Former world No. 3 Stan Wawrinka is looking forward to playing his first competitive match since February as he is happy to be competing at the Prague Challenger. Wawrinka, a three-time Grand Slam champion, opted to skip the Cincinnati Masters and US Open and instead stay in Europe and play clay-court Challenger events.
The 35-year-old will kick off his season restart in Prague, where he hopes to get some wins under his belt as he is aiming to be at his top form for the bigger clay events and eventually the French Open. Wawrinka, now ranked at No.
17 in the world, had a first-round bye at the tournament as the top seed and he is set to face Russian Roman Safiullin in the second round, who beat Czech Lukas Rosol. "These were many difficult months for everybody," Wawrinka told Czech media, as quoted on the ATP website.
"I'm looking forward to be back playing some matches here. It's important to restart the season again with these two tournaments in Prague. "I went to the park the see some of the city today. It was really nice and I love it here.
It's going to be a great time. For me, it was nice to spend time at home with my daughter when we were in quarantine. That was the positive for me. But I'm happy to be playing again now."
Wawrinka thought going to the United States would be too much for him
Wawrinka has had success at Flushing Meadows, having beaten world No.
1 Novak Djokovic in the 2016 US Open to lift his maiden and so far lone US Open title. This year's Cincinnati Masters and US Open will both be staged in New York, where players will be placed in a bubble and where they will have to follow strict health restrictions.
"I just don't feel like traveling to the US under these conditions," Wawrinka explained to Tages-Anzeiger. "I'm at an age and a phase of my career where I can't play everything after so many months off. I prefer to stay here and prepare for the clay season.
“I don't feel like having to stay in the same hotel for three or four weeks in a bubble. And when you get far in New York, it gets complicated to play well on clay right away. And then it is still unclear whether you have to do a quarantine after returning from the USA. There are many open questions."
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