Stan Wawrinka con­firms AO start

The Hitavada - - SPORTS -

RE­LIEVED former win­ner Stan Wawrinka con­firmed on Satur­day he will play the Aus­tralian Open, say­ing his knee is hold­ing up well but he was still feel­ing pain.

The three-time Grand Slam cham­pion hasn’t played since Wim­ble­don in July af­ter surgery and pulled out of an ex­hi­bi­tion event in Abu Dhabi late last month, cast­ing doubt on whether he would be ready. He ad­mit­ted it had been a race against time, but said he was con­fi­dent enough to take the court next week against first-round op­po­nent Ri­car­das Ber­ankis.

“For me, I think the fact that I’m here and I’m go­ing to play the first one, it’s a big vic­tory,” he said af­ter a week of in­tense prac­tice in Melbourne against Rafael Nadal, No­vak Djokovic and oth­ers.

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