Stan Wawrinka says 2014 success a tough act to follow
World number four Stanislas Wawrinka on Monday played down expectations of repeating his sensational form of last season in the new year, saying he was not taking success at the top for granted.
The 29-year-old enjoyed a memorable run in 2014, which began with victory in the Australian Open for his first Grand Slam title and ended with a starring role in Switzerland`s maiden Davis Cup triumph.
In between, the genial Swiss rose from number eight to break into the top four that had for long appeared to be the preserve of compatriot Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.
"I know it will be really tough to stay in the top four," Wawrinka told reporters on the sidelines of the $450,000 ATP Chennai Open tournament which started on Monday.
"It was tough to get there and it will be tougher to stay there. But we all start the new year from zero, so let`s see how it goes.
"Last year was really amazing for me, I could not have expected more. But the hunger is still there. I want to win more matches, win more tournaments and hopefully a few Grand Slams as well."
Wawrinka, who hopes to defend his Chennai Open title this week to tune up for the Australian Open in Melbourne from January 19, said he was not looking too far ahead.
"At the start of the season, I want to focus on myself, focus on my fitness and improve my game," he said. "It will be good to win a few matches in Chennai so that I am ready when the Australian Open starts."
Wawrinka predicted an interesting year ahead for tennis, with younger players like Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic trying to join the elite group.
"This is bound to be an interesting year," he said. "Young guys like Nishikori, Cilic and others are playing well, so it won`t be easy for anyone out there."
Wawrinka is making his seventh appearance in the southern Indian city, where his victory last year sparked an incredible run that led to his Australian Open success.
On the way to his first Grand Slam title, he defeated Djokovic in the quarter-finals and then upset top seed Nadal in the final at the Rod Lever Arena in Melbourne.
Wawrinka ended the year in a blaze of glory, setting up his country`s first Davis Cup win by beating French number one Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on the opening day, before partnering Federer to victory in the doubles.
In Chennai, Wawrinka faces a strong challenge from a largely Spanish field that includes world number 14 Feliciano Lopez, number 15 Roberto Bautista-Agut, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Marcel Granollers.
Other leading contenders are Belgium`s David Goffin, Luxembourg`s Gilles Muller, Taiwanese veteran Yen-Hsun Lu and 2014 runner-up Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France.
The top four seeds -- Wawrinka, Lopez, Bautista-Agut and Goffin -- have received a bye in the first round of the 32-man field. The champion will pocket $73,400 and 250 ranking points.