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Federer honoured by Edberg in ATP Awards ceremony

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.

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Federer captures 6th Basel crown, continues No.1 quest

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.

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Federer wins elusive Shanghai crown

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.

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Federer fires Switzerland into Davis Cup final

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.

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Federer: "I hope to get another chance to lift a Grand Slam"

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.

Federer to play Hewitt in world first event in Sydney

Swiss tennis legend and current World No.2 Roger Federer will join Australian great Lleyton Hewitt for the global launch of a new fast format of tennis in Sydney on Monday 12 January, 2015.

In a world first, 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer will play Australian No.1 Hewitt in a special exhibition match at the Qantas Credit Union Arena to showcase the new fast format of tennis; a shortened version of the game, developed by Tennis Australia.

Federer and Hewitt will face off in a best-of-five sets match in this world premiere event that will be played in support of the Australian Tennis Foundation.

Piloted at clubs across Australia, the new format is designed to offer a faster way of playing the game. There are four rule variations from traditional tennis:

  • no advantage scoring
  • no lets
  • tiebreaker at three games all
  • the first to four games wins
Federer, who last played in Sydney at the Australia v Switzerland Davis Cup tie in 2011, will go down in the record books as one of the greatest players of all time. In 2014 he reached the final at Wimbledon and won ATP Tour titles in Dubai, Halle, Cincinnati, Shanghai and Basel. He capped a stellar year by guiding Switzerland to victory against France in the Davis Cup final last weekend.

“I can’t wait to come to the beautiful city of Sydney for this very special match against my old friend and rival, Lleyton Hewitt,” Federer said.

“We’ve had some amazing battles over the years and I think we still bring out the best in each other every time we play.”

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said the new fast format is an exciting development for tennis and is delighted Federer is involved in the world premiere.

“There is no doubt that Roger Federer is one the greatest tennis players we have ever seen. It is a major coup for us to work with him on the global launch of the new fast format in this world first opportunity for Sydney.

“The new format is a game changer and is set to revolutionise the game of tennis, particularly at club and social levels. Time today is precious and this new fast format is perfect for any player who wants to fit their tennis matches into a busy lifestyle.

“To have Roger and Lleyton, our own great Australian champion, showcase the format for the first time is not only special for Sydney and Australia, but for the sport around the world.”



Great friends off the court, Federer and Hewitt have one of the most enduring rivalries in tennis, along with a great mutual respect. The pair, both aged 33, have faced off 27 times since 1999, with Federer winning 18 of those.

Their last four matches have been split, with the last three going to a deciding set, while Hewitt won their most recent encounter at the Brisbane International final in January.

“I’m looking forward to help launch this new fast format of tennis, especially in Sydney,” Lleyton Hewitt said today.

“I love the city and it’s been a while since I’ve played here, so it will be great to do so in January.

“Playing Roger in this new format will be an exciting challenge for both of us and a lot of fun. It’s a fantastic innovation for tennis, and one that I hope will take off.  I’m glad I can be part of this special event in Sydney, as I have enjoyed good success over the years in this beautiful city.”

One night with Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt Presented by Credit Suisse will also feature an entertaining Legends doubles match between Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, ‘the magician’ Fabrice Santoro and the hilarious pair of Henri Leconte, and Mansour Bahrami.

All four, along with John McEnroe and Pat Rafter, will also be in action in the Legends event at the Apia International Sydney 2015, being played at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre from 11-17 January.

Deputy Premier NSW Troy Grant said the event will attract significant international attention and add to a true blockbuster week of tennis in Sydney.

“One night with Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt is just one of the highlights of a week-long festival of tennis for Sydney in January. The Apia International Sydney will take place at Sydney Olympic Park from 11-17 January, and a legends tournament will also be played, led by Pat Rafter and John McEnroe. It promises to be a central component of a world class summer of sport in New South Wales,” he said.

John Knox, Co-Head of Investment Banking for Credit Suisse Australia said the bank is delighted to be the presenting partner for this unique event.

“Credit Suisse has enjoyed a powerful partnership with Roger Federer as our global ambassador since 2009 and we are looking forward to providing tennis fans with the chance to see these two sporting greats in action,” he said.

‘One night with Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt’ Presented by Credit Suisse, in conjunction with the NSW Government’s tourism and major event’s agency Destination NSW, will take place at the Qantas Credit Union Arena on Monday, 12 January 2015 from 6.30pm.

Tickets go on sale to the general public from 3pm tomorrow, 26 November 2014.

