Tag Archive: Davis Cup


Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Fall Frenzy

The annual ATP World Tour Finals has a special place in tennis lore for many fans and players alike. However, it is a topic of heated debate, as gripes surrounding scheduling at the end of a long year, seem to be an annual event as well. Critics and detractors of the event often cite that the significance of the tournament should not be on even footing with the Grand Slam events, when considering career resumes between the all-time greats. Some prefer Davis Cup titles, others just prefer to either diminish the tournament or raise it’s importance, simply in an effort to portray their favorite players in a better light.

So my question becomes – What is the true significance of the ATP World Tour Finals? I like the idea of a year ending tournament, a kind of “playoff” for tennis, comparable to the very successful FedEx cup in golf, however, I’m not sure all of the players take it seriously. In 2010, question marks surrounded Novak Djokovic’s true motivation, because he was preparing for a Davis Cup final a few days later. Are we supposed to expect that same attitude from Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer in 2011?

Rafael Nadal has never won a ATP World Tour Final, and it’s a slight hole on his career resume, depending on who you are asking. He made a strong case in 2010, and let it be known that he had his sights set on winning in London. Will he be as focused this year, as Spain prepares to take on Argentina in the Davis Cup Finals?

The Calendar

As we are all familiar with by now, the players (Murray, Nadal) are unhappy. Talks of a strike are dominating the tennis headlines, and the threats appear to be real, although nobody has formally met at this point. Leading the charge are Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal. While I am of the opinion that a player strike is bad for the sport, I do think having a players union might be a progressive move in the right direction.

Murray’s threats of strike might be a little premature, but his frustrations stem from the annual ATP calendar and the strict requirements. Sixty-seven events are played on the men’s calendar across 32 countries on six continents. Events are classified as Grand Slams (four in a year), ATP World Tour Masters 1000 series (9), Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (WTF; season-finale event), ATP World Tour 500 series (11) and ATP World Tour 250 (42). This is excluding the Davis Cup. In accordance with ATP rules, players are ranked on the basis of the past 52 weeks’ performance.

A player’s total points from four Grand Slams, nine Masters 1000 series, the Barclays ATP WTF (if he qualifies) are accounted for, in addition to the best four and best two results from any of the ATP 500 events and ATP 250 events, respectively. In all, he needs to play at least 18 events to prop his rankings.

The ATP calendar is admittedly long, and despite the unusual spike in retirements at the 2011 US Open, statistics* show that overall retirements were down in 2011 compared to years past.  There had been 187 withdrawals this year leading up to the US Open, against 378 in 2006, 270 in 2007, 256 in 2008, 242 in 2009, and 309 in 2010.

I found that number to be very interesting, and led me to question what the complaints were all about. Was it just a bad day at the office, that led to some misplaced thoughts, that maybe Murray shouldn’t have aired in public forum?

One telling stat is the number of matches played by the top players each year. Since 2005, Andy Murray has never once played more then 80 matches in one season.

Murray has played an average of 58.85 matches per year, his highest being 77 in 2009. During that same time period, Nadal has played an average of 81.57 matches per year, his highest being 93 in 2008. Federer has played an average of 78.85 matches per year, his highest being 97 in 2006; and finally, Djokovic has played an average of 70.42 matches per year, his highest being 97 in 2009. Of all the people to be most outspoken, Murray has played the least amount of tennis since 2005.

AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF

Tennis at the highest level, is a grind, which makes the 30-year-old Federer’s staying power all the more remarkable. He has had recurring back problems in the past and had mononucleosis in early 2008, however, he has not missed a Grand Slam tournament in the last decade and has played in the tour championships every year in which he has qualified, beginning in 2002. Federer is the exception not the example. His longetivity is something to be admired, and something today’s generation willl most likely not be able to emulate. The physical toll Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal put on their body, will not allow for the type of run Federer has endured.

