DAVIS CUP WORLD GROUP FIRST ROUND 2012
by ATP Staff|
Switzerland will have Roger Federer, team camaraderie and home advantage working in its favour when it hosts the United States in a highly anticipated first round Davis Cup tie in Fribourg.
Federer will play American John Isner in the second singles match Friday, and has been nominated along with Stanislas Wawrinka in doubles against Mike Bryan and Ryan Harrison. Wawrinka will open the tie against World No. 8 Mardy Fish.
“I think all the matches are going to be extremely close,” stated Federer on Davis Cup Radio. “I don’t see now one match where I can say this one should be an easy one. Obviously only Top 30 players involved here so it makes it extremely difficult for both teams, but it’s always a pleasure playing against America. I have great memories from the 2001 win against them in my hometown of Basel, and I hope I can play as good as I did back then.”
The 30 year old will be playing in his 21st tie since making his Davis Cup debut in 1999, and welcomed the chance to spend time with Wawrinka, Marco Chiudinelli, Michael Lammer and team captain Severin Luthi.
“My team is all with great friends, that’s what I enjoy about [Davis Cup], it’s that I can spend some time with them and hopefully try to win,” said Federer.
Wawrinka echoed the sentiment, adding that their tight bond gave the Swiss an extra edge. “We have one of the best teams I think because we enjoy all the week together,” he said. “Every time we are back together it’s really nice. We are really happy to practice, to play some games outside, to be all together for dinner, so it’s been a great week again.”
The United States has won 32 Davis Cup titles, and team captain Jim Courier stated it was unfamiliar territory to go up against a favoured team in the first round.
“It’s one of the relatively rare occasions where we go into the tie as the underdog,” he said. “We have such depth on the team that we normally go in as favourites in most of the ties, but this one, on paper, is certainly a big challenge for us.”
He admitted his initial surprise that Federer would be competing, given that the Swiss hadn’t played a first round tie since 2004, but welcomed the opportunity.
“As a competitor, you want to go up and test yourself against the best there can be. I’d rather play him in the final than the first round, but it is what it is,” he said. “We’re here and we’re ready to go.”
Isner will be facing Federer for the third time, and was mentally prepared to play the popular Swiss on his home soil.
“It’s very tough, but it’s also something I’ve very excited about,” he said. “I’ve played a Davis Cup [match] against Novak Djokovic in Serbia before, so I think it should be pretty similar to that. It’s a tough task ahead of me, but I’m willing and able to go out there and I’m obviously going to give it my best shot.”