January 14, 2017 / 7:26 AM / 3 years ago

First round the focus, not potential Kyrgios clash: Wawrinka

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Stan Wawrinka tried to remain focused on his opening match at the Australian Open despite local media prodding him on Saturday about a potential fourth round encounter with Nick Kyrgios.

Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka hits a shot during a training session on Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, January 11, 2017. REUTERS/David Gray

Interest in a possible match up between the two stems from their 2015 encounter in Montreal where Australian Kyrgios made a lewd comment about Wawrinka’s girlfriend and was subsequently censured.

The pair have met since, and patched up their differences, with 21-year-old Kyrgios beating the U.S. Open champion last year on clay at the Madrid Masters.

Wawrinka told reporters it was too early to talk about the chances of playing Kyrgios, who is reportedly suffering from a knee injury.

“I’m not there yet. He’s not there yet neither,” Wawrinka said. “For me it’s all about focus, what we do the first round. If I won the first round, then it’s going to be the second round.”

Wawrinka said his attention was fully focused on Slovakian first round opponent Martin Klizan.

“We all know how the draw is. We all look the draw, full draw, we all see what can be the draw for after,” Wawrinka added.

“But at the end the focus, it’s in the first match because if you don’t pass it, you never get to that match.”

Wawrinka, who beat Novak Djokovic to clinch the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows, switched up his preparations this year after having spent nine years playing the Chennai tournament, which he won four times.

The 30-year-old instead played in Brisbane, reaching the semi-finals where he lost to Japan’s Kei Nishikori, in an effort to try something different as he seeks to win his fourth grand slam title in as many years.

“I’ve been playing India for nine years in a row. I always enjoy there. I always liked it there,” he said.

“But I heard a lot of good things about Brisbane. I wanted to change a little bit to see some new city, some new tournament. It’s also good mentally.

“I’m really happy with the level I’m playing right now. I know that if I can keep pushing during the year, keep doing the right thing, the big result will come.”

Writing by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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