Roger Federer has been selected by his peers as winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for a 10th time and by fans as the Fans Favourite for a 12th straight year.
Roger Federer further closed the gap with Novak Djokovic in the battle for No. 1, claiming his 6th Swiss Indoors Basel title 6-2, 6-2 over David Goffin.
Roger Federer claimed the elusive Shanghai Rolex Masters crown as he won his 23rd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title with a 7-6(6), 7-6(2) victory over Gilles Simon.
Roger Federer secured Switzerland's place in the final of the Davis Cup for the first time since 1992 by comfortably beating Italy's Fabio Fognini in Geneva.
Federer says that falling just short of claiming an elusive 18th Grand Slam title for the second major in a row won't haunt him, but he would be more than happy to add to his record haul in 2015.
The Swiss pair validated captain Severin Luthi’s bold move to put them in for the doubles instead of the nominated Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer, defeating Benneteau and Gasquet 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours 12 minutes.
Looking like a different person to the player who lost to Gael Monfils on Friday, Federer was a commanding presence in a match where the visitors gained in stature while the French pair’s resistance faded. Wawrinka continued the high-energy display that saw him defeat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the opening match and now the Swiss have a vital 2-1 lead going into Sunday.
It was quite a turnaround for the Swiss in this tense encounter in Lille, Federer and Wawrinka producing a fine performance to show why they were the 2008 Olympic gold medallists. The victory also ended a run of four losses for the pair together in Davis Cup, and marked their first match win on clay.
In contrast Benneteau and Gasquet, playing together in Davis Cup for the first time, never quite found their groove, and were left to rue a cluster of missed opportunities in the second set which could have turned the match had they been taken.
“I'm very happy, of course, that we played so well today. It's always a pleasure playing with Stan. But I think today we played exceptionally well,” said Federer. “Nothing's won really yet, but clearly it could be a big point.”
On the subject of his back, Federer said he is feeling good after the doubles. “For me I think probably a doubles is a proper test, as well, because you got to keep serve and volleying, be explosive all the time. Yeah, I'm very relieved to do that, I'm actually feeling really well… So, got one more match tomorrow. I'll try to play my best tomorrow. Hopefully I'll feel fine again.”
Wawrinka, who turned in his second stunning performance in two days, said, “I feel that I'm playing well, good tennis. I'm great on the court, a lot of confidence. You know, I'm here to go for the win, not to expect something else. I need to try everything I have in my racket to win those matches.”
The first set was tight, with entertaining rallies from the start thrilling the 27,360 fans crammed into the Stade Pierre Mauroy, among them French President Francois Hollande. The Swiss got the first chances though on Benneteau’s serve in the sixth game after errors from both Frenchmen gave them two break points.
Benneteau, at No. 5 the man on court with the highest doubles ranking, saved the first break point with a smash but Wawrinka sent a return flying past Gasquet for the Swiss to go 4-2 up. To loud cries of “Hopp Suisse” from the 2,700 visiting fans, Federer and Wawrinka carried that momentum through the remainder of the first set, Federer serving it out after 28 minutes.
Gasquet and Benneteau got their first chance to break in the second game of the second set, capitalising on two failed serve-and-volley attempts by the Swiss pair to bring up 30-40 on Federer’s serve. The Swiss No. 1 got out of trouble with a smash to cries of “Come on!” from the Swiss contingent.
Two games later France had two more break points on Wawrinka’s serve, but couldn’t convert either of them, the home pair twice finding the net cord and having to watch as the ball bounced out on the other side. At 4-4, the hosts got two further chances on the Australian Open champion’s serve. The first was set up by a Benneteau winner that fizzed between Federer and Wawrinka, but Federer cleared it with a high backhand smash for deuce; the second came after Wawrinka sent a forehand wide, but the world No. 4 produced a 145 mph serve to hold and subdue the home crowd.
Those five break points in the middle of the second set were to be the last chances Benneteau and Gasquet could muster as the Swiss piled on the pressure to get two more break points on Benneteau’s serve at 5-4. The French got out of trouble there, but two games later the Swiss broke Gasquet for a 6-5 lead before Wawrinka served out the second set to love.
Federer and Wawrinka had their first opportunity of the third set on Gasquet’s serve in the third game but the French saved two break points to keep hanging on. But at 2-2 the Swiss got three more break points on the Benneteau serve, with Wawrinka sealing the crucial break at the third time of asking with a forehand between the French pair.
Serving to stay in the match at 4-5, Benneteau hit the first two double faults of the match to give the Swiss their first match point. France managed to cling on to make Switzerland serve for the match and Federer swiftly followed through, serving out to love as Wawrinka sealed the vital win with a cross court backhand volley.
