Federer still in Swiss Davis Cup plans

Roger Federer might play in the Davis Cup again although he won’t represent Switzerland before the US Open in September, team captain Severin Luethi said Tuesday.

Luethi told The Associated Press that the 17-time Grand Slam champion has not written off a competition that Switzerland has never won.

”He is for sure not finished with Davis Cup,” Luethi said ahead of a first round series at home this week against defending champion Czech Republic which Federer is skipping.

Still, by not making his Davis Cup plans clear in recent months, the 31-year-old Swiss star has been the target of rare criticism at home.

Federer opted last October to schedule more rest periods and time with his family this season, said Luethi, who is part of the player’s entourage on tour.

”He could really plan until, let’s say, the US Open more or less,” the Swiss captain said. ”For him, it’s sure that he doesn’t play the first two ties.”

Switzerland can earn another home series in the quarterfinals in April, against Austria or Kazakhstan, by beating the Czechs on indoor hard courts in Geneva. The semifinals and relegation playoffs follow the season’s final Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows.

Federer ”didn’t take a final decision to say, ‘I’m not ever playing Davis Cup again.’ He just decided for the first half of the year now that he is not playing, then we have to see what he is going to decide,” Luethi said.

Federer’s two-week break comes after losing a lengthy five-setter to Andy Murray in the Australian Open semifinals last Friday.

”There was maybe a small chance if he had lost in the first or second round or something,” that the second-ranked Swiss would reconsider, Luethi said earlier at a news conference. ”But otherwise it was not even a discussion anymore in Australia.”

With Federer already expressing enthusiasm about the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Games, one factor luring him back to Davis Cup could be earning Olympics eligibility according to International Tennis Federation rules.

However, one of the game’s greats could expect to get a wild card Olympics entry even without committing to the Davis Cup.

”It’s tough to believe that if he would not play Davis Cup he would not have a chance to play” in Rio, Luethi said.

Federer is next scheduled to play in the Netherlands, at the Rotterdam indoor event starting Feb. 11.