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Had to fight with myself to stay with Nishikori, says aggressive Wawrinka

Defending Champion Stan Wawrinka overpowered Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-4 7-6(6) to sail into the semi-final of the Australian Open and set up a showdown with the winner of top seed Novak Djokovic vs Milos Raonic. The transcript of Wawrinka's post-match interview is below.

 Stanislas Wawrinka of celebrates a point in his quarterfinal match against Kei Nishikori. Getty

Stanislas Wawrinka of celebrates a point in his quarterfinal match against Kei Nishikori. Getty

Q. After everything that happened in the tiebreak, how happy were you to see his dropshot hit the net?

STAN WAWRINKA: That one I was really happy because I was not going to get to that ball. Yeah, I had the wind with me, so it was not easy to make a dropshot, especially at that moment. No, it was a crazy tiebreak, but good tiebreak. Good to finish in three sets.

Q. You were serving very good with a lot of variety. Was that your plan?

STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, for sure today I was serving really well. I'm happy with that part of my game. It's never easy to break Kei because he's playing so well. You need to be focused on what you need to do. You need to change the speed. You need to change where you serve also. Yeah, I think it was one of my best match if I look about that.

Q. You're 6-0 in the tiebreak. Why are you so good at it?

STAN WAWRINKA: It's just the beginning of the season. We'll see at the end of the year. Two days ago I was lucky. I was down 6-2, I won the tiebreak with some luck. Today I was 6-1 up, but I start on the side with the wind, so that helps me a lot. He start with serve-volley. When he come back from 6-1 to 6-All, he was playing good, aggressive. I was a little bit hesitating. I didn't put first serve. It's never easy when you have so many match point to focus after. But 6-All I had the wind again. I was trying to be aggressive. Lucky that he missed the dropshot. Happy to make an ace after.

Q. Do you have the belief you can win this thing?

STAN WAWRINKA: I'm just happy to be back in the semifinal so far. Was important match for me today to play Nishikori. It's never easy. Had to be ready for that. Had to fight with myself to stay with him, to play really aggressive, to stay on my line, not give him the opportunity to put me in a defensive play. I'm happy that I did that really well today. I think was a great match in general.

Q. Do you feel you're starting to play at the level that brought you the title last year?

STAN WAWRINKA: No, I think I play better. But I think we all improve every year. I'm more aggressive. I'm more confidence with my game when I come to the net. Again, it's a Grand Slam. You play every two days. Today was a great level, was a great match. Now I'm going to enjoy a little bit, watch who's going to win tonight and get ready for the semifinal.

Q. Can you put yourself into your shoes at this same point last year. What do you know now that you can benefit from?

STAN WAWRINKA: I know that now I have a Grand Slam at home. I have the Grand Slam trophy. I won the Davis Cup also. I have the confidence from that. I know I can make it. I trust my game. I trust myself on the court even when we start to play semifinal or final in Grand Slam. Apart that, it's a new year. It's going to be a new semifinal. We'll see who I'm going to play.

Q. Except the match against Garcia-López, you played an unbelievable week. It's something about the preparation? Why are you so good in Australia?

STAN WAWRINKA: Why not? Why not? No, I think I got a lot of confidence from first winning the Davis Cup at the end of the year. I think since Shanghai I'm playing great tennis. I'm focused on what I'm doing every day. I'm trying to practice really hard, trying to improve my game. I had a really good Masters in London, playing one of my best tournaments indoor, losing semifinal against Roger. Then I had the important Davis Cup final. It was important mentally to get there, to play well. That's what I did. I had a short pre-season. But I'm trying to work hard. I'm trying to improve my game. I have the chance to have a great team around me with Magnus Norman, Pierre Paganini who are really behind me trying to push me every day. I got a lot of confidence by winning Chennai, the first tournament. My game is there and I'm happy to play here in Melbourne, to have a chance to play the semifinal again.

Q. Do you feel any pressure as the returning champ or the pressure is on someone like Novak?

STAN WAWRINKA: As I said before the tournament, I don't feel pressure by defending the title because I don't come here to defend it. I come here as a new challenge, a new Grand Slam. That's how I start the tournament. I'm really happy to be already in the semifinal, to play that well so far. As I say, I'm going to enjoy it because it was really important for me, this match, especially the way I deal with the pressure to play Nishikori. It's never easy for me, for my game. So I'm going to enjoy, watch the match tonight and get ready for the semifinal.

Q. This will be the third straight year you could play Djokovic. What do you think this next one could be like if you play him?

STAN WAWRINKA: I think for sure it will be funny to play him again. I will be happy to play him three straight year in a row. We had some crazy match in the Grand Slam in the past. Again, I'm not focused yet to play him. I need to see what's going to happen tonight. If I have to play him, you know when you play Novak, especially in semifinal in a Grand Slam, you have to play your best game. You have to play your best tennis if you want to push him. So far I'm playing great. I'm confidence with my game. I'm happy I won in three sets today. Let's see. I'm going to get ready for the semifinal.

Q. If it's Raonic, obviously a big server.

STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, Raonic, played him few times. Never easy. No one likes to play him. Serving big. Tough, tough to broke him. But also improve a lot his game from baseline. He's trying to be really aggressive. It's never easy. But so far I've been playing well against him. He's improving. He wants to be No. 1. He wants to win Grand Slams. It's going to be interesting to see tonight the match and then I will be ready for my next opponent.

Q. The third set, is that because of Kei raising his level or because of you lacking a little bit concentration or something?

STAN WAWRINKA: No, I think he start to play a little bit better, a little bit more aggressive on his service game. I drop one service game at the beginning of the third, but that's it. In general, the first two sets I was staying with him, I was staying on my line, trying to be the aggressive player, staying with his backhand, and pushing him on the defensive side. Yeah, start to play a little bit better, start to make some serve and volley to mix it up. For sure was a different set. It was close set. It was good for me to win it because if you go to a fourth set, you never know what happens. It's a new match which starts. In general I'm really happy the way I played today.

Interview transcript courtesty ausopen.com


Published Date: Jan 28, 2015 14:52 PM | Updated Date: Jan 28, 2015 15:15 PM

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