LONDON (Reuters) - Stanislas Wawrinka knows the challenge Andy Murray faces as he juggles the ATP World Tour Finals with preparing for a Davis Cup final but says the Scot will cope with his tricky schedule.
Wawrinka reached the semi-finals at the O2 season-ender last year, losing a grueling epic to Federer, before they teamed up to lead Switzerland to glory against France a few days later.
This year’s Davis Cup final, like last year’s, will be contested on an indoor claycourt, as Belgium seek to make the most of home advantage in Ghent and try to erode the impact of world number two Murray who will spearhead Britain’s challenge for a first title since 1936.
With his first match at the Tour Finals looming on Monday against David Ferrer, Murray said on Friday he had yet to hit a ball on the medium-paced indoor hardcourt at the 02, preferring instead to cram in some more claycourt practise.
“I think he’s already practised this week on clay and he has a good plan and he knows exactly what he’s doing,” said Wawrinka, who beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the opening match of last year’s Davis Cup final to put Switzerland on the way.
“He knows how he is feeling. I’m sure Andy will be ready. He’s had an amazing year, not just on the Tour but also what he did in the Davis Cup which has been quite impressive. I’m sure he will be ready for the final.”
Murray, who has been drawn in a group with Spaniards Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer, and Wawrinka, will finish the year as world number two for the first time with a strong showing in London, and looked relaxed at his news conference on Friday.
“It’s been good, practised Monday to Thursday on the clay and that went well,” Murray said.
“The preparations have been tricky, it’s never going to be perfect, but, you know, I would have signed up to be in this situation at the end of the year in comparison to last year and hopefully I can play some good tennis here and the Davis Cup.”
Federer, who pulled out of last year’s final against Novak Djokovic with a back injury that threatened his appearance in the Davis Cup final, said British fans should not be too worried about Murray’s ability to switch surfaces so quickly.
“It’s something we do, maybe not in a few days, but it’s not very worrying,” he said. “If you had more time you would play better tennis but (the Davis Cup final) it’s not a tournament, it’s a two or three day thing and it’s more important you are mentally ready.
“It’s a great challenge for Andy.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Toby Davis