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June 1, 2016

Stan Wawrinka

Paris, France

S. WAWRINKA/A. Ramos-Vinolas

6-2, 6-1, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. You must be very pleased to be back in the semifinals.
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, of course. I'm really, really happy to play again another semifinal here, especially seeing the way I'm playing, the way I'm feeling. It's a great feeling.

Q. The fact that you won here last year, does it give you more confidence or it puts on you more pressure?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think it give me more confidence, for sure, and less pressure, because I won it. So I have a different mentality this year. I'm feeling way better.

Today it was a really good match. I play some really good tennis. I was really focused out there. I am moving well. I'm really happy with what I'm doing so far, and being in semifinal again, it's something really good for me.

Q. I think you've won your last three matches against Andy, but you haven't played that much. How do you feel about playing him? You must feel good about your chances, particularly on clay, I guess.
STAN WAWRINKA: Well, we didn't play that much the last few years. I play him in London last year. That's it. On clay it's been long time, I think. He improved a lot. He's playing so well, especially again if you look this year. He won Rome; final in Madrid; semifinal in Monaco.

So it's going to be interesting match, for sure. We normally play some good battle in the past, so I'm quite happy to play him. I think it's going to be a great challenge and a great semifinal.

Q. You kind of answered the question I was going to ask you then. Are you surprised to see Andy now a true force on clay? He was always thought to be a good hard-court player, a good grass-court player, but are you surprised he's now a good clay-court player, as well?
STAN WAWRINKA: Not really, no. I think even before when he wasn't a clay-court player he was making semifinal here, making some quite good result here at the French Open when he was mentally really there.

I'm not really surprised. I think he's amazing player since many, many years. He always try to improve his game, always try to be a better player. The way he improved on clay is quite impressive, because now he's winning a lot of tournaments, big title. He beat Novak in the final in Rome.

Yeah, it's going to be, for sure, an interesting semifinal to play against him.

Q. Talking about the conditions here, the balls are heavy; the courts are slow. Do you think it's good for your game because you can hit very hard? Or do you think, especially when playing against Murray, it can be an advantage or disadvantage?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah. We'll see. In general I quite like the condition here in Paris. For sure condition like today, for me, it's still good. I can still hit through the ball; I can still make some winner.

But let's see also if we're going to play on Friday what's going to be the weather. It can change a lot, so I don't mind. I think at the end it's the same for both player. We have to adapt on the day and be ready for that.

Q. You've been on the right side of the draw weather-wise. Do you think that makes a big difference, come Friday, come Sunday? Will that make a big difference, or will it be sort of whoever gets to the final then it will be the same? Because I guess everybody will have a day off on Saturday, weather permitting.
STAN WAWRINKA: It depends. It depends. For sure in Grand Slam I like to start as early as possible, because you know that if you get to the end you have more days off between the tournament. But in the end of the day, there is no rules. It's not because you're in the good side of the draw that you're gonna win the tournament.

Q. When you won the French Open juniors in 2003, do you remember much of the adult tournament that year, the men's, who was in the final, who was playing, what was going on?
STAN WAWRINKA: I think it was Ferrero against Verkerk. Yeah, I do remember. It was a big fan of tennis in general. I was watching a lot on TV because I didn't have any access on the big court. I was quite sad.

But, yeah, I do remember. I think Verkerk beat Moya also 10-8 in the fifth set. So I do remember a lot of matches.

Q. Anything Ferrero or Verkerk?
STAN WAWRINKA: Ferrero was really impressive on the clay court, but also on hard. I quite enjoy the way he was playing. I had the chance to play him after when I arrive on the tour.

Q. Talking about the conditions again, do you change when it's wet and cold, your strings?
STAN WAWRINKA: Not really, no.

