09
Feb
12

US Davis Cup team are definite underdogs against Switzerland on clay.

For the first time in eight years, Roger Federer has made himself available for the first round. The 16-time Grand Slam champion leads a Swiss team on indoor clay here in Fribourg, about 20 minutes by train from the Swiss capital, Bern, against an American team missing the injured Andy Roddick. Federer’s presence, alongside that of his Olympic gold medal doubles partner Stanislas Wawrinka, makes Switzerland one of the leading nations in this year’s competition – always presuming Federer plays beyond this weekend. “It’s just another tie for me,” he said, “it doesn’t matter when and where it is, it’s all a matter of priorities. My team is a group of great friends, that’s what I enjoy about it, that I can spend some time with them, and hopefully try to win but if we don’t it doesn’t matter. It’s about trying your best and having a good time.” If nothing else, his approach helps keep the focus on this weekend, in which he and Wawrinka are nominated to play on all three days.

Realistically, for the US to win, Fish has to beat Wawrinka in the opening match. There is also a belief that Ryan Harrison’s nomination alongside Mike Bryan is a ploy to keep the Swiss guessing, and even the American captain Jim Courier says the length of matches Fish and Isner play on the opening day will influence his ultimate choice of doubles pair. That suggests Fish could well team up with Mike Bryan, the way he did in September 2008 when the two Americans beat Spain’s Lopez/Verdasco on the clay of Madrid. Any suggestion it might be asking too much of Fish to play on all three days is refuted by his performance in September 2010, when he played two singles five-setters and a four-set doubles on the clay of Bogota to help the USA beat Colombia. With Federer playing, the visitors are clearly the underdogs, but there is a good spirit in the American team. And Fish makes an interesting point: “We like our chances here. We have the most uncomfortable player on our team in Isner, and I’m certainly glad I’m not playing him.”

Friday

R1: Wawrinka (SUI) v Fish (USA)

R2: Federer (SUI) v Isner (USA)

Saturday

R3: Federer / Wawrinka (SUI) v M. Bryan / Harrison (USA)

Sunday

R4: Federer (SUI) v Fish (USA)

R5: Wawrinka (SUI) v Isner (USA)

 

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