“It means a lot to him,” said Federer’s agent, Tony Godsick. “Not enough for him to go chase the points in Asia when he was hurt and risk further injury. Guys don’t seem to take a lesson from Roger in terms of giving their body a break. But Roger wants this.”

The lesson here is that a player’s true legacy is marked by winning. Whether it be a Masters 1000, or an ATP 250, a Grand Slam, or the World Tour Finals.

So when considering the significance of the ATP World Tour Finals, I come back to motivation. What motivates a player at the end of a grueling season to compete in November?

I think it’s a player’s legacy, or his foot print on the game in the grand scheme of things. It is often forgotten, that when fans, media, John McEnroe, etc,  hand out report cards; or make claims to the “best season ever,” that we are still currently entrenched in that season, or that era.

Why not wait to make those claims. Let it play out. Write that chapter, once the current chapter is closed. I don’t think it is fair to compare Federer’s 2005-2008 with Djokovic’s one great season, or Nadal’s 2010. It is a larger picture that needs painting. Imagine if a construction company quit building a 10 story building after the 2nd floor, because they were so inspired by that floor. It would not only look incomplete, but it would be incomplete.

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

The World Tour Finals draw includes only the Top 8 players of that year – essentially starting the tournament in the quarterfinal stage, where the top 8 players are “expected” to end up in a Grand Slam draw anyways.

The tournament itself has somewhat of a forgotten past. It has changed names numerous times, and spanned different continents during it’s extended history. However, one thing has remained the same. Each year it crowns a champion from among the year’s top players.

The tournament can trace it’s roots back to 1970, when it was called The Masters. Later it become the ATP Tour World Championship in 1990, when it was transported from New York’s Madison Square Garden to Frankfurt. It was renamed the Tennis Masters Cup in 2000.

In 2009, it was rebranded again as the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, and moved to London’s O2 Arena. Despite the challenge of locating the tournament from year to year, and the ever changing names; there has been very few weak links in its roster of champions. In the 41 years of existence, only three men have won the tournament, who have also never won a Grand Slam singles title: Alex Corretja in 1998, David Nalbandian in 2005, and Nikolay Davydenko in 2009. The three men who have won it most are Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl, and Roger Federer, each with five titles.

It is the last scheduled ATP Tour event on the long calendar, and allows for players to see a finish line. Players at that point can make a decision mentally to give it their full dedicated efforts, prior to the upcoming vacation; or check out mentally because they have visions of beaches, clouding their minds.

In 2010, Federer had by far the best fall among all the players. After losing to Djokovic at the 2010 US Open, Federer took a month off. Then he went on a 21-2 run for the fall, losing only to Murray (final of Shanghai) and Gael Monfils (semis of Paris Bercy). Looking back, it now seems that perhaps the only major difference between Federer and Djokovic in 2010 and 2011 was nothing more complicated than one or two shots at a time, in Federer’s case, two match points at a time. Djokovic lost to Federer three times last fall (in Shanghai, the final of Basel, and the semis of the ATP World Tour Finals), but has since developed into Djokovic 2.0 – losing only 3 times since his semifinal loss to Federer at the ATP World Tour Finals.

The X-factor in this situation becomes the Davis Cup. If Djokovic didn’t face the Davis Cup final immediately following the World Tour Finals, I wonder if he would have given Federer a better match. That’s not to say Federer didn’t deserve the win, he was clearly the best player on tour last fall. But the timing does have a factor in preparation.

In light of the schedule talks, and the idea of forming a players union, Jim Courier may have summed it all up best. He told Tennis Grandstand the schedule needed to be changed because it would keep the top players on the court longer, which benefits everyone. “But let’s be clear, that everyone in this sport, since Billie Jean King and Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith fought for Open tennis, we’ve all been overpaid, grossly overpaid, for what we do. So let’s be clear that this is not a pity party, but I don’t think that player representation is necessarily a bad thing.”

He added, “It’s not about the immediacy of we want this or we want that because we need immediate gain, and the off-season is a no-brainer, it needs to happen, but we’ve been saying that for thirty years and it hasn’t happened.”