“I could have played better,” said Gasquet afterwards. "I was not able to make the breakpoints I had in the second set. If we would have had a break, of course that doesn't mean we would have won, but we would have been in a better position for winning this second set where we had five breakpoints.
“I’m disappointed with the match, but the opponents played extremely well. They are extremely strong. They had very good returns. They played very interesting combinations. It was impressive.”
The Swiss are now one win away from winning the Davis Cup for the first time in history, with Federer able to clinch it if he can defeat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first reverse singles on Sunday. But amid rumours of an arm injury to Tsonga, both teams have until one hour before the match to make substitutions.
“Of course it's going to be very, very difficult now, with a lot of hope in these doubles,” said French captain Arnaud Clement. “We have to do something big, very big. We still have a chance, and we're going to try as hard as possible. It's a big challenge, big challenge for us, to beating No. 2 and 4 in the world in the final of Davis Cup.”
“But even if we have a little chance, we're going to try.”
Date: 23rd November 2014, Source: Davis Cup
It was a stark contrast to Federer's superb display in London last week, where he eased past opponents but hurt his back during his semifinal victory over Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka. Federer, however, said switching from hard court to clay and being short of practice was the main reason for his loss, rather than pain.
Date: 21st November 2014, Source: AP
Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka will open the best-of-five series on indoor clay against France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in this northern French city.
How is Roger Federer’s back and how is the morale in the Swiss camp after Saturday’s semifinal match between Federer and Stan Wawrinka at the ATP World Tour Finals in London?
The first, it seems, is a lot harder to answer than the second.
“We're heading in that direction. I feel it's definitely a little bit better than it was on Saturday night and Sunday and also Monday. I wish I could be on the practice courts, but I can't be there yet. I'm hopeful for tomorrow.”
And in response to questions about the relationship between the Swiss No. 1 and his long-time friend and teammate, Federer had this to say: “We had a conversation after the match. Everything's totally relaxed about the situation. There's no hard feelings whatsoever. We're having a good time here. We are friends, not enemies.”
Amid all the media frenzy about Federer’s back injury, Wawrinka quietly put in some of the best tennis of his season at the year-end finals in London and finding form at the right time for the Swiss No. 2 could prove pivotal in the Davis Cup Final against France.
“For me, the week at the ATP World Tour Finals was big,” reflected Wawrinka . Was really important, for sure. It’s not easy, especially to have four match points against Roger, to be playing the way I was playing.
“It's more easy to think about the next step, what I'm going to do after, stay positive, when I give everything on the court. Even if I lost with match point, the week was amazing. Now I need to adapt on the clay court. I did a long session today, almost three hours, yesterday one hour easy. I feel okay so far, so we'll see.”
For the French team, speculation about Federer’s participation in this year’s final is proving an unwelcome distraction and one that captain Arnaud Clement dismissed.
“We are not thinking that Roger Federer will not play on Friday,” said Clement. “We have been preparing for 10 days, and we are prepared to play the Swiss team with Federer and Wawrinka in it.
“Many people asked questions about Federer, even before he pulled out on Sunday. But what we are going to play is not Federer's team, it is the Swiss team.”
The only certainty in Clement’s mind was the fact that this weekend’s final was going to be an emotional and spine-tingling affair for the players as they compete in front of 27,000 fans, most of whom will be wearing the blue of the home team.
Clement added: “Davis Cup is a different atmosphere. But I don't feel my players are frightened by anything. On the contrary, they're very excited.
“What will be even more exciting will be to see the stadium totally full with the crowd. It's going to be totally different, for all of us, for the players, and the Swiss players, too.”
The final starts on Friday 21 November at 2pm local time (1pm GMT).
Date: 19th November 2014, Source: Davis Cup
"Thanks to all you guys for making it special to come out and play tennis all around the world. I know you guys travel, as well, and spend a lot of money on tickets and so forth. We really, really appreciate it - me in particular. It keeps me going, it makes me tick, especially at this age. Hopefully, I can come back next year and get another chance to compete for the title here. So thank you very much and I'll see you soon. I appreciate it."
It is only the third time in Federer’s career that he has been forced to withdraw, each time due to a back injury - also walkovers at 2008-Paris QFs vs. Blake and 2012 Doha SFs vs. Tsonga.
''You never like to win, especially these big matches against big rivals, with the retirement,'' said Djokovic.
