Stan Wawrinka has qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held in London in November, the ATP announced today.
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Wawrinka is the fourth player to qualify for the season-ending championship, which features the eight players who have accumulated the most points over the calendar year. Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, French Open champion Rafael Nadal and Wimbledon finalist Roger Federer had all previously qualified.
Wawrinka played at the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time in 2013 and reached the semifinals with wins over Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer in the round-robin stage, losing to Djokovic in straight sets in the final four.
‘I'm extremely happy to be back in London,’ Wawrinka said. ‘It was my dream and goal to qualify again this year after the great experience in 2013. It's only my second time at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and being part of this great event remains a childhood dream for me. The atmosphere in London is one of a kind and it means a lot to me to be there together with the very best players of the world.’
It’s slightly ironic that Wawrinka’s qualification should occur at this point as he has had a poor Asian swing, going winless in Tokyo (where he lost to world no. 103 Tatsuma Ito) and Shanghai, where he fell to eventual champion Gilles Simon.
But Wawrinka’s season as a whole has certainly been highlighted by some extraordinary successes. After teaming up with Magnus Norman, former coach of Robin Soderling, in 2013, Wawrinka opened 2014 by winning the Chennai Open and his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open – the first player not named Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray to win a Slam since Juan Martin del Potro in 2009.
The rest of Wawrinka’s season hasn’t quite lived up to that stunning feat, but Wawrinka did go on to win a first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo, denying Federer in the final, as well as the semifinals of Queen’s and quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Wawrinka has also teamed up with Federer to spectacular effect in Davis Cup, with the two of them due to lead the Swiss team against France in the Davis Cup final, which is the weekend after the World Tour Finals.
With Wawrinka’s qualification, there are now four spots open in one of the most gripping contests for the World Tour Finals we have seen in some years.
US Open Marin Cilic, the only player to win a Grand Slam in 2014 who has not yet qualified, will earn the fifth spot automatically next week unless Tomas Berdych or Milos Raonic wins a title (Berdych is playing in Stockholm, Raonic in Moscow).
Other contenders for the final spots are Kei Nishikori (not playing this week after back-to-back trophies in Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo), David Ferrer and Andy Murray, who have both taken wildcards into Vienna, and Grigor Dimitrov, who is defending his title in Stockholm.
The ATP World Tour Finals are played at London’s o2 Arena from 9-16 November, with the eight players divided into two round-robin groups and the top two players from each group progressing to the semifinals.