The irony of all of the schedule talks is that current (not for long) ATP executive chairman and president, Adam Helfant, announced last year that the off-season on the men’s tour would be seven weeks, up from four weeks presently, starting 2012. So with that said, they are actually getting the longer off season they desire.

I hope that the fall portion of 2011 brings even a fraction of the excitement that 2010 had. The main issue here is that the focus has shifted from the tennis on the court, to the issues off the court. Change takes time.

For more updates please follow us on Twitter @TennisOnTennis

*Source: ATP World Tour

Davis Cup Trophy

From DavisCup.com

The Draw for 2012 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas will take place on Wednesday 21 September at the Four Seasons hotel in Bangkok, getting under way at 18:30 local time (11:30 GMT).

You will be able to listen to the Draw as it happens right here on the website, with Craig Gabriel and Barry Wood on hand to provide live commentary on Davis Cup Radio.

Seeds

As this year’s finalists, Spain and Argentina head the seeds for next year’s World Group, while the remaining nations are seeded according to the latest Davis Cup Nations Ranking.

Along with the World Group, the Draws for Europe/Africa Zone Groups I and II, and Asia/Oceania Zone Groups I and II will also take place in Bangkok.

A decision on the scheduling of the Draws for Americas Zone Groups I and II will be made on Tuesday after the completion of the rain-delayed tie between Paraguay and Peru in Asuncion.

The first round ties are scheduled to be played on 10-12 February 2012.

WORLD GROUP

WORLD GROUP

Seeded nations

1. Spain
2. Argentina
3. Serbia
4. France
5. Czech Republic
6. USA
7. Croatia
8. Russia

Remaining nations

- Austria
- Canada
- Germany
- Italy
- Japan
- Kazakhstan
- Sweden
- Switzerland

For more updates please follow us on Twitter @TennisOnTennis

World Group Semi-Finals

AFP PHOTO / CESAR MANSO

SPAIN 4, FRANCE 1
Venue: Plaza de Toros de los Califas, Cordoba, ESP (clay – outdoors)

Rafael Nadal d Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-0 6-1
David Ferrer d Gilles Simon 6-1 6-4 6-1
Michael Llodra/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga d Feliciano Lopez/Fernando Verdasco 6-1 6-2 6-0
Rafael Nadal d Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-0 6-2 6-4
Fernando Verdasco d Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-1

AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC

SERBIA 2, ARGENTINA 3
Venue: Belgrade Arena, Belgrade, SRB (hard – indoors)

David Nalbandian d Viktor Troicki 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-3
Juan Martin del Potro d Janko Tipsarevic 7-5 6-3 6-4
Viktor Troicki/Nenad Zimonjic d Juan Ignacio Chela/Juan Monaco 7-6(4) 6-4 6-2
Juan Martin del Potro d Novak Djokovic 7-6(5) 3-0 ret.
Janko Tipsarevic d Juan Monaco 6-2 0-0 ret.

World Group Play-Offs

AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOOD

AUSTRALIA 2, SWITZERLAND 3
Venue: Royal Sydney Golf Club, Sydney, AUS (grass – outdoors)

Bernard Tomic d Stanislas Wawrinka 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-3
Roger Federer d Lleyton Hewitt 5-7 7-6(5) 6-2 6-3
Chris Guccione/Lleyton Hewitt d Roger Federer/Stanislas Wawrinka 2-6 6-4 6-2 7-6(5)
Roger Federer d Bernard Tomic 6-2 7-5 3-6 6-3
Stanislas Wawrinka d Lleyton Hewitt  6-4 4-6 7-6(7) 4-6 3-6

ISRAEL 2, CANADA 3
Venue: Canada Stadium, Ramat Hasharon, ISR (hard – outdoors)

