Switzerland Wins First Davis Cup Title

Komm jetza! Davis Cup in the bag baby! With this title the GOAT ticks yet another box off in his already very complete resume. There will always be more to achieve but as far as ticking off the boxes go there is now hardly anything left to achieve. You can say he hasn’t won Rome and Monte Carlo, or the Olympic gold in singles. But those are minors as Roger have played finals in Rome and Monte Carlo several times and won a doubles gold at the Olympics. You wouldn’t put it past him to achieve those things but they are not crucial. Congrats to the Swiss on winning their first ever Davis Cup! This is a big deal for Switzerland and tennis in that country, even though it may not be that big a deal for an individual player. With a legend like Roger and a very good second player in Stan it would have been a shame if they couldn’t take the opportunity of winning a Davis Cup.

In the end the Swiss did it relatively comfortably as they won the final 3-1 when Roger defeated Gasquet 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. It sounded like Roger was counting on Stan to win it for the Swiss in the interview after the doubles which I found strange, because I thought Roger would take confidence from what happened in the doubles and his back seemed OK. But Roger was his old self against Gasquet and didn’t show any sings of carrying an injury. So that in itself was very encouraging. He played some clay court tennis which I didn’t know he still had in him looking perfectly at home on the surface. Clearly the fact that he couldn’t start training earlier on clay had a big effect and playing doubles was in the end a stroke of genius almost. That clearly helped Roger to adjust and boosted his confidence. In the end the year ended on the best note possible with Roger in good health, playing well, and a Davis Cup title in the bag!

The big moment for Swiss tennis and their favorite son

It would have been a big anti-climax if Roger missed out on the Davis Cup after having already missed out on Wimby and the World Tour Finals so heartbreakingly, especially if it was because of injury. But in the end he got his big reward for playing a terrific season of tennis and all his well in Federer land again. I’m liking his chances in Australia already after getting a boost from winning the Davis Cup and getting some much needed rest. But of course no expectations as Djokovic will want to win back his favorite slam after what happened this year a and Nadal will be back too. Knowing him he will be in top form from the first ball he strikes and could definitely be a factor in Australia. But with Roger’s new found mental strength I’m not worried about him as much. Then there will be Stan as well who seems to be back to the form that saw him win in Australia this year so there will be no lack of competition that’s for sure.

I just hope the courts are slightly faster like they were this year because that would really help Roger with his new found net game and serve. But let me get back to the Davis Cup. It was nice to see Roger after clinching the tie for the Swiss saying that he has achieved enough for himself and that this win is for the team. The interviewer was intent on asking him what this meant for his personal resume but he would have none of it. I mean he could have tried to take center stage and make this about him after getting the winning point and being the Swiss number one player but he was humble about it. And lets face it it is after all a team competition and he just wouldn’t have been able to do it without Stan at least. Stan was also the best player in the final and his confidence rubbed off on Roger. As for the Davis Cup final itself the atmosphere was amazing and unlike anything you experience on the ATP Tour.

Marco looks pleased

That is the appeal of the Davis Cup and it is not something even Roger have experienced before. The team format of Davis Cup is also special because it is the only notable team competition in tennis. Winning the title obviously meant a huge amount to Roger as he fell the the floor after hitting that sweet final drop shot, and he was in tears as well. In the end it was the perfect end like I said because it means that Roger didn’t lose both his singles matches and fittingly got the winning point for the Swiss. And had he lost there would have been an awful lot of pressure on Stan. Something else that is worth a mention is Clement’s choice of Gasquet as the singles player who had a poor year by his own standards. Benneteau would have been the better choice given how he played in the doubles and the fact that he has given Roger more problems in the past than Gasquet.

Also why did the French not choose Simon over Gasquet? They could have played Simon against Roger which would have been even more difficult for him. That said, he would probably have beaten whoever they put in from of him. He seemed really sharp and it will be interesting to see how he performs in the clay season in 2015. I said clay is now by far his worst surface but I’ll have to take that back after what he showed against Gasquet. I’m sure he has a few things to prove on clay next year too after what happened the last couple of years. He is still an awesome clay courter but Nadal does remain a big obstacle at the French. Well what a fantastic end to another fantastic year as a Fedfan and I hope you all have enjoyed it as much as I did. As always onward and upward and I will try to make some posts in the off season to keep things from getting boring.

