Stan 'The Man' Wawrinka. The 34-year-old Swiss workhorse and three-time Grand Slam winner has a special place in the hearts of Australian tennis fans thanks to a notorious win at the Australian Open back in 2014.
Currently sitting world No.15 in the ATP rankings, Wawrinka is feeling as fit as he ever has ahead of his 2020 season, starting once again here at the Australian Open.
Top of his game
"I think I'm a better player now than what I was when I won my Grand Slams," says Stan Wawrinka, with a confident smile.
"But the other players are too. I guess that's the challenge of tennis and why I love this game: the never ending challenge of finding ways to improve."
Wawrinka is softly spoken, somewhat dishevelled but still carries the fitness and strength of a player at the peak of his career.
With a dedicated training regime prepared by his long-time fitness coach, Wawrinka is ready to tackle the 2020 season and give it his all.
"I have to say, I feel really good coming into the Australian Open. I have had a good off season and I've been working out physically for both my tennis game and my overall fitness," says Wawrinka.
"I'm happy with my form and going into my 18th season on tour, I still feel happy and fresh physically and mentally. I hope to play some good tennis here."
A tricky tournament
The Australian Open bares no mercy for those involved: players of all levels are tested. With a gruelling two-week schedule often coinciding with a Melbourne heatwave, the players not only have to be physically fit to compete, but mentally, also.
"My fitness coach, who has been with me for over ten years, always reiterates how important my schedule is, so I stick to that: the way you play, when you play and how much you play is vital," says Wawrinka.
"It's tough to win here, that's for sure. It's a long way to travel and a long two-week tournament. But I have always played well here and I enjoy the conditions. My body is feeling great so hopefully I can start well and go from there."
With the likes of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic - the holy trinity of tennis - still at the helm of the ATP rankings plus a wealth of young talent also earning their stripes, Wawrinka is all eyes on getting back into the top 10.
"It's going to be difficult to take the spots from the guys at the top but I think I have the level for it. I trust myself and I'm going to push my hardest," says Wawrinka.
"The game is constantly evolving, becoming faster and harder to compete. For me, tennis is a big puzzle: it's about the mental and physical challenges you have to overcome. You need to put everything together at the right moment, and that's the tricky part."
But with a successful 2019 season, and playing some strong tennis at the recent Qatar Open, Wawrinka is set on achieving some great results this year.
"The season is long but if I do the right thing and develop some consistency, I will have a chance to get back in the top 10, for sure."
A winner's toast
Should Wawrinka stick to his strict fitness regime, there's no denying that he is able to relive his former glory of a world top ten ATP ranking.
Until then, the official ambassador for Piper-Heidsieck might be staying away from the bubbles, but if his form is anything to go by, he'll be raising a glass in celebration in no time at all.
Piper-Heidsieck is the official champagne sponsor of the 2020 Australian Open.