Victory over Novak Djokovic in the US Open final earlier this month continued the Swiss No.1's remarkable run of results in finals, in which he has won his past 11.
And heading into the tournament in Russia as the top seed, Wawrinka has a big opportunity to extend that record.
"I have to make it to the final first,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference. “I hope to win more. So far I have achieved some impressive results.”
Wawrinka last played in St. Petersburg 12 years ago, when he was only 19 and ranked 159 on the ATP rankings.
The current world number three will face Czech Lukas Rosol in the second round and admits the chance to return to Russia was too good to turn down.
“Every year you play almost the same calendar, the same tournaments. Some tournaments I have played 10 years in a row,” Wawrinka said. “When you have the chance to be in a new tournament, in a new city, you will always see something different, something nice to see.”