Swiss tennis star Stan Wawrinka has announced that he tested positive for coronavirus at Christmas time last year.
The former Australian Open winner said his physical preparation had suffered before the Australian Open but he felt stronger and more ready to compete.
During his 14-day quarantine, he was able to practice in court for almost five hours a day.
« I was positive for COVID at Christmas and it wasn’t easy, it was a tough question. When I got here I start practicing again and I feel better again, but it takes time.
« I am excited about the chance to practice and was a little out of shape when I arrived because of the COVID so I was happy and focused getting the level back up and I’m glad that things are going well. »
Wawrinka said he has been tested every day since arriving and was grateful to be in Australia.
The three-time Grand Slam winner is particularly excited to play in front of an audience and admits to being disappointed with complaints from other players.
He was also surprised that Liberal MP Tim Smith called him a beating on Twitter after posting a picture at the dining table in his Grand Hyatt hotel room.
« I saw that, I was surprised because I was really happy and grateful to be here from day one and I always said it, » said Wawrinka.
« The organization is huge and I never complain about anything because I think it’s a chance for us to come here to play a Grand Slam right now.
« It’s been a couple of weeks now that you haven’t had a new case here in Victoria. We don’t want to come and disturb it. We want to arrive, adapt and be welcome when we play tennis. »
« Here it was important that Australia was ready to welcome us for six months when we arrived and that we came as guests.
« You have done a great job making this tournament happen with what is happening around the world now.
« It’s a difficult situation where a lot of people are completely banned because they are unlucky enough to be on the plane with a positive case, but we knew the rules before we came here. »
Wawrinka is playing the Murray River Open this week and the 18th player will also take the opportunity to visit some of the restaurants around town. He is expected to attend the Piper Heidsieck dinner on Thursday as the global ambassador for French champagne.
The Better Together campaign will be launched at The Commons, where tennis activation will be set up for the duration of the Open.
« I always enjoy doing activities with Piper, always something different and it’s great that they are into tennis, » said Wawrinka.
« We can’t call it freedom as I say it was hard for Lockdown and that’s the minimum we can do to play here. It’s great to give us the chance to have fans come to the tournament. Me hope we can celebrate the sport the way we do. » Here every year and what we love about our return to Australia is that everyone enjoys the sport and we try to do our best on the pitch. »
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