Following injury and split from Norman, Wawrinka hopes to play Australian Open

Stan Wawrinka held a press conference on Friday at the Geneva Country Club in Switzerland, where he discussed a variety of topics as he wrapped up his 2017 campaign and looked ahead to next season.

Wawrinka last played at Wimbledon, suffering a first-round upset loss at the hands of Daniil Medvedev. The Swiss eventually announced in early August that he would miss the rest of the year due to a knee injury. Despite such an abbreviated schedule, Wawrinka still qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals thanks in part to runner-up performances at Roland Garros and at the Indian Wells Masters to go along with a semifinal showing at the Australian Open and a title on the red clay of Geneva. Jack Sock replaced Wawrinka at the year-end championship in London and proceeded to pass the 32-year-old in the rankings, so Wawrinka will go into 2018 at No. 9 in the world.

The three-time Grand Slam champion hopes his season will begin at the Australian Open, although that is a question mark at the moment. He is still recovering from his knee issue and plans to begin a full schedule of training next week.

“Obviously after two operations, spending eight weeks on crutches, that’s quite simply the worst thing for a high-level athlete,” Wawrinka reflected. “Not only are you away from the court, you’re really really far away. Total inactivity. It’s clear it was a very difficult period. You have to get the muscles trained again–find your reflexes again.

“My goal is to play an exhibition at Abu Dhabi Dec. 26 to get some matches, test myself a little, see where I’m at. The goal is to do the maximum to be back at 100 percent. At the moment, everything is positive relative to that…. I’m too eager to have more results; to finish my career properly. I know I still have a few years ahead of me at a high level. I’m working hard. It seems to be going in the right direction.”

In terms of his coaching situation, however, a different direction is being taken. Wawrinka and Magnus Norman parted ways earlier this fall and apparently the split was not as amicable as Norman made it seem.

For Wawrinka, it was “a real surprise for me; a true shock–even more so knowing that I needed to lean on him, as part of my team, at that very moment (when I was injured).”

Wawrinka mentioned current Tennis Channel analyst Paul Annacone as a potential replacement. Annacone has previously worked with Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, among others.

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