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Wawrinka Drawing On Melbourne Memories

Melbourne, Australia

Wawrinka© Getty ImagesStanislas Wawrinka contested an epic fourth-round clash with Novak Djokovic last year at the Australian Open.

Returning to the scene of one of the greatest matches of his career, Stanislas Wawrinka is looking to build on his success of 2013 and consistently challenge the top players in the game in the coming season.

Last year, the Swiss gave Novak Djokovic his toughest test en route to the Serb’s triumph at the Australian Open, pushing him to a 12-10 deciding fifth set in the fourth round. Far from being disappointed at the loss, Wawrinka used the breakthrough performance as a springboard for a career-best year on the ATP World Tour. 

He went on to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open, beating Tomas Berdych and Andy Murray before losing another five-set thriller to Djokovic, and qualified for the elite eight-man season finale at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, where he reached the semi-finals on his debut. 

“It was a great match,” reflected Wawrinka at Melbourne Park on Sunday. “Even though I lost that match, it was an amazing match for me. That's why I played so good the rest of the year. I took a lot of confidence from that match. 

“I'm improving. I'm really happy,” continued the Swiss, who opened his 2014 campaign with victory at the Aircel Chennai Open. “I finished last year in the Top 8. I feel I'm close enough to the top guys to beat them maybe once or to stay close to them. But I'm not thinking about winning a Grand Slam. I'm too far away. I'm trying to improve my game. I'm trying to control what I can. That means practice. That means my schedule, always to trying to improve, to be a better player.

“I'm a better player on the court. I'm playing better against the top guys. That's what changed last year; I beat a lot of Top 10 players. That's why I'm so good now. I know I can win more matches. I know that I can play and beat the best players in the world. But doesn't mean that I will do it.”

Wawrinka’s exploits in 2013 earned him the honour of Swiss Personality of the Year in a ceremony on Saturday night back in Switzerland. “It's great. It's a big honour for me to be the personality of the year,” said the 28-year-old Wawrinka. “I had a lot of support in Switzerland, a lot of people watching what I'm doing, trying to support me during the year. For sure it's a big thing for me.”

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