Tickets can be purchased online via Ticketek at www.ticketek.com.au/rf or by calling 132 849.

Want to be right alongside all the action and witness every shot being played from your own premium courtside box? For more information contact our Premium Ticketing team on +61 3 9914 4177/1300 309 166 or enquires@aopremiumticketing.com.au

Date: 25th November 2014, Source: Tennis Australia

Roger Federer: “This one’s for the boys”

Roger Federer added to his growing legacy on Sunday in Lille, guiding Switzerland to its first Davis Cup title with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over France’s Richard Gasquet.

The Basel native’s humility was on display as he reflected on the achievement following the match. For Federer, it was a team effort.

“This one’s for the boys,” said the 33 year old. “This is not for me, this is for them.”

He and Stan Wawrinka teamed to clinch the doubles rubber on Saturday after Wawrinka earned the first point of the tie with a four-set win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Federer admitted that while the title was important, it does not mark the final piece of the puzzle in his illustrious career.

“Everybody worked incredibly hard to get me match ready and Stan has put in so much effort over the years and played an unbelievable weekend. That’s what gave me the opportunity today. I’m very much aware of that.”

Coupled with a run to the final at the ATP World Tour Finals, the victory gives Federer considerable momentum in his quest for 1,000 match wins. Currently at No. 996, he will vie for the milestone at the season-opening Brisbane International in January. The 2014 runner-up to Lleyton Hewitt, he would clinch the feat with a run to the title.

Federer caps an impressive 2014 campaign, eclipsing the 70-match win threshold in a season for the sixth time and capturing five titles in 11 finals. His maiden Shanghai Rolex Masters crown in October gave him his 23rd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy and he would return to World No. 2 in the ATP Rankings for the first time in 17 months.

Last week, the Swiss made a record 13th consecutive appearance at the season finale, where he reached his ninth final. Additionally, his 17 wins against the Top 10 are the most since 2007.

“I’m unbelievably happy,” added Federer. “It’s an amazing feeling to be celebrating with my friends. It was just a great match, great atmosphere, a beautiful weekend for tennis…  I’m happy I was able to stay calm and play a good match when I had to and I’m happy for all the guys on the team.”

Date: 24th November 2014, Source: ATP

Roger Federer's Switzerland wins Davis Cup final

Roger Federer has now claimed all the big prizes on offer in tennis and, for once, will be happy to share his latest trophy with others.

Federer ended a week of uncertainty about his aging back with a vintage performance to give Switzerland an emphatic victory over France and its maiden Davis Cup.

His 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Richard Gasquet in the first reverse singles on Sunday sealed an unassailable 3-1 lead. That also proved to be the final result as the dead rubber between Gael Monfils and Stan Wawrinka wasn't played.

It took 15 years for the former top-ranked Federer to achieve Davis Cup success after making his debut in the event in 1999. No wonder he looked so emotional after converting his first match point, falling to his knees and lying face down on the court before hugging team captain Severin Luthi and his teammates.

''At the end, it's a tennis match, you feel great emotions. You're unbelievably happy and relieved,'' said a joyful Federer. ''We wanted this clearly very badly, especially being up 2-1. You inch yourself closer and closer. Clearly seeing Stan out there, the rest of the team supporting you, gives you an extra push. It was definitely one of the better feelings in my career, no doubt about it. So much nicer to celebrate it all together.''

After pulling out of the final of the ATP World Tour Finals in London last Sunday, Federer's participation against the French looked in doubt. He hit a ball for the first time on the indoor clay court on Wednesday evening and lost to Monfils in Friday's singles.

His form rapidly improved, though, and he was back to his best during Saturday's doubles win with Wawrinka that gave the Swiss a 2-1 lead.

Federer, who adopted a low profile all week, was full of praise for Wawrinka.

His teammate stepped out of Federer's formidable shadow earlier this year with victory at the Australian Open. He has also been a dedicated Davis Cup player in recent years.

In 2013, Wawrinka led Switzerland to victory in a World Group play-off in the absence of Federer, giving his country a shot at the trophy this year. He also won Switzerland's first point this weekend by beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

''Stan has put in so much effort over the years and played an unbelievable weekend that gave me the opportunity today,'' said Federer.

''I'm very much aware of that, this one is for the boys. It's not for me. I've won enough in my career and did not need to tick any empty boxes. I'm just happy for everybody else. I'm happy we could live a great tennis historic moment in our country.''

