Wawrinka to defend Aircel Chennai Open title, reigning champion eyeing a hat-trick

Stanislas Wawrinka 26Chennai: Two-time Grand Slam champion, Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka will be back in Chennai to defend his title at the Aircel Chennai Open 2016. India and South Asia’s Premier ATP World Tour tennis event, Aircel Chennai Open 2016 is scheduled to be held at Chennai’s SDAT Stadium from 4th to 10th January 2016.

Aircel Chennai Open 2016 will be Stan’s eighth visit to Chennai and this year he will be looking to defend his title and claim a hat-trick of championship wins. For someone who has wowed Indian tennis fans numerous times in the past, audiences are eager to see him reclaim his title. His big serve, exceptional state of fitness and single-handed backhand, which is perhaps the best in the game, won him his second Grand Slam – the French Open 2015 at Roland Garros against World no. 1 Novak Djokovic in June this year. 

The World no. 4 is the second player from Switzerland to win the Grand Slam on clay, joining his compatriot, and good friend, Roger Federer. The newly christened ‘King of Clay’ is in scintillating form – he started 2015 successfully retaining the title (d. Bedene), it was his third title in Chennai and eighth ATP World Tour title overall. As the Australian Open defending champion, he beat Nishikori in QFs prior to SF exit to Djokovic in five sets.

He won the Rotterdam trophy, his first indoor title and his first at an ATP World Tour 500 tournament. In June, Wawrinka captured his second Grand Slam championship title at Roland Garros (d. Djokovic), winning on his 11th tournament appearance, breaking Djokovic’s 16-match winning streak on clay. Aged 30 years 71 days, he became the oldest man to win Roland Garros since Andres Gomez (aged 30 years 103 days) in 1990. 

He reached Wimbledon QFs for second straight year, losing to Gasquet in five sets. At the recently concluded US Open, Wawrinka reached the semi-finals losing to fellow Swissman Federer. Wawrinka has qualified for the year-ending ATP World Tour Finals for the third year in a row joining Djokovic, Murray and Federer in the elite eight-man field. With a win in his recent Davis cup match against the Ducth (d. De Bakker), Wawrinka is certainly back to his winning ways. 

The much awaited Aircel Chennai Open 2016 will mark the 20th year of South Asia’s only and India’s premier ATP tournament in the tennis capital of India – Chennai. The event, one of three tournaments held in the opening week of the season, continues to give the subcontinent access to one week of scintillating tennis action, featuring some of the best names in the highly competitive world of international tennis.

Commenting on his presence at the event, Stan Wawrinka said, “Aircel Chennai Open is a great way to start the season, and I look forward to my eighth year at the tournament. The last 2 years have been extra special since I have gone on to win a Grand Slam each year after a winning start here in Chennai. So, Chennai has become like my good luck charm now!” Wawrinka added, “Being a landmark year for the tournament, I hope to reclaim my title and make this year even more special. I congratulate the organizers for bringing out this exciting contest year after year and look forward to many more landmark editions of the Aircel Chennai Open.”

Ashu Jindal, Chief Operating Officer, IMG Reliance, said, “It is a pleasure and honour to welcome Stan Wawrinka for his eighth consecutive year at Aircel Chennai Open. He is in great form with a win at the French Open and a great performance at the US Open this last fortnight. It is encouraging for us to see the continued participation from top players such as Stan and other international stars. We look forward to his enthralling performance this season.”

The Title Sponsor for the tournament is Aircel and the event is supported by a consortium of sponsors in the Platinum and Gold category, headed by the Government of Tamil Nadu.