Defending Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka will test his preparations for the defense of his only Grand Slam title at the Aircel Chennai Open (India) this week. Wawrinka captured his first Grand Slam championship title with a stunning four-set victory over top seed Rafael Nadal in the 2014 Australian Open final. This will be Wawrinka’ s seventh straight Chennai Open. The Australian Open will take place later in January.
The world No. 4, who lost to Novak Djokovic in an exhibition in Abu Dhabi recently, received a first-round bye in Chennai. Wawrinka will play either Croatian sensation Borna Coric or Robin Haase of the Netherlands in the second round.
“I like Chennai very much. The atmosphere is always great and the fans are amazing, that’s why I keep coming back. The crowd makes that stadium go wild! The tournament was a great start to an amazing year in 2014 and I hope that it will be the same in the New Year,” said Wawrinka.
Wawrinka made his career breakthrough last year after clinching his second title at Chennai, overcoming Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and going on to defeat Rafael Nadal in the final. Wawrinka also helped Switzerland win its maiden Davis Cup title with an epic victory over France. He defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the singles and also figured in a doubles win along with Roger Federer.
“The (Chennai) tournament was a great start to an amazing year in 2014 and I hope that it will be the same in the new year,” the 29-year-old said at a pre-tourney event. This was ahead of the 20th edition of south Asia’s only ATP World Tour stop. “I’ve had a few great wins (last year), starting from the ones against Novak, (Tomas) Berdych and Nadal in Melbourne as well as beating Roger in the final in Monte Carlo.”
“I love being back in India and enjoying my favorite chicken tikka masala, which I eat almost every day when in Chennai. I enjoy Indian cuisine a lot. It’s delicious,” Wawrinka added. “I like relaxing with my headphones and some U2 and Guns N’ Roses after a good workout. I am ready for the new season.”