Wawrinka still short of full fitness

21 December 2017 03:13:45 GMTPlus11

Stan Wawrinka says that he is hopeful of competing at next month's Australian Open, even though he will not be fully fit.

The Swiss three-times Grand Slam winner has been out of action since the summer, a first round defeat at Wimbledon being his last match in 2017.

The goal is to play the Australian Open, even if I'm not 100 per cent.

Stan Wawrinka

Since then he has been sidelined with a knee injury ruling him out of defending his title at the US Open and the end of season ATP Tour Finals.

Since ending the season early Wawrinka has been stepping up his rehabilitation but match fitness is still short and he has announced that he will not be in Abu Dhabi for the Mubadala World Tennis Championships at the end of the year.

However, despite that setback he is still aiming to be in Melbourne for the first Grand Slam of 2018.

He told L'Equipe: "I had problems with this knee since the Basel tournament in 2016.

"My only regret is not having stopped my grass [court] season earlier, which has only aggravated the situation.

"Today, I'm working with my physio six days out of seven. The goal is to play the Australian Open, even if I'm not 100 per cent."

Wawrinka is 26.00 to win the Australian Open with defending champion Roger Federer 2.75 and this year's beaten finalist Rafael Nadal priced at 5.50.

If Wawrinka does compete in Melbourne he will join a number of other returnees to the sport. Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have both, like Wawrinka, been missing from the sport since Wimbledon, while Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic are two others set to compete after injury lay-offs.

Wawrinka, assuming he does play in Australia, will be appearing in his first Grand Slam since his split with coach Magnus Norman, the pair ending their four-year partnership in October.

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