Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Stan Wawrinka keen to ‘reach the highest level again’

The world No 3 returns to the courts for the first time since his defeat to eventual champion Roger Federer in the Australian Open semi-finals last month after pulling out of Rotterdam to recover from a knee injury.

Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland poses for photos during a media day ahead of the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship on February 26, 2017 in Dubai, UAE. Tom Dulat / Getty Images
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Stan Wawrinka, the defending Dubai Duty Free Tennis champion, says he is hoping to find his best form here this week. The world No 3 returns to the courts for the first time since the Australian Open after pulling out of Rotterdam to recover from a knee injury.

Happy to be back

“After a month out, you’ve got to see how you can reach the highest level again,” said Wawrinka, who will start his defence against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur on Tuesday. “I arrived Saturday morning and have been practising well. Happy to be back after spending a lot of time out of the competition. It was not the best thing, but I needed to take time off to recover and feel better physically.”

Looking back at Australia

“In the end, it was a really great tournament for me,” said Wawrinka, who lost to eventual champion Roger Federer in the semi-final of the Australian Open. “Making the semis was a big result for me as it was so close to yet another final. I think, with what was happening with me, I played really well,” he said in reference to his knee injury.

The Federer-Nadal final

“It was amazing to see them playing again in a big final like that,” Wawrinka said. “It is always such a special match when Roger and Rafa play. Because they’ve played so many times against each other, their level was so high and the way Roger came back in the fifth was something special.”

Career grand slam

“It is not a goal,” said Wawrinka, when asked if he would like to win Wimbledon and complete a career grand slam. “It is already an amazing thing for me to have won three grand slams. Each one is so very special for me. Every year I am trying my best at Wimbledon and grass-court season, but I have never played grass as good as the rest of the surfaces. I am still pushing for finding my best game on that surface, so we will see this year.”

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