Swiss world No. 17 Stanislas Wawrinka sounded a note of caution ahead of his title defense in the 2012 Aircel Chennai Open starting on Monday, saying the field was "very interesting" and that nothing could be taken for granted in the world of professional tennis.
"I always look forward to the week in Chennai. The conditions suit my game and I have played some great matches in this stadium. The atmosphere can get very electric, the crowd is very enthusiastic, and that's something I like," he said, ahead of the 17th edition of the Chennai Open to be held from January 2-8.
"The draw is very interesting and it will be a great tournament for sure," he said of the impressive field that includes Serbian world No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic, world No. 10 Nicolas Almagro of Spain and big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic.
"Tipsarevic has showed in 2011 that he is one of the contenders for the top 10 in 2012; Raonic is a young player with an impressive game who loves to play on any fast surface and will for sure cause some upsets in the next few months. Almagro is a big fighter and always a tough opponent," said the Beijing Olympics doubles gold medallist, who is appearing in his fourth successive season at the Chennai tournament.
Wawrinka said he enjoyed playing in the India tournament and hoped for a good result again.
"As I said, I'm looking forward to defend my title. I've played some great tennis here and hope that it will be the case again this year. The tournament has a great line-up and it will be very challenging. The level in men's tennis is great and you have to play your best to be able to win matches, not even talking about reaching finals or titles. But I'm confident that I can do well again, hopefully with the support of the crowd.
"This will be my fourth time in Chennai. I always feel very welcome here. Tournament director Fernando Soler and his local team are doing a great job. The event is very well organized and the Indian people are very kind, making us feel very welcome."
The Swiss is hoping to break back into the top on the ATP circuit.
"I can't wait to kick off the season after working hard during the off season," said Wawrinka, who is a fan of Irish rock band U2 and basketball player Kobe Bryant.Â
"I love those events at the beginning of the year and hopefully I can do as well as last year or maybe even better. Breaking back into the top-10 would be great and is always one of my goals. I'm not that far and feel that I can do it," said Wawrinka.
"My preparation was great. I spent some time in Gstaad in the Swiss mountains where I did a lot of physical work. Then I went back to Lausanne where I practiced a lot on the court with some Swiss players. I feel like I'm ready and well prepared.
The 2008 Olympic gold medallist in men's doubles helped bring Switzerland back into the Davis Cup World Group this year and is looking forward to defending his Olympic title in London.
"Helping to bring Switzerland back into the World Group in Davis Cup was one of my biggest achievements in 2011. Roger (Federer) has confirmed his participation for the first round tie against the USA. We haven't discussed all the details yet but we will fight hard to defend our title at the Olympics in Wimbledon," he said.