Three-times Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka said his niggling injury problems were finally behind him after quarter-final runs in Rotterdam and Marseille catapulted him back into the top 100 in the world rankings.
Wawrinka, 37, returned to the tennis circuit in March 2022 after more than a year on the sidelines following two operations on his left foot.
The Swiss veteran had said after his first-round U.S. Open exit that he was getting closer to hanging up his racket but he was a lot more optimistic after battling past Aleksandar Vukic 6-4 1-6 6-1 at Indian Wells on Thursday.
“I’ve been practising good so I’m feeling physically and tennis-wise good. Happy to get the win, it’s an important match and hopefully I can keep going,” former world number three Wawrinka told reporters after his first-round victory.
Wawrinka said re-entering the top 100 was an important step in his progress.
“It was….for sure, after being out for so long from surgery, after struggling to come back, to get in shape again physically, to feel good tennis-wise,” Wawrinka said.
“To be back in the top 100 is always an important number. Of course I want to keep going up in the rankings. Hopefully I can also be seeded in Grand Slams and these (ATP Masters 1000) events. We’ll see.
“Week after week, I think in general the level is there so hopefully I can keep winning many matches this year.” Wawrinka will play 26th seed Miomir Kecmanovic next.