ATP Tour

Federer sets sights on India

Roger Federer (AFP)
Roger Federer (AFP)

Zurich - Roger Federer has only days to finish up final healing on a back problem after clinching a first Davis Cup title for Switzerland.

The world number two will fly out next week to India to play a handful of matches in the new International Professional Tennis League, a 10-day, four-city "league" designed to bring tennis to eager Asian audiences.

The Swiss is due to head immediately for his base in Dubai and be within striking distance of India, where he will play in ties for the Indian Acres squad on a lightning visit to the subcontinent.

Federer's straight-set reverse singles win on Sunday in Lille, northern France, over Richard Gasquet gave the Swiss a 3-1 win over France and wrote another page in the Federer legend.

The 33-year-old didn't discuss finer points of his miracle recovery from back pain which a week ago forced him to forfeit the London year-end final to Novak Djokovic.

But he did reveal some detail:

"We spoke a lot, talked a lot about what are the possibilities, how I was going to feel best quickly without forgetting that I have a life, I still have a career to play next year.

"The body needs time to heal and recover, so we gave that time to the body," said a player whose career fitness problems have been minimal. "Last Monday, Tuesday, I didn't feel like I was going to play three days (in the Davis final with France), no way."

But the situation changed after Federer was beaten in opening singles on Friday by Gael Monfils but left the court feeling well.

"After Friday I thought there was a chance, for sure, that's when I felt most confident. But up until the match, I didn't think that three days was actually possible, to be quite honest."

He ended up playing in three straight rubbers in as many days.

Federer compared the joy of winning the Davis Cup to that he experienced in 2008 when he and team-mate Stan Wawrinka won the Beijing Olympic gold medal.

"It's been a great few years we've had together (with Stan). As well as the rest of the team, this is something for us to share, like the Olympic gold, other great moments we had in our career. This is obviously one of them."

Federer described his feeling as "unbelievably happy. It's an amazing feeling to be celebrating with my friends. Just a great match, great atmosphere. It was a beautiful weekend for tennis.

"I had a blast playing it, I thought it was a privilege. I mean that. I can't thank Stan enough for the effort he's put in this weekend to build me back up. Same for (captain) Severin (Luthi). They were just keeping me alive really."

Australian Open winner Wawrinka echoed Federer's joyous sentiments.

"Clearly it is an exceptional year for me, I've been dreaming of this Davis Cup for years," said the ATP number four, a Davis stalwart over the years while Federer's presences have been intermittent.

"I've been trying everything I can to win this competition. With Severin, with Roger, Mishi (Michael Lammer) and Marco (Chiudinelli), all the staff, we had many experiences together during the past years.

"This was maybe the ideal year, it started off very well in Serbia. It ends up perfectly well here in France.

"We are happy. We made many sacrifices during the years to be able to win it. We did it now. We are very happy."

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