Vasek Pospisil d Dudi Sela 76(4) 67(6) 61 67(2) 63
Amir Weintraub d Milos Raonic 57 75 63 61
Daniel Nestor/Vasek Pospisil d Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram 46 63 64 64
Dudi Sela d Peter Polansky 6-3 6-3 6-3
Vasek Pospisil d Amir Weintraub  2-6 6-7(3) 4-6

ROMANIA 0, CZECH REPUBLIC 5
Venue: Centrul National De Tenis, Bucharest, ROU (clay – outdoors)

Radek Stepanek d Adrian Ungur 6-3 6-2 6-0
Tomas Berdych d Victor Crivoi 6-3 6-3 7-6(4)
Tomas Berdych/Radek Stepanek d Marius Copil/Horia Tecau 6-3 3-6 6-0 6-2
Lukas Rosol d Marius Copil 6-4 7-6(2)
Jan Hajek d Victor Crivoi 6-1 6-4

RUSSIA 3, BRAZIL 2
Venue: Kazan Tennis Academy, Kazan, RUS (hard – indoors)

Mikhail Youzhny d Ricardo Mello 6-0 6-2 6-1
Thomaz Bellucci d Igor Andreev 6-4 6-3 6-3
Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares d Igor Kunitsyn/Dmitry Tursunov 6-4 7-5 6-2
Mikhail Youzhny d Thomaz Bellucci 2-6 6-3 5-7 6-4 14-12
Igor Andreev d Ricardo Mello 6-1 7-6(5) 2-6 6-3

SOUTH AFRICA 1, CROATIA 4
Venue: Fanie Du Toit Sports Stadium, Potchefstroom, RSA (hard – outdoors)

Kevin Anderson d Ivan Dodig 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-6(5)
Marin Cilic d Izak van der Merwe 6-0 6-0 ret. (wrist)
Marin Cilic/Ivan Dodig d Rik de Voest/Raven Klaasen 6-2 6-4 3-6 6-1
Marin Cilic d Rik de Voest 6-4 6-2 6-4
Nikola Mektic d Raven Klaasen 7-6(2) 6-1

CHILE 1, ITALY 4
Venue: Estadio Nacional, Santiago, CHI (hard – outdoors)

Potito Starace d Paul Capdeville 6-3 6-3 2-6 7-6(5)
Fabio Fognini d Fernando Gonzalez 6-2 4-6 2-1 ret. (adductor)
Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini d Jorge Aguilar/Nicolas Massu 6-4 6-4 6-4
Paul Capdeville d Fabio Fognini 7-6(3) 6-2
Daniele Bracciali d Nicolas Massu 3-4 0-0 Retired

JAPAN 4, INDIA 1
Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, JPN (hard – outdoors)

Yuichi Sugita d Somdev Devvarman 6-3 6-4 7-5
Kei Nishikori d Rohan Bopanna 6-3 6-2 6-2
Mahesh Bhupathi/Rohan Bopanna d Tatsuma Ito/Yuichi Sugita 7-5 3-6 6-3 7-6(4)
Kei Nishikori d Visnhu Vardhan 7-5 6-3 6-3
Go Soeda d Rohan Bopanna 4-5 ret.

BELGIUM 1, AUSTRIA 4
Venue: Lotto Arena, Antwerp, BEL (hard – indoors)

Andreas Haider-Maurer d Xavier Malisse 6-4 6-4 7-5
Steve Darcis d Jurgen Melzer 7-6(3) 6-7(4) 6-4 6-3
Oliver Marach/Alexander Peya d Steve Darcis/Olivier Rochus 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4
Jurgen Melzer d Olivier Rochus 6-4 6-4 6-3
Alexander Peyas d Alexander Bemelmans 4-6 3-6

For more updates please follow us on Twitter @TennisOnTennis

Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

The sight of Roger Federer courtside at the Royal Sydney Golf Club this past weekend, jumping out of his chair and cheering in support for his teammates, left little doubt as to how much the 16-time Grand Slam winner wants to add Davis Cup Champion to his resume.

