Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 24th 2014 Contents A57
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LILLE---Roger Federer has now
claimed all the big prizes on offer in
tennis and, for once, will be happy to
share his latest trophy with others.
Federer ended a week of uncertainty
about his aging back with a vintage
performance to give Switzerland an
emphatic victory over France and its
maiden Davis Cup.
His 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over
Richard Gasquet in the first reverse sin-
gles yesterday sealed an unassailable
3-1 lead. That also proved to be the
final result as the dead rubber between
Gael Monfils and Stan Wawrinka wasn t
It took 15 years for the former top-
ranked Federer to achieve Davis Cup
success after making his debut in the
event in 1999. No wonder he looked
so emotional after converting his first
match point, falling to his knees and
lying face down on the court before
hugging team captain Severin Luthi and
"At the end, it s a tennis match, you
feel great emotions. You re unbelievably
happy and relieved," said a joyful Fed-
erer. "We wanted this clearly very badly,
especially being up 2-1. You inch your-
self closer and closer. Clearly seeing
Stan out there, the rest of the team
supporting you, gives you an extra push.
It was definitely one of the better feel-
ings in my career, no doubt about it.
So much nicer to celebrate it all togeth-
er."After pulling out of the final of the
ATP World Tour Finals in London last
Sunday, Federer s participation against
the French looked in doubt. He hit a
ball for the first time on the indoor clay
court on Wednesday evening and was
a shadow of his former self when he
was thrashed by Monfils in Friday s
His form rapidly improved, though,
and he was back to his best during Sat-
urday s doubles win with Wawrinka
that gave the Swiss a 2-1 lead.
Federer, who adopted a low profile
all week, was full of praise for Wawrin-
ka.His teammate stepped out of Fed-
erer s formidable shadow earlier this
year with victory at the Australian Open.
He has also been a dedicated Davis Cup
player in recent years, while Federer
often focused on his personal career.
In 2013, Wawrinka led Switzerland
to victory in a World Group play-off
in the absence of Federer, giving his
country a shot at the trophy this year.
He also won Switzerland s first point
this weekend by beating Jo-Wilfried
"Stan has put in so much effort over
the years and played an unbelievable
weekend that gave me the opportunity
today," said Federer.
"I m very much aware of that, this
one is for the boys. It s not for me. I ve
won enough in my career and did not
need to tick any empty boxes. I m just
happy for everybody else. I m happy
we could live a great tennis historic
moment in our country."
Federer, who spent 302 weeks at the
top of the game, shed a few tears before
receiving his trophy and enjoying a lap
of honor with his teammates. But emo-
tions were not as strong as they were
when he won his first Grand Slam title
in Wimbledon in 2003.
"You can t compare. When I won
Wimbledon, it was a total shock hon-
estly," he said. "Davis Cup is something
that I knew was possible at some stage
in my career.
"Of course, there was the pressure
of being able to manage all this and
make everyone happy with all the sup-
port we had for the team and every-
thing. So it is a totally different feeling.
Also I was not alone on the court. This
A favorite of the fans at the French
Open, Federer was treated to a hostile
reception as he entered the clay court
in the converted Pierre Mauroy football
stadium on Sunday.
He was booed during his warm-up
and large sections of the 27,448 spec-
tators applauded his rare mistakes.
It did not prevent him from taking
control right from the start. The Swiss
hit an ace that traveled at 210 kph (130
mph) to win his first service game and
never looked back.
Moving well and varying his back-
hand shots, Federer gave a tennis mas-
terclass. Gasquet was overwhelmed in
the rallies and struggled to read his
opponent s serve throughout.
"He was not unbeatable today, but
he only made a few mistakes," said Gas-
quet, who replaced the injured Tsonga.
"It s a shame I could not get any break
Federer broke in the third game after
hitting a subtle forehand half-volley
and a stunning forehand passing shot,
letting out a resounding "Come On!"
He kept piling the pressure on his
French rival with aggressive returns and
closed out the set by holding at love,
having lost just four points on his serve
in the whole set.
Gasquet was made to pay for his
mistakes at the start of the second set
and handed another break to Federer
when he netted a backhand in the net.
The Frenchman gave an incredulous
look when Federer hit a superb back-
hand return to reach 0-30 on Gasquet s
serve in the seventh game before earning
three break points with a stunning fore-
hand. Gasquet saved the first, but went
long on the second.
The 26th-ranked Frenchman fought
hard at the start of the third set and
came more often to the net, only to be
destroyed by Federer s pinpoint passing
Gasquet finally dropped his serve for
the fourth time in the fifth game, sur-
rendering on his backhand after a base-
line rally before Federer broke again for
a 5-2 lead. Federer then held at love,
sealing victory with a drop shot that
Gasquet did not chase.
Federer adds Davis
Cup to prize list
Roger Federer falls to
the clay after defeating
Gasquet and winning
the Davis Cup final
between France and
Switzerland at Stade
Pierre Mauroy in Lille,
yesterday. AP PHOTO
"I've won enough in my career
and did not need to tick any
empty boxes. I'm happy we could
live a great tennis historic
moment in our country."
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