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Tennis News Flash • “Shocked” By Magnus Norman Departure, Stan Wawrinka Heads Into 2018

Swiss tennis player Stan Wawrinka smiles during a press conference ahead of the 2018 tennis season in Geneva, Switzerland, 01 December 2017. EPA-EFE/CYRIL ZINGARO

 

 

“Shocked” by Norman departure, Wawrinka looks ahead to a healthier 2018 season

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Stan Wawrinka held a press conference on Friday afternoon at Switzerland’s Geneva Country Club, where he discussed a variety of topics as he wrapped up his 2017 season and looked ahead to the 2018 campaign.

 

Wawrinka last played at Wimbledon, where he took a first-round upset loss to Daniil Medvedev. The three-time major champion eventually announced in early August that he would miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury. Despite such an abbreviated schedule, Wawrinka still qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals thanks in part to runner-up finishes at Roland Garros and in Indian Wells Masters plus a semifinal performance at the Australian Open and a title on the clay courts of Geneva. Jack Sock replaced Wawrinka at the ATP Finals in London and ended up passing the 32-year-old in the rankings. As such, Wawrinka will go into next season as the world No. 9.

 

The Swiss hopes his 2018 campaign will begin at the Aussie Open, although that is a question mark at the moment. He is still recovering from his knee injury and plans to begin a full schedule of practice next week.

 

“Obviously after two operations, spending eight weeks on crutches, that’s quite simply the worst thing for a high-level athlete,” he explained. “Not only are you away from the court, you’re really really far away. Total inactivity. It’s clear it was a very difficult period. You have to get the muscles trained again–find your reflexes again.

 

“My goal is to play an exhibition at Abu Dhabi Dec. 26 to get some matches, test myself a little, see where I’m at. The goal is to do the maximum to be back at 100 percent. At the moment, everything is positive relative to that…. I’m too eager to have more results; to finish my career properly. I know I still have a few years ahead of me at a high level. I’m working hard. It seems to be going in the right direction.”

 

In terms of his coaching situation, however, that is going in a different direction. Wawrinka and Magnus Norman split earlier this fall and apparently it was not as amicable as Norman made it seem.

 

For Wawrinka, it was “a real surprise for me; a true shock–even more so knowing that I needed to lean on him, as part of my team, at that very moment (when I was injured).”

 

Wawrinka mentioned Paul Annacone as a potential replacement for Norman. Annacone has previously worked with Roger Federer and Pete Sampras, among plenty of others.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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