Federer, who spent 302 weeks at the top of the game, shed a few tears before receiving his trophy and enjoying a lap of honor with his teammates. But emotions were not as strong as they were when he won his first Grand Slam title in Wimbledon in 2003.

''You can't compare. When I won Wimbledon, it was a total shock honestly,'' he said. ''Davis Cup is something that I knew was possible at some stage in my career.

''Of course, there was the pressure of being able to manage all this and make everyone happy with all the support we had for the team and everything. So it is a totally different feeling. Also I was not alone on the court. This changes everything.''

A favorite of the fans at the French Open, Federer was treated to a hostile reception as he entered the clay court in the converted Pierre Mauroy football stadium on Sunday.

He was booed during his warm-up and large sections of the 27,448 spectators applauded his rare mistakes.

It did not prevent him from taking control right from the start. The Swiss hit an ace that traveled at 210 kph (130 mph) to win his first service game and never looked back.

Moving well and varying his backhand shots, Federer gave a tennis masterclass. Gasquet was overwhelmed in the rallies and struggled to read his opponent's serve throughout.

''He was not unbeatable today, but he only made a few mistakes,'' said Gasquet, who replaced the injured Tsonga. ''It's a shame I could not get any break points.''

Federer broke in the third game after hitting a subtle forehand half-volley and a stunning forehand passing shot, letting out a resounding ''Come On!''

He kept piling the pressure on his French rival with aggressive returns and closed out the set by holding at love, having lost just four points on his serve in the whole set.

Gasquet was made to pay for his mistakes at the start of the second set and handed another break to Federer when he netted a backhand in the net. The Frenchman gave an incredulous look when Federer hit a superb backhand return to reach 0-30 on Gasquet's serve in the seventh game before earning three break points with a stunning forehand. Gasquet saved the first, but went long on the second.

The 26th-ranked Frenchman fought hard at the start of the third set and came more often to the net, only to be destroyed by Federer's pinpoint passing shots.

Gasquet finally dropped his serve for the fourth time in the fifth game, surrendering on his backhand after a baseline rally before Federer broke again for a 5-2 lead. Federer then held at love, sealing victory with a drop shot that Gasquet did not chase.

Date: 23rd November 2014, Source: AP

Federer hands Switzerland first Davis Cup title

Roger Federer handed Switzerland a historic first Davis Cup title after a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 demolition of Richard Gasquet in the first reverse singles sealed a 3-1 victory for the visitors against France in the 2014 Davis Cup Final.

In front of a new world record crowd of 27,448 in Lille’s Stade Pierre Mauroy, the 17-time Grand Slam champion was in total control of a match that lasted just one hour and 42 minutes. The result put his country in the history books as just the 14th nation to win the Davis Cup trophy in the competition’s 115-year history.

Federer’s straight-sets win over Gasquet followed his victory with world No. 4 Stan Wawrinka in Saturday’s doubles, in which they defeated Gasquet and Julien Benneteau 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 to put the visitors 2-1 up ahead of the last day.

On Friday Wawrinka had scored the first point for the Swiss with a four-set win against Tsonga, but Monfils made it 1-1 for France with a straight-sets defeat of Federer.

Federer’s performance on Sunday banished thoughts of that inglorious loss on the opening day and by lifting the Davis Cup trophy with his country the world No. 2 has plugged one of the few remaining holes in his resume.

“I’m unbelievably happy. Amazing feeling to be celebrating with my friends,” said Federer. “Just a great match, great atmosphere. It was a beautiful weekend for tennis.”

“We fought hard for it, I’ve been playing this game for almost 15 years now and clearly I’ve never come as close as this last weekend. I’m happy I was able to stay calm and play a good match when I had to and I’m happy for all the guys on the team.”

Federer was quick to pay tribute to teammate Wawrinka’s vital role in Switzerland’s triumph, and to the medical team that helped him recover from the back injury that last week threatened to derail his Davis Cup campaign. “Everybody worked incredibly hard to get me match ready, and Stan has put in so much effort over the years and played an unbelievable weekend, and that’s what gave me the opportunity today. I’m very much aware of that and this one’s for the boys. This is not for me, this is for them.”

It was a devastating result for France, with captain Arnaud Clement unable to play his No. 1 player Tsonga in the crunch encounter, relying instead on the less experienced services of world No. 26 Gasquet, playing in his first live reverse singles rubber since 2007 and in possession of a 2-12 losing record against Federer. As Clement explained later, Tsonga had suffered a recurrence of an arm injury during his match on Friday which left him unable to take any further part in the Davis Cup Final.

