Clouds over Switzerland’s Davis Cup win
After 85 years of trying, the Swiss have finally succeeded in winning the coveted Davis Cup and it is fitting they have done so with the greatest player they (and most possibly the world) has ever had. Roger Federer destroyed Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in less than 2 hours obtaining the vital third point, which made the final match for Wawrinka unnecessary. Federer has now won everything that there is to win as a tennis player, but he was quick to dedicate the victory to his Swiss teammates, declaring; “I’m happy I was able to stay calm; this one was for the boys.” A telling image was his hug with Stanilas Wawrinka, team captain Severin Lüthi, and the squad members who were not needed, Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer.
Last week, video had emerged that shows Roger Federer’s wife Mirka call Stan Wawrinka a “cry baby” during their tense ATP Tour Finals semi-final. The video was subsequently blocked by ATPMedia on copyright grounds, but this very much seemed liked an attempt at a cover-up for the best interest of the game of tennis: the image of Federer behaving as a true gentleman at all times, is as important to the game as it is for the player itself.
The exchange happened during the 11th game of the final set, shortly after Wawrinka had blown three match points. Wawrinka had turned to umpire Cedric Mourier and said: “Not just before the serve, not just before the serve”.
The 29-year-old had become agitated by Mirka’s habit of shouting encouragement to Roger between serves, in what is a breach of etiquette.
After the word “cry baby” can be heard, Wawrinka turned to Federer, clearly angered, and asked “What did she say?” as the crowd jeered.
The rumours that she had done the same thing during their quarter-final match in Wimbledon earlier this year opens a real scenario of unsportsmanlike behaviour, which contrast with the gentleman image that has long been portrayed.
When the match had finished with a Federer win, a still-angry Wawrinka began to argue with his fellow Swiss in the tunnel, with the pair needing to be taken into a makeshift gym to settle their differences.
The bitterness between the pair, evident in London, seemed to be a distant memory on Sunday, as the celebrated their achievement: “It’s been a long week, but it has been one of the best weeks we’ve had as a team. We really had a good time together.” Federer said after his match. His attempt to bridge the rift between himself and Wawrinka continued: “Stan has put in so much effort over the years. He played an unbelievable weekend and that is what gave me the opportunity today.” Wawrinka, who earned his team 2 points, winning against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and the doubles match with Federer, (Roger had lost his first singles match against Gaël Monfils) declared: “It’s an amazing feeling, the best.”
Federer’s win comes just a week after he pulled out of the Tour Finals title match against Novack Djokivic at the O2 in London to protect a back injury which didn’t seem to impede him in any way against Gasquet. Federer dropped only four points on his imperious serve in the opening set, he didn’t concede a single break point in the second, and broke the Frenchman twice in the final set. Serving for the match, Federer clinched victory with a deft backhand drop shot, before collapsing in tears onto the clay at the Stade Pierre-Mauroyto, acting, well, a bit like a cry baby!