Stan Wawrinka is two weeks away from opening his French Open title defense. The Swiss, though, has his list of favorites, and he puts the man he beat in the 4-set final, Novak Djokovic, at the top of the list.
“I see Novak, for sure, the favorite, as last year,” Wawrinka said in Rome. “I think he’s going to be tough to beat. He’s going to be the big favorite. Then I would put Murray and Rafa. Rafa is starting to get back some confidence. He’s playing better. Murray is playing extremely well since few years now especially on clay. Last year he won Madrid. Now he’s in the final again.”
Wawrinka comes into Rome after a tough stretch. He hasn’t beaten a Top 10 player on the season is just 4-4 since his Dubai title. But he reminded the press he wasn’t playing well at this time a year ago.
“Last year I was struggling with my game before here,” Wawrinka said. ‘I was starting only here to practice a little bit better, to find some level. I wasn’t playing great tennis. I start little by little to play better and better in Rome, Geneva, and then in Paris.
“This year I’m just feeling really good in practice. I think I’m playing well. That’s why I know that if I keep pushing myself the rest will come sooner or later. I don’t know when, but I know that my level is there.”
Wawrinka begins in Rome against his friend Benoit Paire. Last year he beat Rafael Nadal the quarterfinals before losing the Roger Federer.
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