Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka has agreed with Novak Djokovic's observation that it is also mentally difficult to come back from injuries.
Both returned at the beginning of the season from long layoffs, Wawrinka from knee surgery in 2017 and Djokovic from elbow problems that required surgery a few months ago. Neither has won a tournament this season.
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“I know when I got the surgery that it will be really long and really tough, not only physically but especially mentally,” said Wawrinka, who is playing the Fever-Tree Championships in Queen’s this week. “So we are all different in the way to come back. That's the first thing you have to look. And for me it was really tough, because I had to start from zero physically. When I say it's tough, it's not only about the physical aspect, because we are used to practice, we are used to do the hard work. We are used to put a lot of time in the gym and on the fitness and the tennis court. But mentally, it's tough when you see how far you are and how long it will take. Still now, it's not easy mentally.
"I need to be really patient with myself, to accept less in a way, because when you win Grand Slam and especially me, I always expect so much from myself and always push myself to the maximum and never really happy with what I'm doing.
"It takes time to get where you want to be, and not because you're doing the wrong thing but just because it is how it is when you have big surgery.”
Wawrinka added that while he was not fully fit when he returned, he is getting better on court each week.
“In January, I was not ready physically with my knee. I was just trying to handle the courts, trying to win matches,” Wawrinka said. “Now I think my game is there. I think in the practice court I'm playing really strong tennis. I feel positive with myself. I just need to see what's going to happen in the next few weeks on grass.”
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