Roger Federer already did his part to help the Swiss, winning both of his singles matches against the Australians. However, it seemed that people were more drawn to his off court support for his teammates than for his play on the courts. Federer showed this past weekend that he was willing to do just about anything to encourage his teammate Stanislas Wawrinka, in order for the Swiss to advance to the World Group.  Federer was expected to win his matches, but the Australians had planned for that scenario. Their target was Wawrinka.

They chose the grass courts at Royal Sydney Golf Club, in hopes that Swiss No. 2 Wawrinka would falter on his least comfortable surface.  The plan back fired as Wawrinka edged past Lleyton Hewitt 4-6 6-4 6-7(7) 6-4 6-3 in the decisive fifth rubber, which had been suspended overnight with the Swiss leading 5-3 in the fifth. For the first time in his tennis career, the Swiss No. 2 was the main event, not Federer.

The intense four-hour battle on Sunday ended in three quick minutes for the Australians the following day. Hewitt hit two forehand winners to reach 30-0, followed by two double-faults and two missed forehands to concede the tie. It was a bitter loss for Hewitt in his first-ever live fifth rubber.

Switzerland will return to the World Group in 2012 after a one-year absence in Europe/Africa Group I. With Federer and Wawrinka on the team, the Swiss have now won seven of eight ties and look poised to make a run at the 2012 Davis Cup title.

Roger Federer’s plan to help teammate Stan Wawrinka win:

For more updates please follow us on Twitter @TennisOnTennis

World Group Semi-Finals

Photo by Cesar Manso/AFP/Getty Images

Spain vs France

Rafael Nadal blasted Richard Gasquet, just four days after his US Open loss to Novak Djokovic, 6-3 6-0 6-1. The French captain Guy Forget was banking on the second rubber however, with Gilles Simon facing David Ferrer. The outcome was not what they were hoping for as Ferrer dismantled Simon, 6-1 6-4 6-1. It was a bitter setback for Forget’s team.

“It’s very painful to watch your players suffer against such a good team,” said Forget. “They played alright but to beat Spain in Spain you have to play great.”

Serbia vs Argentina

In what seemed like a foregone conclusion, Novak Djokovic was forced to pull out of this weekend’s World Group semifinals with a back injury. In his place, Viktor Troiki was handed a tough match against Davis Cup veteran David Nalbandian. Nalbandian proved that he is a Davis Cup specialist defeating the Serbian in four sets, 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-3. Janko Tipsarevic will have the tough task of trying to defeat Juan Martin Del Potro to even the tie.

World Group Playoffs

AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOOD

Switzerland vs Australia

Way down under, in Australia, the Swiss are tied with the Aussies 1-1, after Bernard Tomic was able to upset Swiss No. 2 Stanislas Wawrinka. However, Roger Federer was able to even the tie, with a four set defeat of Lleyton Hewitt, avenging his heart-breaking Davis Cup loss eaight years earlier.

‘It was a big victory for me, after a rough last week,’ said Federer, alluding to his semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic in the US Open, after holding two match points. ‘Definitely one of the biggest wins of my career.’

Scores

SERBIA 0, ARGENTINA 1
Venue: Belgrade Arena, Belgrade, SRB (hard – indoors)

David Nalbandian d Viktor Troicki 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-3
Janko Tipsarevic v Juan Martin del Potro
Janko Tipsarevic/Nenad Zimonjic v Juan Ignacio Chela/Juan Monaco
Novak Djokovic v Juan Martin del Potro
Janko Tipsarevic v David Nalbandian

SPAIN 2, FRANCE 0
Venue: Plaza de Toros de los Califas, Cordoba, ESP (clay – outdoors)

Rafael Nadal d Richard Gasquet  6-3 6-0 6-1
David Ferrer d Gilles Simon 6-1 6-4 6-1
Feliciano Lopez/Fernando Verdasco  v Michael Llodra/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Rafael Nadal v Gilles Simon
David Ferrer v Richard Gasquet

