Facing Roger Federer in the quarterfinals calls for a game plan, and his old friend Stanislas Wawrinka has a few new tricks at his disposal.
Sixteen-time Grand Slam champion Federer and No. 19-ranked Wawrinka are friends. They won a gold medal playing doubles together at the Beijing Olympics.
When they walk to opposite sides of the net on Tuesday it will be the first time two Swiss players have met in a Grand Slam quarterfinal.
There’s little debate about who is favourite to win, but Wawrinka has had an impressive run to the quarters. He beat Gael Monfils in the third round and No. 8 Andy Roddick in the fourth.
Wawrinka, who is right-handed, has been working on hitting left-handed - a skill he has tested in practice sessions but not yet unveiled in matches.
It started as a bet with a friend over the summer - “I need to play a match against him with my left hand, so that’s why I’m practicing every day,” he said. “I just try to have fun, and that’s it,” he said, adding. “We’ll see how it’s going.”
Wawrinka also started with a new coach in July, Peter Lundgren, who coached Federer and Marat Safin in the past.
“He knows how to win Grand Slams,” Wawrinka said of his new coach. “So, for sure, that helps me a lot.”
Federer has beaten Wawrinka in six of seven matches. “I always wish him all the best, even against me,” Federer said.
Keywords: Australian Open