Wawrinka seeks to end the title drought in the secondary desert show
Doha, January 5 (AFP) Stan Wawrinka expects the Qatar Open to end his worrisome drought in the title, although the fanfare surrounding the newly created ATP Cup more than 10,000 km away in Australia means that his efforts this week can have difficulty registering just one flaw in the Tennis Radar world.
Wawrinka, 34, a three-time main winner, is the main favorite in Doha, which has a respectable prize fund of $ 1.4 million.
However, former Qatari champions Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are theft cards in the ATP Cup, currently underway in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, as are 14 other members of the top 20 in the world.
Wawrinka ranks 16th but he lost the razzmatazz 'Down Under' after his 38-year-old Swiss teammate Roger Federer opted for a longer break during the winter.
In an indication of how bad the Qatar tournament has been for the ATP Cup, Russian Andrey Rublev, the 23rd World Cup, takes the second seed.
We've been talking to the ATP Tour for the past year and a half to find a solution, said Qatar Open tournament director Karim Alami to The Peninsula as he reflected on the awkward moment of an event that has been a key warm-up for The Australian Open since Boris Becker won the inaugural title in 1993.
We are trying to find another date, perhaps sometime in February before the event in Dubai so that it can be part of the Middle East change.
Wawrinka hasn't won a title since he got into his 16th career in the mud of Geneva in 2017.
His last outdoor trophy was in 2016 when he captured his third and most recent Grand Slam at the US Open.
Since then, the popular Swiss has been pushed to the brink of retirement for two episodes of surgery on his left knee.
A long absence from the tour meant that its world ranking, which once peaked at three in 2014, sank to 263 four years later.
Wawrinka, runner-up of Andy Murray in Doha in 2008 and quarterfinals 12 months ago, will face French veteran Jeremy Chardy or a qualifier in his first game in the capital of Qatar.
Rublev, defeated by Frenchman Gael Monfils in the 2019 final, will face Tunisian joker Malek Jaziri or Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.
Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 2012 champion, faces the winner of the tie between Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia and the Australian Jordan Thompson. The Canadian Milos Raonic, seeded fourth, starts against Tennys Sandgren of the United States or a qualifier. (AFP) APA APA