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Wawrinka looking at a strong start to season

Swiss ace opens against Spanish world No. 10 Busta at Mubadala Championship

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Stan Wawrinka is hoping that success at the 10th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) will mark the start of a standout season.

Making his fifth appearance in the tournament, the three-time Grand Slam Champion will start his campaign on the opening day where he will look to extend his three-match winning streak against the world No. 10 Pablo Carreño Busta, with the winner taking on Rafael Nadal for a place in the final.

One of only three men to beat the Big Four at the Grand Slams, Wawrinka has always considered the MWTC as a great way to start the season. He said: “I have always enjoyed playing in Abu Dhabi. The fans are amazing and the level of tennis is among the best anywhere in the world.”

Commenting on his return to action, he said: “Since ending the 2017 campaign, I’ve been working hard each day to get ready for the new season. The Championship will offer the perfect opportunity for me to get back on the court ahead of the year’s first Grand Slam. This year’s line-up is one of the most competitive ever and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

The Swiss player ended three straight years at No. 4 in the ATP rankings between 2014 and 2016 and has an enviable record of having won 11 straight finals in the same period.

At the French Open, this year, the world No. 9 stormed into the semi-final without losing a set and came through a gruelling five-set thriller with then world number one and two-time MWTC Champion Andy Murray. In the final however, he was unable to stop Rafael Nadal from completing ‘La Decima’ — an incredible 10th title at Roland Garros.

The Swiss won his first Grand Slam in 2014, beating Nadal in the final of the Australian Open and subsequently went on to beat Novak Djokovic in the 2015 French Open and 2016 US Open to take home his second and third Grand Slam titles.

The 32-year-old Wawrinka will be looking to get back to winning ways at the MWTC where the Swiss powerhouse will be joined by current world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, 12-time Grand Slam Champion Novak Djokovic, world No. 5 Dominic Thiem, recent US Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreño Busta and former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic. The championship will run from December 28-30 at the International Tennis Center at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.

Tickets to the championship are currently on sale for the general public at www.ticketmaster.ae and all Virgin Megastores across the UAE. For more information, visit www.mubadalawtc.com.

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