Brisbane is just around the corner!

 

Highlights:

Interview:

Fedrinka Put Swiss in Strong Position on Day Two of Davis Cup Final

That’s more like it! A strong performance from Fedrinka in the doubles put the Swiss ahead 2-1 in the tie with France going into the final day of the Davis Cup final. The Swiss now only need to win one singles to clinch their first Davis Cup title, after Fedrinka defeated Benneteau and Gasquet 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in an impressive doubles display. Stan was once again on fire and could do no wrong, while Roger also picked up his game. Of course it doesn’t hurt your own confidence when your partner is playing so well. I’m just glad that Roger’s back held up well and that it wasn’t a long drawn out match. For the French Benneteau played well while Gasquet was the weak link. I usually never watch doubles but this was quite entertaining stuff. Well my stream wasn’t exactly stable but there were some good rallies and it all went pretty fast. It was a risky decision to play Fedrinka in the doubles but it paid off very well in the end.

Fedrinka’s record in doubles had actually been quite poor in Davis Cup lately but they bossed it against the French in an almost flawless display. The doubles was always going to be crucial after the singles was split on day one and you gotta like the Swiss’ chances now. They only need to win one singles today which you’d think they will be able to do, especially since it looks like Tsonga won’t be available due to an elbow injury. But the tie is far from over. Tsonga also withdrew from the doubles yesterday due to the same problem. The French will probably play Benneteau in the number one singles then which means he will face Roger. Benneteau looked confident in the doubles and he has been a tricky opponent for Roger in the past. Roger didn’t sound too confident after the doubles when he said he hopes it is Stan’s weekend. That would suggest he is still not feeling very confident himself and that he is counting on Stan to get the job done.

Swiss synchrony 

Fortunately Stan has hit form right in the nick of time for the Davis Cup final and is playing like he did when he won the Australian Open. If it comes down to a deciding rubber with Stan playing Monfils it would still be a tense affair however. Monfils was in the zone himself against Roger and with the French crowd behind him things could get difficult for Stan. So ideally Roger can take care of his singles, but after what I saw against Monfils I don’t hold out much hope of that happening myself. He just looked very average against Monfils and I’m not surprised that he is counting on Stan to get the job done. Of course you don’t wana see Roger lose both his singles matches in the Davis Cup final, but at least he helped get the point in the doubles. With his injury woes that may be all we can expect from him.Stan kind of owes the Swiss as it is after that poor display against Kazakhstan so it would be fitting if it’s his weekend.

Well this Davis Cup final has been quite enjoyable and in the end I’m glad Roger played as long as his back holds up. The Davis Cup atmosphere is certainly something unique as well as the team format. It is something different and fresh from the usual tour where it is every man for himself. It’s great to see how Fedrinka compliment each other and that their friendship is going strong through it all. It wasn’t always smooth going but they stuck at it and are now on the brink of a historic moment for Swiss tennis. As far as Roger’s singles career goes the Davis Cup would definitely mean something for it, even though I’m not sure how much. I think this is the right time to win it anyway, after he has achieved just about everything else. It’s like a small hole that was left in his resume which he can now fill. And aside from that it could have a very inspiring effect on him going into 2015.

The friendship that transcended competition 

It would be very disappointing if Roger misses out on Wimbledon, the World Tour Finals, and now Davis Cup too. Even after having a great year that would leave me as a fan feeling empty-handed. Sure he achieved his goal of five titles for the year, but after what happened at Wimby and the World Tour Finals you feel like he deserves more, like he is due for something better. And the Davis Cup title would certainly provide that. Even if Roger ends up losing both singles but the Swiss wins the title it wouldn’t matter. He still did his part by helping the Swiss getting the all important doubles point and it’s not like he didn’t do his part in the past. He has always been the reliable one for the Swiss and his injury clearly didn’t help matters for him. Lets see how he fares in the singles today. If he loses it will all come down to a thrilling, all be it nerve wrecking finale, between Stan and Monfils.

Hopp Suisse!