Q. Nothing? Not at all?
STAN WAWRINKA: No. I just go. I play. (Laughter.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. You have talked about incredible tennis that you have played. Have you had the best sensations and feelings today?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah. In general, yeah. And also what was really good on my side was my focus, my concentration and my focus, the choices I made, the shots I was going for. From the word "go," that is, after the first game, I played well.

Now, you know, Ramos, I played against him many times in the past. These were very tight matches. In Geneva as well I played against him. Now, in the past two matches, the last two matches, I played really well against him. If you hit more strongly, if you put more pace, he's a lot better. He thinks less so he plays better, so I always try and change and vary.

I don't want to give him anything to use against me, so my shots are heavy and strong. Therefore, I can get into the court and change and vary the pace.

Q. What did you do during these two days off?
STAN WAWRINKA: Well, the first day I didn't think I would practice. In any case, I had a massage, and then I walked away and I spent my time doing other things.

Yesterday I practiced indoors. I wanted to warm up; I wanted to hit a few balls. I left at the beginning of the afternoon when I saw that matches were being postponed.

Q. Can you perhaps compare this year to last year in terms of feelings? Do you see any analogies or do you feel as good as last year? How could you compare both years?
STAN WAWRINKA: I don't compare them. I keep on repeating this. There is no comparison. What's the point? There's nothing to compare.

As I said at the beginning of the tournament, I'm not looking for the same sensations this year, the same feelings. They are different players, another draw, other conditions, another tournament. We have to deal with it.

The only thing can I say is that I want things to be okay for me. I have reached semis again. It's something very good for me. I hope I can continue, of course, but, you know, I am playing well and I feel fresh. Physically no problems; mentally that's okay. For the time being everything is fine.

Q. Given your career and Andy's career, would you say that there is a statistical rivalry? You have both won Grand Slams; you have developed and evolved in a similar way.
STAN WAWRINKA: No. No, I think he is well ahead of me. Now that I've won a second Grand Slam people say I'm closer to him because I have won two and he's won two as well.

But if you were to compare our two careers he's well ahead of me given all the titles, the finals, No. 2 in the world, and he has so many Masters 1000, as well. Therefore, as I kept on repeating, you know, he's in the Big 4. You know, there is a reason for this. Maybe he has fewer titles, fewer titles than the other big 3, but he's always been with them during the semis, the finals. His career is very, very impressive.

Q. What about pressure? You are the defending champion. I suppose there is a lot of pressure on you. Would you say that the pressure is decreasing with the matches that you play, or on the contrary, there is more pressure because the bigger matches are coming?
STAN WAWRINKA: Well, no. To start with, there is pressure on you, that's true. But then each time I'm back here at Roland Garros I want to do well. I want to play well.

And even the fact of winning here is something that puts away a lot of pressure, because, you know, I can say, Okay, I've won it once. I have done it before. I didn't even expect it in the past. So it's done.

But for a Grand Slam, you know, the deeper I go, the less pressure. If there is a final, of course, that's the peak of pressure. Apart from that, the other rounds before, no, the less pressure there is I'm more in the tournament, I feel things better, and I have more confidence.

I accumulate confidence during the first rounds and then I can defeat the other players. It's as simple as that. If I'm lucky enough to reach the finals, again, a lot of pressure because you don't want to lose a final, but before that there are other matches to win.

Q. Now, what about these ups and downs? Of course all of the main players increase their levels of game; for you sometimes there is really big ups and downs.
STAN WAWRINKA: For me, the conditions are quite special. I have to adapt quickly. I didn't want to lose a match against a tough player, so mentally I fought much more than in terms of my level of game.

But I think the question should be how can I explain my differences between the Grand Slams and the other tournaments? That's when I have big gaps.

But if you look at the recent past, during the Grand Slams I was very solid. Even during the first rounds, even though of course there is less concentration during the first rounds. It's a bit messy what we do.

Then, as I was saying, when I start winning matches I gain more confidence. I manage to go above the small mistakes I make. A day like today, you know what I did? I closed all of the taps. I think I have to focus, and that makes a big difference.

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