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Federer and Wawrinka play to partisan fans

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Federer and Wawrinka play to partisan fans
Photo: AFP/File
21:38 CEST+02:00
Home favorites Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka are set to share the spotlight at The Swiss Indoors tennis tournament starting on Monday in Basel.

Home favorites Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka are set to share the spotlight at The Swiss Indoors tennis tournament starting on Monday in Basel.

Federer, a Basel native who once served as a ball boy at the event, has won the title five times and is eager, after a disastrous season, to secure points to qualify for the eight-man World Tour Finals in London next month.

The 17-time Grand Slam winner crashed out of the Shanghai Open 10 days ago, losing in an early round to world number 42 Gael Montfils after suffering a fourth round loss at the US Open and a second-round exit from Wimbledon.

A few days later, seventh ranked Federer, 32, announced he was parting company with coach Paul Annacone in a bid to pull his season out of a tailspin.

Meanwhile, fellow countryman Wawrinka, ranked ninth, is having the best season of his career.

The 28-year-old Lausanne native advanced further than Federer in a Grand Slam for the first time this year when he reached the semifinals of the US Open, where he narrowly lost to Novak Djokovic (now ranked number two).

Both Swiss players will be benefit from the last-minute decision of world number one player Rafael Nadal to withdraw from the Swiss Indoors tournament.

He announced his intentions on his Internet page, citing his tiring schedule in recent weeks as the reason.

"Hi all, sorry to announce that I won't travel to Basel in Switzerland but after very exhausting weeks I have to regroup my fitness and my body," he wrote on his Facebook page.

"I will do my best to come back to the Swiss Indoors next year."

Organizers were unable to convince Djokovic to participate, leaving Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro as the top seed for the Basel tourney, followed by the Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych.

Federer, seeded third, first takes on Adrian Mannarino of France, a player he beat in the US Open, while fourth-seeded Wawrinka plays Edouard Roger-Vasselin, also from France.

In a press conference on Sunday in Basel, Federer acknowledged that he had had a bad year but “I am more confident for the end of the season”. 

 He said he planned to be playing for some time.

"As long as my body and mind is ready to go to travel, I'm happy to be doing what I'm doing," he said.

"That hasn't changed due to a tough six months," Federer said.

He added that playing in the Rio Olympics is "something I'd like to achieve".

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