World Group Play-Offs

AUSTRALIA 1, SWITZERLAND 1
Venue: Royal Sydney Golf Club, Sydney, AUS (grass – outdoors)

Bernard Tomic d Stanislas Wawrinka 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-3
Roger Federer d Lleyton Hewitt 5-7 7-6(5) 6-2 6-3
Chris Guccione/Lleyton Hewitt v Roger Federer/Stanislas Wawrinka
Bernard Tomic v Roger Federer
Lleyton Hewitt v Stanislas Wawrinka

ISRAEL 0, CANADA 1
Venue: Canada Stadium, Ramat Hasharon, ISR (hard – outdoors)

Vasek Pospisil d Dudi Sela 7-6(4) 6-7(6) 6-1 6-7(2) 6-3
Amir Weintraub v Milos Raonic
Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram (ISR) v Daniel Nestor/Vasek Pospisil (CAN)
Dudi Sela (ISR) v Milos Raonic (CAN)
Amir Weintraub (ISR) v Vasek Pospisil (CAN)

ROMANIA 0, CZECH REPUBLIC 2
Venue: Centrul National De Tenis, Bucharest, ROU (clay – outdoors)

Radek Stepanek d Adrian Ungur 6-3 6-2 6-0
Tomas Berdych d Victor Crivoi 6-3 6-3 7-6(4)
Marius Copil/Horia Tecau v Jan Hajek/Lukas Rosol
Adrian Ungur v Tomas Berdych
Victor Crivoi v Radek Stepanek

RUSSIA 1, BRAZIL 1
Venue: Kazan Tennis Academy, Kazan, RUS (hard – indoors)

Mikhail Youzhny d Ricardo Mello 6-0 6-2 6-1
Thomaz Bellucci d Igor Andreev 6-4 6-3 6-3
Igor Kunitsyn/Dmitry Tursunov v Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares
Mikhail Youzhny v Thomaz Bellucci
Igor Andreev v Ricardo Mello

SOUTH AFRICA 1, CROATIA 1
Venue: Fanie Du Toit Sports Stadium, Potchefstroom, RSA (hard – outdoors)

Kevin Anderson d Ivan Dodig 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-6(5)
Marin Cilic d Izak van der Merwe 6-0 6-0 ret. (wrist)
Kevin Anderson/Rik de Voest v Nikola Mektic/Antonio Veic
Kevin Anderson v Marin Cilic
Izak van der Merwe v Ivan Dodig

CHILE v ITALY
Venue: Estadio Nacional, Santiago, CHI (hard – outdoors)

Paul Capdeville v Potito Starace
Fernando Gonzalez v Fabio Fognini
Jorge Aguilar/Nicolas Massu v Simone Bolelli/Daniele Bracciali
Paul Capdeville v Fabio Fognini
Fernando Gonzalez v Potito Starace

JAPAN 2, INDIA 0
Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, JPN (hard – outdoors)

Yuichi Sugita d Somdev Devvarman 6-3 6-4 7-5
Kei Nishikori d Rohan Bopanna 6-3 6-2 6-2
Kei Nishikori/Go Soeda v Rohan Bopanna/Vishnu Vardhan
Kei Nishikori v Somdev Devvarman
Yuichi Sugita v Rohan Bopanna

BELGIUM 0, AUSTRIA 1
Venue: Lotto Arena, Antwerp, BEL (hard – indoors)

Andreas Haider-Maurer d Xavier Malisse 6-4 6-4 7-5
Steve Darcis v Jurgen Melzer
Ruben Bemelmans/Olivier Rochus v Oliver Marach/Alexander Peya
Xavier Malisse v Jurgen Melzer
Steve Darcis v Andreas Haider-Maurer

For more updates please follow us on Twitter @TennisOnTennis

 

 

Switzerland vs Australia World Group Qualifying Playoff

Swiss Davis Cup Team Arrives in Sydney

New Australian No.1 Bernard Tomic opens against Swiss No.2 Stan Wawrinka in the Davis Cup World Group playoff on Friday, while former No.1 Lleyton Hewitt and Current No. 3 Roger Federer resume their Davis Cup rivalry in a the widely anticipated second rubber.

