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Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, celebrates beating Daniil Medvedev on Monday at the Australian Open.

Wawrinka: ‘Best I’ve Played Since Before Surgery’

Swiss veteran eager to keep playing the sport he loves

Stan Wawrinka sent a warning sign to his rivals on Monday. The Swiss, who captured the 2014 Australian Open title, believes he is finding his best form once again.

“I think the last time I played so well was before the surgery,” said Wawrinka, after his 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2 victory over fourth seed Daniil Medvedev. “I feel since the off-season my level is really high. Physically, I'm moving better than last year. So I'm improving. I'm pretty sure [that] the last time I played that well was before the surgery.”

Wawrinka underwent two left knee surgeries in August 2017, just two months after competing in his fourth Grand Slam championship final at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal).

“I have been practising really hard,” admitted Wawrinka. “I've been feeling great on the court, on the practice court, good sessions, putting in a lot of work physically and tennis-wise. The week before I came here, I was really feeling at the top level.”

His victory over Medvedev was his biggest match win since overcoming then-World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the 2019 US Open fourth round.

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“I know I'm in the right place,” said Wawrinka. “Winning or losing, that's not what shows if you’re feeling good mentally. Of course, you work on it, you work to accept to suffer, you work to accept to push yourself always. There's many, many things that you can do to improve your mindset.

“I know that since the end of last year after the off-season, I took a few days off for myself, thinking a little bit more about what I wanted for next year [2020], the way I want it to go. Those moments you need to always be honest with yourself. You cannot hide. You cannot lie to yourself. Then when you know what you want, you have to put the work on it. That's what I'm doing. Hopefully I can keep doing it the full year.”

The 33-year-old Wawrinka will next look to beat seventh seed Alexander Zverev in Wednesday’s quarter-finals for the first time in their third meeting.

“I always try to enjoy what I'm doing to the maximum,” said Wawrinka. “I still believe it's a big [pleasure] to play tennis. It's my passion. It's something that I love to do. I'm playing, travelling around the world, playing in front of people, getting a lot of emotion from it. I love the process, also how you have to try to improve [and] the time you need to put in on the practice court to get to your level.

“There are many things I really enjoy.. I don't know how many, but not many years left. I want to do the maximum with it. I want to enjoy the maximum.”

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