Stan Wawrinka believes that Andy Murray’s return from injury will be far from easy. The Swiss player spent much of last year battling injury issues of his own, so he sympathises with Murray.
“I felt dead,” said Wawrinka as he analysed his own return to the tour. A first-round win over world No. 136 Ricardas Berankis at the Australian Open was a promising start. But his run ended quickly, as he struggled nearly 48 hours later.
“Two days after, my body was completely off,” said Wawrinka. “I lost 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, but I couldn’t really do anything.
“That’s mentally tough, because you have never experienced that in the past. So you need to learn from it, you need to adapt and accept it and be patient with yourself.”
Wawrinka laboured for 2hr 47min on court during the Berankis match, wining in four sets. This proved to be a Herculean task for a man who underwent two knee operations last year.
Fortunately, one bonus of coming back at a grand slam is that the chance of playing a moderate opponent in the first round is high. But in the Fever-Tree Championships, the draw is stacked with high-quality grass-court specialists.
“The difficult part, when you are injured, is to accept the process,” said Wawrinka, “If you want to practice three hours, you cannot. You’re not allowed to. It’s not good for you. You have to be patient and wait weeks or months to be able to do it.
“For me, it was like step by step, and the last step is to be 100 per cent physically ready and not going up and down during [matches lasting] five hours.
“I think I’m close to that. But there is only one way to do it. It’s to keep working out, to keep playing tournaments, keep fighting. And then you put everything back together.”
Unfortunately for Murray, he lost to Nick Kyrgios in 3 sets, putting a dent in his Wimbledon preparations.