Runner-up in 2010 and champion the following year, Stanislas Wawrinka was considered to be among the top favourites at the 2012 ATP Chennai Open. However, the Swiss failed to defend his title as he exited the tournament in the quarterfinals after falling to Japan’s Go Soeda.

A fan favourite, Wawrinka has regaled the spectators at the SDAT-Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium for years now and won many admirers for his powerful serve and one-handed backhand. Ahead of making his fifth appearance at the 2013 Chennai Open, the 27-year-old gave an exclusive interview to The Hindu.

Question: After a quarterfinal loss last year, how do you view your chances going into the Chennai Open

Answer: This event provides the best preparation for the Australian Open and I love the spectators there. After the off-season preparation, it’s easier to get back into gear in Chennai due to the tournament’s relaxed atmosphere. I have worked very hard in the off-season and hopefully I will be in the best form possible.

Q: What do you consider as the strongest facet of your game

A: I serve well usually and it helps me put pressure on opponents with my forehand and my backhand. Especially my backhand is really strong, so I can make the point with my backhand and finish it with a forehand.

Q: Winning the gold medal with Roger Federer at Beijing Olympics must have been a special moment for you. How do you view your relationship with him

A: Yes, of course, that was the greatest moment in my career so far. It’s great to be able to play in the same era as Roger. He gave me a lot of advice when I started on the tour since he was already No. 3 in the world back then. We get along very well and it’s always a pleasure to spend some time together.

Q: You are among the few current players who hit a one-handed backhand in men's tennis. Did this come naturally to you

A: My backhand is indeed my strongest weapon and I love what I can do with it. Roger Federer and Richard Gasquet also have beautiful one-handed backhands and it’s good to see that there are still a few players around who can do that.

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