Federer was on the attack from the start on Sunday while Gasquet was never able to make any impression on his Swiss opponent’s serve.

The Swiss broke Gasquet in the third game of the first set and had chances to go a double break up in the Frenchman’s next two service games, but Gasquet withstood the pressure before Federer served out the set in 44 minutes, sealing an impressive love service game with a cross court forehand winner.

With the cowbells in the vast converted football stadium clanging ever louder, Federer swiftly took first blood in the second set when Gasquet missed a backhand return. Although Gasquet held his own serve with ease he was still getting few chances in Federer’s service games and with the match racing away from the hosts, Federer struck again, two stunning returns on Gasquet’s serve helping him to a 5-2 lead. A game later Federer had the second set, clinched with a drop shot that left his opponent standing dazed at the back of the court.

With their man two sets down, the French crowd did their best to lift Gasquet and there were signs that he was fighting back early in the third set: he withstood four break points on his serve in the opening game, and having only won seven points on Federer’s serve through the first two sets, posed more of a threat in the fouth game, taking the 17-time Grand Slam champion to deuce for the first time in the match. But still Gasquet was unable to impose himself in that crucial fourth game.

Gasquet and France’s fate was effectively sealed in the very next game, in which a superb volley from Federer helped him to secure the break. Gasquet’s serve buckled under the pressure again two games later, and Federer secured Switzerland’s historic triumph by serving out to love, a neat drop shot providing the cue for Federer to drop to his knees in celebration as his jubilant teammates rushed onto the court.

“It's an amazing feeling. The best,” said Wawrinka. “We all know how it's great to watch such an amazing player when he's playing good tennis.”

“He was playing fast. He was very focused and making very few mistakes. I was not even able to have a break point,” said Gasquet. “It was difficult for me to give him problems. We are all disappointed. I would have liked to do more for the team because the crowd was ready, ready to support me to the end.  In that situation, the only thing you want to do is play a fourth or fifth set just to please the crowd.”

Switzerland becomes the first new nation to have its name etched on the historic Davis Cup trophy since Serbia in 2010.

As well as adding something new to his list of glittering achievements, Federer set a new record on Sunday as the most successful Swiss player in the history of Davis Cup. His defeat of Gasquet was his 50th victory in the competition, moving him past Jakob Hlasek for most total wins in the competition.

Wawrinka, meanwhile, becomes the first person since Andre Agassi in 1992 to win his maiden Grand Slam title and lift his first Davis Cup trophy in the same year.

For France, captain Clement remains in the hunt for a tenth Davis Cup title. “Right now it's tough. It's difficult to accept that loss for all of us, for the players, for the staff, and also for the fans. They believed we could win. The quality of great champions is to be able to bounce back, to take the lessons and come back very strongly.”

Date: 23rd November 2014, Source: Davis Cup

Swiss praise for Bryan brothers' coach

Switzerland captain Severin Luthi's decision to hire Bob and Mike Bryan's coach to help his team prepare for the Davis Cup final doubles match proved to be a masterstroke.

The Swiss team appointed Dave Macpherson as a consultant ahead of the final against France, and his strategic advice paid off as Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka beat Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet in straight sets Saturday, giving Switzerland a 2-1 lead.

Macpherson is a former Australian player who has been mentoring the Bryans since 2005. The American twins finished at the top of the doubles rankings for a record 10th time this year, and for the sixth consecutive season.

''I think he's been very helpful for us. We had a good, long conversation about doubles. Not just yesterday and today, but in previous days,'' said Federer after the 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory. ''I'm so happy that Severin had the idea to contact David, and David was ready to jump onboard and help us.''

Federer and Wawrinka, who won Olympic gold together in 2008, ended a four-game losing streak in the Davis Cup at the right time, securing their first doubles win on clay.

They played aggressively from the start against the French pair, taking their chance on every weak second ball and bossing exchanges at the net with a commanding presence.

''I think we were perfectly prepared,'' said Federer. ''Obviously you have to be able to execute it. I think Stan did that unbelievably well today. I tried to keep up. Severin kept us motivated and going. It was a cool last sort of 24 hours.''

The French decided to send Gasquet and Benneteau for the doubles after resting Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for Sunday's reverse singles. But Luthi said all their opponents' options had been carefully analyzed.

