Stan Wawrinka believes the ‘Big Four’ are as dangerous as ever as he looks to complete a career Grand Slam at Wimbledon.
The Swiss has enjoyed a fine start to the year, reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open and the final of the French Open, while being a losing finalist at Indian Wells and winning the title in Geneva.
However, he has struggled on grass in the past, having never gone beyond the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, and is traditionally ranked relatively low on the list of favourites.
Wawrinka endured a difficult grass-court season in 201 – winning just one match on the surface – but his impressive form this year combined with the struggles of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic and the persistent knee problems of Rafael Nadal has given rise to talk that he could potentially cause an upset this year.
But the 32-year-old played down his chances ahead of Queen’s and believes the draw will be as tough as ever given the revitalisation of Roger Federer and Nadal.
‘I don’t think it’s a better chance [of winning],’ he said.
‘It’s a bit more open with more players that can play their best tennis in the same tournament. I think Roger is playing so well for sure he is going to be favourite.
‘Andy has back some confidence from playing well at the French Open and he loves the grass so he’s going to be also a favourite.
‘Novak is not at his best yet but is still trying to push. Also Rafa has been playing so well since the beginning of the year so if he is fit and moving well for the grass he will also be a favourite.
‘So I just think you have more players you can put at the top of the list of favourites.’
One change Wawrinka has made heading into the third Grand Slam of 2017 is the addition of Pete Sampras and Federer’s former coach Paul Annacone.
The American will join the world No. 3’s regular team, headed by Magnus Norman, as they look to help him find his feet on the surface.
But he played down that Annacone’s addition to his backroom team was purely about improvement on grass.
‘He’s an amazing coach,’ he added.
‘He’s worked with some of the best players in the world for so many years. He knows a lot about grass but also about tennis in general.
‘I think we decided it was more to try to help my game in general, not only on grass but also the big picture in general.
‘I think it’s going to be a good experience and hopefully we can do some good work with Magnus and Paul.’