TENNIS: Stan Wawrinka has flagged his determination to excel in Australia next month by beating most of the stars into Brisbane in the tennis airlift from Europe.
Wawrinka (pictured), the US Open champion who countryman Roger Federer says has built a "full-blown mega career”, is understood to be arriving as early as Tuesday for his first tournament at the Queensland Tennis Centre next week.
Switzerland's world No. 4 has a first-round bye and might have as many as five valuable days of practice at the QTC before his debut match at Pat Rafter Arena.
The Swiss right-hander is breaking the habit of a near-lifetime by electing to play Brisbane after his past eight years of tennis each started at the ATP tournament in Chennai, India, where he won four titles.
"It's great Stan is getting in nice and early, as it's his first time in Brisbane,” tournament director Geoff Quinlan said.
"He can familiarise himself with the site, get used to the conditions and really set himself for a big summer of tennis.''
Fellow drawcards Rafael Nadal and Milos Raonic are playing in an exhibition in Abu Dhabi which starts on Thursday.
If one or both make the final they might not arrive in Brisbane until Monday morning.