''We talked about the possibilities the French have,'' Luthi said. ''I think it was a big advantage that David knows all the French players, doubles players in general well ... It was a great preparation.''

Date: 23rd November 2014, Source: AP

Switzerland on the brink of Davis Cup glory after doubles win

Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka took a crucial lead in the 2014 Davis Cup Final on Saturday with a straight-sets defeat of Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet.

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.

The Swiss looked ever more comfortable, benefiting from Swiss captain Luthi’s decision to hire David Macpherson, coach of doubles world No. 1 Bob and Mike Bryan, as a consultant to the team for the tie. Benneteau and Gasquet’s lack of recent matches both individually and as team was increasingly a factor for the hosts. The pair won a bronze doubles medal together at London 2012 but hadn’t played together competitively since March 2013, and last teamed on clay in 2007.

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

Beaten Federer consoled by shaking 'ghost' off his back

Despite his defeat by Gael Monfils in Friday's second singles rubber of the Davis Cup final, Roger Federer found something to smile about as the Swiss got "a ghost" off his back.

The 17-times grand slam champion, who lost 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 as France drew level 1-1 following Stan Wawrinka's opening victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, explained that the recent discomfort he felt in his back began to ease the longer the contest went on.

"It wasn't all negative. I started to feel better as the match went on. That's very encouraging," Federer told a news conference.

"You don't have to be in unbelievably excruciating pain but it takes a while for it to leave your mind. It's like a ghost.

"But that's why it was good for me to play three sets today. It definitely gives us a lot of information. I would think that I'm going to get better as the weekend goes on."

Switzerland captain Severin Luthi now has to decide whether to pair Federer and Wawrinka in Saturday's doubles.

He named Michael Lammer and Marcio Chiudinelli at Thursday's draw and has until one hour before the match to change his lineup.

Asked if he was able to play three days in a row, Federer sounded optimistic.

"I would be ready to do that if, as ever, it's the best choice," he said.

"I know there are less risks than a few days ago, or less than this morning, so I'm making myself available for the team as much as I can, 100 percent, not only as a player but in whatever role I can play," added Federer.

"I'm there to support them and support the team. This is what I always do."

Wawrinka said he was ready to play on Saturday when the Swiss pair will face Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau unless France captain Arnaud Clement decides to replace the latter with Tsonga.

"I'm always ready to play everything. But we'll do like we always do...we'll discuss and see where we are," said Wawrinka who was impressive in his 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Tsonga.

Date: 21st November 2014, Source: Reuters

France levels tie against Switzerland in Davis Cup

Roger Federer's valiant attempt to shake off a back injury backfired spectacularly when the Swiss 17-time Grand Slam champion was swept aside by Gael Monfils Friday as France leveled the Davis Cup final at 1-1 on Friday.

Monfils triumphed 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 and posted his first win on clay over Federer, who decided to play despite the injury that forced him to pull out of the title match at the ATP World Tour Finals last Sunday.

Federer had only two short training sessions earlier this week and looked out of sorts while Monfils hit 44 winners including 10 aces. The Swiss, who is chasing a maiden win in the team competition, dropped his serve five times and could not convert the two break points he earned.

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.

''Clearly I did feel, not having hit and played and moved at all for five days, and Gael did play well,'' he said. ''It's not like I couldn't play at all. It was a proper match, and he was the better player at the end.''

Federer believes he needs to spend more time on court to rediscover his game and is ready for Saturday's doubles.

''I would be ready to do that if ever it's the best choice,'' the 33-year-old said. ''As I said before, I'm waiting for better things this weekend. I'm coming out of the match without any pain, which is good, too. It was not a five setter with me totally exhausted.''

Earlier, Wawrinka had put the Swiss ahead by beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Monfils sealed his win in less than two hours on his first match point with a backhand down the line, getting a measure of revenge after his tough loss to the Swiss in the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open, when the Frenchman lost in five sets after going up two sets to one and failing to convert two match points.

If Federer plays the doubles, he will be teaming up with Wawrinka. The Australian Open champion started strong against Tsonga and overcame a second-set lapse by regaining control of the opening singles match with an aggressive display that paid off.

Wawrinka, who scored 25 points at the net, closed out the match with a winning volley, then pointed to his head with his index finger, his trademark celebration gesture.

''My strength is playing aggressive, I could not win that match staying on the baseline,'' he said. ''I had to come forward.''

Wawrinka took control of rallies with his deep groundstrokes. He converted his second break point for a 3-1 lead as he won eight consecutive points and took the Frenchman's serve again.

