Federer recalls emotional 2001 Davis Cup win vs US

Roger Federer hopes to recapture the emotion of Switzerland’s

2001 Davis Cup victory against the United States when they meet

again in the first round this weekend.

Federer recalled the Swiss win on Tuesday, when as a 19-year-old

he won three matches for 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.

Federer said that performance, against a U.S. team led by Todd

Martin, ”definitely got me in winning ways.” 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 the 30-year-old Federer, who will line up in

singles on Friday with Stanislas Wawrinka against Mardy Fish and

John Isner.

Federer owns a record 16 Grand Slam singles titles, but he

hasn’t won the Davis Cup trophy.

Federer’s skipped the first round of the Davis Cup since 2004,

and changed his preparations to play Davis Cup this year.

He hasn’t played on clay so early in the season since 2004 in

Romania, and it’s been seven years since he played in Europe in

February.

On a cold, 20-degree day in Fribourg, it was perhaps easy to

understand his previous schedule. He typically practices after the

Australian Open and plays a single tournament in Dubai, where he

has a home.

But Federer renewed his Davis Cup commitment by traveling to

Australia last September for a World Group playoff that Wawrinka

helped clinch. The 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

Melbourne.

”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, 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

Luethi said.

U.S. captain Jim Courier was content with court conditions,

after practices suggested the balls fly faster at the stadium

altitude of about 2,000 feet.

”It’s playing the way we would want it to play,” Courier

said.

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 doubles on Saturday – against Olympic

champions Federer and Wawrinka – with Mike Bryan, whose brother and

partner Bob is at home after the birth of his daughter last

week.

”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.