PARIS, May 23, 2016
World number three Stan Wawrinka will face a familiar foe in his opening match on Philippe Chatrier court on Monday. The 31-year-old Swiss defeated Lukas Rosol en-route to claim the Geneva Open title last week and is looking to do the same in Paris, as he starts the defence of the his Roland Garros crown.
Ahead of his first round match, Wawrinka spoke to the media on Sunday afternoon. One year after he lifted the trophy here, some things have changed in 2016.
“The fact that Roger is not playing, it’s not the best news for him and for the tennis. First time since many, many years,” the Lausanne native told, who captured his first title on home soil just three days ago.
“Last year I also played in Geneva. I lost in the quarterfinal, but I started also on Sunday here, so it was a little bit different but not that much. I’m happy to have won yesterday. It was an important tournament for me. Took some big confidence by winning the trophy there and arriving here. It’s always been a dream for me to win a trophy in Switzerland. Given all that I lived in Switzerland, the Davis Cup, the Olympics for Switzerland and all the tournaments I played. And then Geneva, you know, it’s really close to home,” Wawrinka was happy but added:
“For sure it’s late arriving for a Grand Slam, especially if you want to go far in a Grand Slam, but I think I’m feeling good. I’m feeling fit. My tennis is there, and I’m ready to play my first match on Monday.”
Wawrinka is leading 4-0 over Rosol in head to head records. It will be the pair’s third meeting this year after Geneva and the Australian Open.
“We played three sets a few days ago in Geneva. I played him also this year in Melbourne. He’s a dangerous player. He’s serving big. He’s going for his shots. You never know what to expect. You need to be really solid and stay there. It really depends. It’s all going to be how I’m going to feel tomorrow how I’m going to play and if I play well enough to beat him,” Wawrinka said and does not consider himself as the favorite this year.
“There are many good players in good form. Novak is the favorite, for sure. But I think it’s going to be interesting to see what’s going to happen with the other players.”
Djokovic has the chance to become the eighth man in history to complete his career Grand Slam.
“If we talk about Novak, he’s still playing amazing tennis, if you look what happened this year already, and since last year in the final. He’s for sure the big favorite, and he’s going to be really difficult to beat. That’s a fact,” Wawrinka had to admit.