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


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