Chennai: World number eight and former champion Stanislas Wawrinka today said he loves coming here for the Aircel Chennai Open as he considers the city a nice place to start the season due to its weather and crowd support.
The Swiss, who won the event in 2011 after finishing runner-up the previous year, had clinched the doubles title in the previous edition with Frenchman Benoit Paire.
"I love to come back to Chennai, it is a nice place to start the year. You cut a little bit of the travel from Europe to Australia. This tournament is a good combination, not too hot, it`s humid. It`s close to Australia but not as hot. It`s a good tournament, crowds are good.
That`s why I`m happy to come back," Wawrinka, who has been given top billing, said.
Often asked about his more established compatriot Roger Federer, Wawrinka said he does not aspire to better the multiple Grand Slam winner, who happens to be his friend as well.
"My goal is not to break into the top four. I am number eight now, the first time I have finished in the top 10. I know that I can still improve, for sure, but I don`t know where I can go," he said.
"The only thing I can control is how I practice, how I get ready for the tournament, and how I do my schedule, that`s it. I will try to do my best, but I have no idea what`s going to happen," he added.
"It`s not my goal to have better ranking than Roger. I am sure he`s working really hard to get back into the top, he`s practising hard to become a top player, I am sure he`s going to have a better year than last year. He`s a good friend."
Asked about his chances of winning the Chennai Open after the injury-forced pullout by defending champion Janko Tipserevic, Wawrinka said, "I know that if I play well, I can do well here. But it is the first tournament of the year, so you don`t really know what`s going to happen."
"The first two rounds are going to be really important. I know I can win the tournament, but it`s not easy at all. We have some really tough games in the draw. So I will try to take it match after match and see where I can go," he added.
On former players getting back into the game as coaches, he said, "We will see. It`s good for
tennis to get players like (Stefan) Edberg, (Boris) Becker and others to get back in the tour.
Maybe it`s the right moment for them."
As for the season gone by, Wawrinka said he was happy with the way things went for him.
"It has been a really good year. I think, maybe the self confidence that I can beat a top player, I did it a few times. Maybe that`s what`s the main thing for me. I improved my game, my fitness, that was the main thing for me," he said.
Wawrinka was also asked about the current crop of Indian players.
Asked what advice he would give to the country`s young players, the 28-year-old Wawrinka said, "It`s difficult to give advice. When you are really young, it`s important to go out there and play tennis. You need to love it, and not play it because you have to."