In their last Davis Cup encounter, the 2003 semifinal at Melbourne Park, the two played in what would turn out to be one of the classic matches of the competition. Hewitt roared back to win from two sets and a service break down – a loss that Federer has said cut deeper than his weekend loss to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the US Open.

In four previous Davis Cup meetings, the Swiss have never beaten Australia. But their pairing of Federer and Wawrinka, ranked No.3 and No.19, and the reigning Olympic gold medalists in doubles, have the Swiss coming in as favorites. Switzerland has never before played a Davis Cup on grass.

Ranked no. 59 in the world, Tomic will like his chances against Wawrinka who comes into the tie nursing a foot injury and with less than stellar record on grass. Tomic enjoyed his career breakthrough at Wimbledon, where he went from qualifier to quarter-finalist. The Australians are banking on Tomic to defeat Wawrinka in their match, for them to have a chance against the favored Swiss.

Six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer has a 17-8 record against Hewitt, but Hewitt did enjoy a rare win in their last match on grass, at Halle in 2010.

Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

Rubber 1

No. 59 Bernard Tomic will take on No. 19 Stanislas Wawrinka in the first rubber.

Tomic has won a lot at the challenger level and managed to qualify at Wimbledon, where he made it to the quarterfinals, losing to Novak Djokovic.

Wawrinka has had a relatively consistent year so far. He started off with a title in Chennai and then followed with a quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open.

Both players have never met before.

Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

Rubber 2

No. 3 Roger Federer will take on No. 199 Lleyton Hewitt in the second rubber.

Federer did not play in 2010 Davis Cup playoffs, when Kazakhstan defeated Switzerland. However, with a 5-0 win over Portugal in July this year, the Swiss have returned to the World Group playoffs.

When asked about his preparation following his run at the US Open Federer said, “I’m not sore – sorry to disappoint you. I’m feeling good, really good actually.” He further added, “Usually we never have that much time to get used to the grass anyway, that’s how we have to deal with it every year for the grass season.”

On the other hand,  Hewitt said, “It’s been what I’ve been working towards in terms of getting my game up to scratch and my body as close to 100 percent right to take on one of the greats.” He further added that “It’s going to be a tough match — hopefully Bernie (Tomic) can get us off to a good start against Stan on the grass tomorrow and then I can go out there and take Roger on.”

Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt will be taking on each other for the 26th time. In head-to-head, Federer leads 17-8, including 3-2 on grass.

The winner of the tie advances to the Davis Cup World Group for 2012 while the loser will be relegated to zonal qualifiers for a chance to enter the elite competition again in  2013.

For more updates please follow us on Twitter @TennisOnTennis

 

Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

SYDNEY (AP) – Switzerland’s team manager confirmed that No. 3-ranked Roger Federer will arrive in Australia on Wednesday for the Davis Cup tennis tie against Australia starting Friday.

Daniel Monnin was reluctant to talk about Federer at the Switzerland team’s news conference Tuesday, but said he would be in Sydney for the World Group playoff.

Federer will have little time to recuperate from his five-set loss to Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open semifinals.

Australia team member and former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt said a short preparation time won’t hinder Federer.

“For a freak like Roger, it doesn’t matter,” Hewitt said. “I haven’t seen a lot that Roger hasn’t been able to do, so he’s as close to Superman as it comes.”

Federer came under fire from Swiss fans when he skipped last year’s Davis Cup loss to Kazakhstan citing travel weariness after the U.S. Open.

Switzerland’s No. 2 Stanislas Wawrinka, who lost in the second round at Flushing Meadows, said he has a leg injury but was hopeful of being fit to play.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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