Stan Wawrinka will look to rebound from his semi-final exit at the Australian Open, when he arrives to Rotterdam as the fourth seed of the tournament. The Swiss No. 2 will begin his campaign against local talent Jesse Huta Galung, whom he has never faced previously on the professional tour.
Although Wawrinka has not played in Rotterdam since 2005, he is excited to perform at the event. He trained with Grigor Dimitrov on Sunday and is prepared to play his first February indoor tournament in a decade.
“It’s good indoor conditions. I’m happy with my level in general. I’m excited to start here.I want to win tournaments and finish at the best [Emirates ATP] Ranking. I’m hungry to be here and improve. I have to be clever with my schedule and what I’ll play this year.”
The former Aussie Open champion will meet Dutch wildcard entrant Jesse Huta Galung in his opening round match at the event. The 29-year-old is ranked at No. 248 in the ATP Rankings and will be hard-pressed to topple the fourth seed at the event.
“I’ve seen him many years, but I’ve never played or practised with him,” Wawrinka said of his upcoming opponent. “I’ll watch a few videos and talk to my coach. The Dutch always play well here, he will be pumped for the first match and he’ll be ready and dangerous.”
This marks the first time that these two competitors will meet on the ATP World Tour. Wawrinka will undoubtedly be the favourite at the event, and will be expected to close out the match in quick fashion. However, considering this is an opponent he has never played before, it is more than possible that Galung takes advantage of having nothing to lose, and push the Swiss to deep waters.
Prediction: Stan Wawrinka in Straight Sets