Tsonga had to fight hard in the opening game of the second set to hold after saving another break point with a fierce smash.

Wawrinka did not react but his play dropped off while Tsonga started to serve better. He put the Swiss under pressure in the fourth game with a series of good returns and Wawrinka handed him the break with a double fault.

Tsonga stayed in control to level the tie at one set apiece but showed his nerves in the sixth game of the third set, hitting three unforced errors including a double fault to drop his serve.

The fourth-ranked Swiss continued to put Tsonga on the back foot by taking all the risks on his opponent's second serve and broke immediately with another superb backhand at the start of the fourth set. He frustrated Tsonga with a series of backhand and forehand winners in the seventh game as the Frenchman dropped his serve again.

"I was confident. I showed him on the court that I was better than he was," said Wawrinka.

Tsonga agreed with his rival.

"Stan was good today. He played a good match. That's it. There is nothing to say really," he said.

Switzerland is bidding for its first Davis Cup title, while France is seeking its 10th. This is the 13th meeting between the teams, with France leading 10-2.

Date: 21st November 2014, Source: AP

Federer to face Monfils in Davis Cup final

Saying he has recovered from a back injury, Roger Federer has the chance to finally win one of the only notable titles missing from his collection.

Federer will play Gael Monfils on Friday in the second singles match as Switzerland takes on France in the final of the Davis Cup.

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.

Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, was doubtful for the final after injuring his back last week during his three-set win over Wawrinka in the semifinals at the ATP finals in London. The injury forced him to pull out of the title match against Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

Federer said a final practice session hours before Thursday's draw convinced him he would be able to step on court Friday. Whether he is 100 percent fit remains uncertain.

''We'll see tomorrow how it goes, but I practiced well today... and I was really pleased to see that I was able to give it a go,'' the second-ranked Federer said.

''If there was a risk it would impact the rest of my life, obviously I would not play,'' he added. ''But I had similar problems in the past and I can draw from that experience to know what I can actually do.''

Along with an Olympic gold medal in singles, a Davis Cup title is the only major hole in the 33-year-old Federer's resume.

Switzerland is bidding for its first Davis Cup title, while France is seeking its 10th. This is the 13th meeting between the two nations, with France leading 10-2.

The doubles on Saturday will pit French pair Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet against Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer, but team captains can change their lineup up to one hour before the match. If Federer is judged fit enough to play over three days, he is expected to be picked for the doubles alongside Wawrinka.

In the reverse singles Sunday, Federer will play Tsonga, and Wawrinka will face Monfils in the potentially decisive fifth match.

Federer's presence is a huge boost for the Swiss team, which has won just one of the 10 ties it has played without him in the top-tier World Group since his debut in the competition.

The French players played down Federer's injury, saying they never thought he would withdraw from the tie at the 27,000-capacity Pierre Mauroy Stadium.

''He had a four-day rest period,'' said Monfils, who has never beaten Federer on clay in four matches. ''Just before that he was playing his best tennis ever. If he's there, it's because he feels good and he wants to win this competition. If Roger decided to play, it's because he feels he's able to win the match, to beat me.''

Monfils is preparing for a rematch of his epic quarterfinal against Federer at the U.S. Open in September, when the Frenchman lost in five sets after going up two sets to one and failing to convert two match points.

''For sure I will have this special match in my mind,'' Monfils said. ''But this one will be different. You have someone with whom you can share your emotions during the match: the captain, who can help me if maybe I'm tight in the match.''

French captain Arnaud Clement said Monfils' current form was the decisive factor when he picked him over Richard Gasquet.

Wawrinka, meanwhile, said he has recovered faster than expected from his loss to Federer in London last Saturday, when he wasted four match points.

''It was easier than I thought,'' Wawrinka said. ''First I was destroyed, and it was difficult on Sunday, too, when I learned about Roger's injury. But when I came here on Monday, something really positive started, and I was surprised how easy it was to switch.''

Date: 20th November 2014, Source: AP

All smiles in Swiss camp despite Federer fitness race

There have been two questions on everyone’s lips ahead of the 2014 Davis Cup Final at the Stade Mauroy in Lille this weekend.

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.

Speaking about his ailment at the pre-draw press conference in Lille on Tuesday, the 17-time Grand Slam champion said: “It's definitely not good enough to practice. I wish progress would be faster, but we're trying hard. But I know I don't have a month ahead of me to get better. I need to get better quickly. But I can't give you a precise percentage.

“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