Federer, who will play year-end ATP World Tour No. 1 and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic in Sunday's blockbuster final, came back from the brink of defeat to beat his Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka, the third seed, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(6) in two hours and 48 minutes at The O2 in London.
“I thought it was a very exciting match, to say the least,” said Federer, at his press conference close to 1 a.m. local time Sunday. “I think the crowd got really into it. “I really didn't think I was going to turn it around anymore because Stan looked very good for a long time, was able to win the second set somehow by hanging around. Then in the third, I think he played very well. Maybe a serve let him go a little bit when he needed it the most.
“I was frustrated being down in the third… I clearly got lucky tonight. There's no doubt about that. But you've got to keep believing that maybe there is a slight chance that you are going to be able to turn it around somehow. It happened today. I'm very pleased. It's very hard, obviously, against Stan.”
It marked the third time Federer had saved match points and won at the season finale. The Basel native saved three against Andy Roddick in 2006 and two in a win over Andre Agassi in 2003. He would go on to win the title both years. Federer hopes his latest escape act will be a good omen once again as he eyes a seventh crown at the year-end championships.
Heading into a record-equalling ninth season finale, World No. 2 Federer leads Djokovic 19-17 in their ATP Head to Head series. But Djokovic is unbeaten in his past 31 indoor matches.
Wawrinka appeared on course to cap a career-best season with a spot in his 17th tour-level final, but he could not convert four match point opportunities in the deciding set at 5-4, 40/30 and two at Ad In; then a fourth at 6/5 in the tie-break. Federer converted his first match point chance at 7/6 with a drop volley to improve to 15-2 lifetime against his Swiss friend.
Federer has won five titles in 10 finals this year. The 33-year-old superstar is five victories shy of becoming just the third player (after Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl) in the Open Era to record 1,000 career match wins.
Wawrinka dominated the opening exchanges, breaking Federer's serve in the fifth and seventh games, and controlled baseline rallies. Although Federer got one break back, at 2-5, Wawrinka kept his nerve. He won all 10 of his first service points to clinch the 35-minute opener.
The pressure fell on Wawrinka in the second set, when he served second. Federer pressed hard, yet he could not convert three break point opportunities at 3-2. Wawrinka’s unforced error count soared to 28 in their 17th meeting. At 5-6, Wawrinka hit two groundstrokes and one smash into the net to drop his serve to love.
In the first game of the third set, Federer did not clearly register the score. When 0/40 was called, he questioned the chair umpire. He thought it was 15/30, thinking an earlier call had gone his way. Wawrinka capitalised to break and, despite saving two break points at 4-3, 30/40 and Ad out, looked set to cling on and maintain the advantage to record his 39th match win of the season. But Federer was not finished.
Wawrinka could not convert his first match point opportunity at 5-4, 40/30, when, out of position, he came into the net only to see Federer rifle a forehand winner down the line. Wawrinka then saved a break point, after a lengthy rally, with a backhand crosscourt winner. Controlling his nerves, he kept coming forward. But once again he could not convert his second match point chance, backhand volleying into the net. A third chance came and went, with Federer ruthlessly striking a short forehand winner. Ultimately, after 11 minutes of play, Federer got the break when Wawrinka hit a backhand into the net after a long rally.
Federer rallied from 15/40 at 5-5, but Wawrinka regained his composure. In the tie-break, a fourth match point went begging for Wawrinka at 6/5 when he mis-timed a backhand. Federer, under the guidance of former serve and volley master Stefan Edberg, kept the points short by attacking the net. Ultimately, the match clincher, for his 72nd victory of the season, came within feet of the net.
Wawrinka found himself on the losing end of the semi-finals for the second straight year, having fallen to Djokovic in 2013. The World No. 4 had nothing but praise for his compatriot following the match.
“It's always difficult for me not only because he's the best player ever,” said Wawrinka. “He knows how to play. He's playing really well at the end of the year. Because of his game, but also mentally, he's been there for so many years. I was happy the way I was trying to push him, trying to be real aggressive, not let him come to the net too much, trying to be the first there. But sometimes you lose a match like that,” said Wawrinka.
“For sure that game at the end I was nervous. It was not easy to play from the baseline. He was normally just pushing his slice backhand return. I was like, ‘Okay, I'm going to try to take it, try not to wait for a mistake, try to go for it."
“I think there were only few points that made the difference. I was playing great tennis. I was really happy with the way I was playing. But I had some big opportunities in the third set. I should have taken them, especially serving for the match with two match points.”
Next week, Federer and Wawrinka will join forces for Switzerland against France in the Davis Cup final in Lille.
Date: 16th November 2014, Source: ATP