 

Highlights:

Presser:

Swiss and French Splits Singles on Opening Day of Davis Cup Final

Well what an interesting first day of the Davis Cup final that was. A couple of weeks ago this is the opposite of what you would have expected to happen. Stan confidently disposes of Tsonga 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the opening singles and then Roger gets straight setted 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 by Monfils. It seems like Roger and Stan can’t play well for the Swiss at the same time. Of course Roger’s back injury had a big role to play in his loss to Monfils, but given how Monfils played he may have lost anyway. The French have the advantage of playing at home and being able to train on clay while Roger and Stan was still playing in London. And of course with R0ger’s injury he couldn’t train the way he wanted to. He said after that match that the injury didn’t bother him on his ground strokes(did it both him on his serve?) but the fact that he couldn’t start training earlier on clay was a problem for him.

And lets face it Roger’s clay form hasn’t exactly been the greatest in the last couple of years. So I think the French made the right decision to play on clay, even though Stan is adapting very well. You gotta hand it to Stan. He really stepped up when he was needed. Who’s the cry baby now? Haha. That was maybe the best Stan has played since the Australian Open this year. My connection was very poor but his ground strokes was lethal and he just dominated Tsonga from the base line. When Stan plays like that he is a joy to watch and almost impossible to beat. Monfils was in similar form though. At least my connection was good for Roger match, only to see him getting blasted off the court in straight sets! It wasn’t much of a contest. Monfils was by far the superior player. He was clearly feeding off the energy of the crowd and afterwards said he played one of the three best matches of his life.

Who’s the cry baby now?

Monfils was ripping winners from all over the place and his serve was huge too. Roger on the other hand was really struggling. He just looked altogether unimpressive and clay has now become by far his worst surface, whereas before it was just his worst surface.Clearly it didn’t help that he got injured in London and the fact that he couldn’t hit the clay courts as soon as he was finished there, but like I said he may have lost anyway. That is just how well Monfils played. And then of course having the home crowd on his side helps a lot. The French are not known for being mentally the strongest players, but they are an altogether different cup of tea when they play at home. With the home support they all of a sudden seem almost invincible. So the home advantage for the French is definitely big here. Even if Roger was 100% fit this would have been a challenging tie.

So actually I don’t feel too bad about Roger’s injury as the score would probably have been 1-1 after day one had Roger been fully fit all week. Today is of course doubles and that will be huge. Every match is huge but the team that goes ahead 2-1 into the final day will probably be the favorites. An interesting scenario would be if the French win the doubles, Roger wins his match against Tsonga, and we have a one match shoot out between the two in form players Monfils and Stan to decide the champions. Roger said he will make himself available for the doubles if he feels he can play properly and I am wondering whether he is not taking too many risks with his back, but we may well see a Fedrinka doubles team. The French initially had Gasquet and Benneteau down for doubles while the Swiss had Chiudinelli and Lammer. But it will be interesting to see who they opt for today. Roger may end up playing three days in a row.

I guess I was wrong about their friendship…

This Davis Cup obviously comes at a very difficult time for him with his back problem. He’d rather be resting and giving his back treatment right now but now he is in the middle of a physically taxing Davis Cup tie. I said before he should just skip the Davis Cup final but he couldn’t do that. This is a big opportunity for him as well as his country and he couldn’t let it pass. It is to a certain extent very risky, because already the loss to Monfils does not do his confidence good. It is the kind of loss he would have suffered in 2013 when he was so low on confidence. Now it becomes even more important that the Swiss win the tie. If Roger performs poorly in the tie and the Swiss lose then it will clearly not help his confidence for next year. I mean he already had to pull out of London so it is not like he ended the year on a high there. And what would be even more disastrous is if he makes his back worse.

So yes this is a difficult and risky situation but as always Roger is the eternal optimist which always helps. He said after his loss that he started feeling better as the match went on and that it is very encouraging. I think it may be better if he sits out the doubles and make sure he is in the best possible shape for the singles against Tsonga. But then again if him and Stan wins the doubles then they only need one singles. I just think he shouldn’t be pushing his back so hard right after what happened in London. What if it flairs up in the doubles and he can’t play singles on the third day at all? These are all things that the Swiss team will have to consider going forward to give them the best possible chance of winning their first Davis Cup title. I just hope Roger can salvage a Davis Cup title here to end the year with. You feel like he deserves it after missing out on both Wimbledon and the World Tour finals so heartbreakingly!

Hopp Suisse!

Highlights: