Federer calls on 2001 Davis Cup emotion to face US
Roger Federer hopes to recapture the emotion of Switzerland’s
2001 Davis Cup victory over the United States when they meet again
in the first round this weekend.
Federer recalled that Swiss win on Tuesday, when as a teenager
exactly 11 years ago he went unbeaten in a 3-2 victory in his home
city of Basel.
”I think it was my first emotional outburst on a tennis court
because I was so exhausted on Sunday after winning singles, doubles
and singles,” Federer said.
Now 30, Federer said that performance, against a U.S. team led
by Todd Martin, ”definitely got me in winning ways.” Several
months later at Wimbledon he beat four-time defending champion Pete
Sampras in the fourth round.
”It was a start of great things for me and I’m happy playing
America again,” said Federer, who will line up in Friday’s singles
with Stanislas Wawrinka against Mardy Fish and John Isner.
Despite Federer owning a record 16 Grand Slam singles titles, a
Davis Cup trophy is rare tennis honor to elude him.
Federer has skipped the first round of the Davis Cup since 2004,
and facing the Americans has caused major changes in his program.
He hasn’t played on clay so early in the season since 2004 in
On a bitter minus-7 degree Celsius (20 degree Fahrenheit) day in
Fribourg, it was perhaps easier to understand why Federer last
played a February match in Europe seven years ago.
His typical schedule following the Australian Open involves
practice and a single tournament in Dubai, where he has a home.
Federer renewed his Davis Cup commitment by traveling to
Australia last September for a World Group playoff that was
clinched by Wawrinka. His five-set win over Lleyton Hewitt was
halted in the Sunday twilight and completed Monday.
”It’s only normal for me to play the first round after that
heroic effort of his,” Federer said.
The third-ranked Swiss said he’s in ”a good state mentally and
physically” after his semifinal loss to Rafael Nadal in
”I’ve had a great run since last year’s U.S. Open and haven’t
lost until just the other week,” he said. ”The transition to clay
has been somewhat easy. Clay is good on the body.”
Federer helped choose the slow indoor surface several months ago
to play on a perceived weakness of the American team.
”It’s the best surface to play the United States and we think
it will be a small advantage for us,” Switzerland captain Severin
U.S. captain Jim Courier was content with court conditions,
after practices suggested the balls fly faster at Fribourg’s
altitude of about 600 meters (2,000 feet).
”It’s playing the way we would want it to play,” Courier
Fish has a career 1-7 record against Federer, though they have
never met on clay.
”For a bunch of years he’s been head and shoulders the second
best (clay-court) player behind Rafa and has beaten him,” the
eighth-ranked Fish said. ”Clay is obviously one of his strengths.
But he’s got his work cut out in the first match, as do I.”
Fish is likely to play in Saturday’s doubles – against Olympic
champions Federer and Wawrinka – with Mike Bryan, whose brother and
regular partner Bob is at home after the birth of his daughter last
”I’ve only played with one other person in the last 10 years
and that was Mardy Fish, and we have good memories,” Bryan said,
recalling a five-set win against Spain’s Feliciano Lopez and
Fernando Verdasco in a 2008 Davis Cup semifinal.
Isner acknowledged that the U.S. start as underdogs, adding that
he relished the challenge.
”It’s not the easiest match, that’s for sure. But we’re
definitely capable of coming here, playing well and hopefully
getting out of here with a win,” Isner said. ”All of us cherish
that … to play for these guys, play for captain Courier and play
for your country. It’s really an honor.”
Courier predicted a friendlier rivalry than the confrontational
1992 final when he helped a stellar U.S. lineup beat the Swiss in
Fort Worth, Texas.
”I expect it will be a very friendly, competitive and
gentlemanly contest between our teams,” Courier said.