Stan Wawrinka reveals battle with COVID
Swiss tennis ace Stan Wawrinka has revealed he tested positive for coronavirus at Christmas time last year.
The former Australian Open winner said his physical preparation has suffered ahead of the Australian Open but he is feeling stronger and ready to compete.
While serving his 14 day quarantine he has been able to practice on court almost every day for five hours.
"I'm starting to feel better after two weeks here," Wawrinka, 35, told the Herald Sun.
"I was actually positive for COVID during Christmas and it was not easy, it was a tough one. So when I came here I start to practice again and I'm starting to feel better again, but it takes time.
"I'm happy for chance to practice and I was a bit out of shape when I arrived because of the COVID before so I was happy and focused to get back the level, and I'm happy it's going well."
Wawrinka said he had been tested each day since arriving and he was grateful to be in Australia.
The three time grand slam winner is especially looking forward to playing in front of crowds and admits to being disappointed by the complaints from other players.
He was also surprised that Liberal MP Tim Smith called him a flog on Twitter after he posted a picture sitting at the dining table in his Grand Hyatt hotel room.
"I saw that, I was surprised because I was since day one really happy and grateful to be here and I always said it,'' Wawrinka said.
"The organisation is huge and I never complain about anything because I think it's a chance for us to come here to play a grand slam right now.
"It's been now few weeks that here in Victoria they have zero new case, we don't want to come and disturb that, we want to arrive, adapt and be welcome when we going to play tennis.
"Here it was important with what Australia been through for the entire six month lockdown, that when we arrived they were ready to welcome us and that we come as a guest.
"They did an amazing job to make this tournament happen with what is happening in the worldwide now.
"It's a difficult situation with many people in full lockdown because unlucky to be on plane with a positive case, but we knew rule before coming here."
Wawrinka is playing this week in the Murray River Open and the 18th ranked player will also take the opportunity to head to some restaurants in the city. He is expected to attend the Piper-Heidsieck dinner on Thursday as the French champagne's global ambassador.
Its Better Together campaign will launch at The Commons where a tennis activation is set up for the duration of the Open.
"I always enjoy to do activities with Piper, always something different and it's great they are involved in tennis,'' Wawrinka said.
"We cannot call it freedom, as I say it's been hard for lockdown and that's the minimum we can do to play here. It's great to give us the chance to have fans coming to the tournament. Hope we can celebrate the sport like we do every year here and that's what we love about coming back here in Australia is that everyone enjoy the sport and we try to do our best on the court."
Originally published as Stan Wawrinka reveals battle with COVID