Federer waves the white flag
Their flag may be red and white but Roger Federer all but admitted the latter colour would be hoisted by the Swiss on Sunday as the weary world No.3 conceded the Davis Cup tie was just about beyond his side’s reach.
THEIR flag may be red and white but Roger Federer all but admitted the latter colour would be hoisted by the Swiss on Sunday as the weary world No.3 conceded the Davis Cup tie was just about beyond his side’s reach.
After arriving just two days before the tie against Australia following a draining US Open semi-final where he lost to Novak Djokovic after holding match points, the 16-time grand slam champion was starting to look decidedly mortal after losing the key doubles rubber with partner Stanislas Wawrinka.
Both sides had targeted the match as pivotal and with Australia claiming victory over the Beijing Olympic gold medal-winning pair and Federer almost out on his feet, the Swiss believed the tie was just about done.
“Our chances to win now are extremely slim obviously, especially with Stan (Wawrinka) not feeling really well and I’m completely beat up too,” Federer said after the 2-6 6-4 6-2 7-6 (7-5) loss to Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione.
“We were trying to really win this doubles, that was our big goal and we failed so we are disappointed so it’s going to be a tough day tomorrow.”
Australia had targeted victories over Wawrinka from the outset, choosing the grass surface knowing Federer would be more than comfortable but the Swiss No.2 would struggle.
That has proved the case and Wawrinka hardly sounded inspired by a potential tie-deciding fifth rubber against Hewitt with a flat Federer still expected to have too much class for 18-year-old Bernard Tomic in the first of the reverse singles matches on Sunday.
“I need to see how I am going to feel tomorrow because after two long matches it is really tough for me right now with the leg so I hope I can have a good night of sleep and we’ll see but I don’t know,” Wawrinka said.
Australian captain Pat Rafter said Federer could pull out any time he likes.
“That’s good, he can stop now if he wants. We’ll take it,” Rafter said.
“We think it is definitely a 50-50 proposition out there and that’s the way we are going to approach it.
“We are going to get Bernie all fired up and then Lleyton prepared like he’s got to fight for his life out there as well.
“He’s (Tomic) still playing the guy that’s number 19 in the world and if he’s (Wawrinka) not fit then don’t go on the court.
“It’s the one thing we play by now – if you’ve got to pull out then we’ll put someone else in so there is no excuses when you get on the court.”
Rafter should know.
He famously played injured in a doubles match in the 2001 Davis Cup final against France, Australia losing the rubber and ultimately the trophy with Rafter unable to play in his final singles match.