Chennai have taught him a thing or two about India - tandoori chicken has become his favourite Indian dish and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan an actor he respects