Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland plays a forehand during an Australian Open practice session at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Friday, January 17, 2020. (AAP Image/Rob Prezioso) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland plays a forehand during an Australian Open practice session at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Friday, January 17, 2020. (AAP Image/Rob Prezioso) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Stan still enjoying life on hectic tour

Stan Wawrinka had just eight days off between the end of last season and the start of the Australian Open but the world No.15 wouldn't have it any other way.

Wawrinka, 34, still loves tennis as much as he did when he first picked up a racquet and knows he won't be able to compete at the highest level forever.

That means he cherishes every moment he gets to spend on a tennis court and chase his fourth grand slam title.


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"I took the chance to stay home and spend more time with my daughter (Alexia) who's going to turn 10 soon," Wawrinka, who is an ambassador for Piper-Heidsieck at this year's Australian Open, said.

"The mind of tennis, for us, when it's off-season it's practice time and it's a lot of fitness, it's a lot about tennis and trying to improve, try and work on things we want to change.

"It's because I love tennis, it's passion. We're used to it. When you start to be professional you know the season is going to be 11 months, with one month free for a little bit of holidays and then preparation.

"But it's my passion, it's my job, I love the game and I enjoy it so much. I know that soon it will be over and when it's over there's no way back so you need to enjoy it at the maximum."

The Swiss has been on the tour since 2004, when he contested his first grand slam qualifying tournament at the Australian Open before making his main draw debut at the French Open the following year.

He made his first main draw appearance at the Australian Open in 2006 and has been back every year since, making the 2020 version his 15th consecutive tournament at Melbourne Park.

But despite being on the tour for so long, he still gets nervous.

"That's also why I keep playing because the emotion that tennis gives me, it's something really special that I will never find anywhere else in my life after I stop playing tennis," Wawrinka said.

"This is something I enjoy. I enjoy to feel nervous, I enjoy the pressure of playing tournaments and I enjoy the pressure of playing in front of people.

"(The nerves) mean you care so much."

Wawrinka, who opens his Australian Open campaign against Damir Dzumhur on Tuesday, also has a special message tattooed on his arm to remind him of what's important.

He uses it as a mantra for tennis and for life.

The tattoo reads: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

"That's the way tennis life is but also life in general. That means you never give up, you always try again and failing is not negative, it's not wrong. You can always learn from it and at the end of the day you want to not give up," Wawrinka said.

"That's what you have to do in tennis because most of the time you lose one match even if you're at the top of the game, you can lose one match, you're not winning every tournament and you need to accept it and be positive and go to the next week.

"That's a mindset I've always had."

Melbourne Park is a special place for Wawrinka, who broke through to win the first grand slam title of his career at the Australian Open in 2014.

He feels ready to make another deep run this year after working his way back from major knee surgery.

"I feel like for sure I'm getting back to my best level and fitness-wise but it doesn't mean I'm going to win again a grand slam because other players are also improving," Wawrinka said.

"But if I look at me and where I am, I'm really happy. I know that if I keep playing that way and pushing that way, that's why I'm going to have some good results and be back in the top 10.

"I'm ready to start the tournament. That means I'm feeling good, I know I can beat every player but it's a long way to do it."


*The La Maison Piper-Heidsieck champagne bar located on Grand Slam Oval will operate during the Australian Open*