Sunday, January 24, 2016

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Wawrinka's voice, Tomic hits out at Federer, Raonic's heartfelt dedication

Stan Wawrinka joked that he preferred being sick and not having a voice to avoid “talking s***” after the No4 seed overcame Lukas Rosol to reach the Australian Open fourth round on Saturday.

Suffering from a cold for the past week, Wawrinka showed little signs of struggle as he beat the powerful Czech 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(3), slamming down 18 aces in the process, to set up a last 16 showdown with No13 seed Milos Raonic.

Wawrinka’s voice sounded hoarse in his on-court interview with Jim Courier which prompted the American to ask him if he was ill. “Last few days I couldn’t really talk, but I’ve been okay, maybe too many cigars,” joked the 2014 champion.

“I have a bit of a cold, but as long as I feel well on the court, I don’t really need my voice. If I can talk, I talk too much s***, so it’s better.”

Federer said in Brisbane: “He's (Tomic) been good, but then top 10 is another story. The year is not just one month long or one week long. It's 52 weeks. It's every day.

“That he's been struggling to show, to be quite honest. Many seasons now in a row we have seen or heard that top 10 is the goal, and he's missed out on it by a long shot. I think before speaking so highly, maybe it's good to take it to the next level, whatever that is. We shall see.”

Tomic, who booked a fourth round meeting with Andy Murray with a 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-2 over John Millman, did not appreciate the Swiss’ comments.

He said on Saturday: “Well, he has his predictions. I think he's also far away from Djokovic as well if he wants to say that. If he believes I'm very far away from the top 10, I also believe my prediction that he's nowhere near Novak's tennis right now. “It also motivates me. I'm working for that. When I'm playing well, I'm a top-eight player in the world. My ranking has to get there.”

Earlier in the day, French No23 seed Gael Monfils recorded his 350th tour-level victory with a hard-fought 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 triumph over his 35-year-old compatriot Stephane Robert.

Meanwhile, Raonic gave an emotional on-court dedication to the victims of the school shooting in Saskatchewan in Canada after his 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 over Sydney champion Viktor Troicki.

“Today, before I stepped out on court it was a difficult day back home,” Raonic told the crowd at Margaret Court Arena.

“Unfortunately in Saskatchewan, in a very small community, there was a shooting at a high school so I want to take a moment to give thoughts to that community, the family, the students and the school affected. We wish you all the best. Today’s victory was for that community and a quick recovery. All of Canada and I’m sure the world is behind you.”

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