World No 8 is in his best form and will open tournament in Abu Dhabi next month against No 3 David Ferrer.
Wawrinka will ride success wave into Abu Dhabi for Mubadala World Championship
After enjoying his most impressive season on the ATP Tour, Stanislas Wawrinka is looking to use next month’s Mubadala World Championship in Abu Dhabi as the launch pad to even better things in 2014.
The Swiss player, 28, will end the year ranked No 8, cracking the year-end top 10 for the first time. He finished at 17th last year.
The highlight was reaching the semi-finals of a grand slam for the first time at the US Open in September.
He beat Andy Murray, the Wimbledon champion, in straight sets in the quarter-finals, and it could have been even better in New York. He twice led against top-seeded Novak Djokovic before falling 2-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Wawrinka also qualified for the ATP World Finals for the first time, where he reached the semi-finals before losing in straight sets to Djokovic.
“I have achieved many things this year that I am very proud of and I hope to continue this momentum through to Abu Dhabi in December and into the 2014 season,” he said.
“The line-up in Abu Dhabi this year is really strong and after the season I’ve had, it seemed like the ideal time for me to play the tournament again. We’ll all be looking to see where we stand against each other after the off-season.”
The Mubadala tournament comes three weeks before the first major of the season, the Australian Open, where Wawrinka’s best performance was a run to the quarter-finals in 2011.
It will be Wawrinka’s second appearance at the Mubadala tournament, having previously competed in 2010, where he was a first-round loser to Robin Soderling.
He will open up proceedings on the first day, on December 26, against world No 3 David Ferrer at 5pm, with the reward for victory being a match against world No 1 Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals the following day.
While Ferrer has the better of their overall meetings, leading their head-to-head matches 7-5, Wawrinka has beaten the Spaniard the last two times they met, with the most recent being at the ATP finals, where he came from a set down to prevail 6-7, 6-4, 6-1.
“Ferrer is a great competitor and will certainly be a tough opponent for me, but my two recent wins against him give me confidence going into the tournament,” Wawrinka said. “It’s always close between us and with the winner going on to face Nadal, I know we’ll both be giving 100 per cent. I’m sure the crowds in Abu Dhabi will be in for a great opening night.”
The other men competing in the six-player event are Djokovic, Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, with the latter two also playing on the opening day, too.
The prize in the winner-take-all event is US$250,000 (Dh918,000).
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