Wawrinka praised as key to Switzerland's victory
AFP/The Local · 23 Nov 2014, 22:13
Published: 23 Nov 2014 22:13 GMT+01:00
- Federer gives Swiss first Davis Cup tennis title (23 Nov 14)
- Win puts Swiss on verge of Davis Cup glory (23 Nov 14)
- Federer loss offsets Wawrinka's win in Lille (21 Nov 14)
- Federer confirmed for Davis Cup tennis finals (20 Nov 14)
Wawrinka did not even hit a shot on the last day, as France were vanquished in double-quick time by the Switzerland side in Lille.
"It's Stan who put us in this great position for Sunday," he said turning to his countryman and insisting "You did!" as Wawrinka shook his head.
The Australian Open champion, who has spent years playing in the giant shadow of the man many consider to be the greatest of all time, was the outstanding performer in Lille.
Firstly, he defeated French number one Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to set the tone of the final on Friday and then he was the inspiration as he and Federer won the doubles to move 2-1 up on Saturday.
All that was left was for Federer to defeat Richard Gasquet in the first of the reverse singles and that he did in three rapid sets setting off Swiss celebrations.
It was all a long way from a week before when the two Swiss stars argued near the end of a tough three-setter semi-final of the ATP Tour finals in London and Federer hurt his back in winning.
The French meanwhile had enjoyed a stress-free, two-week spell away from it all practicing on clay down in Bordeaux.
All was in place for France to win the Davis Cup for the 10th time, but with Federer in doubt, Wawrinka stepped up to the plate, saying that the French were all words.
"At the end what I meant was that they were talking too much about it, I mean, it was just my opinion," the Lausanne native said.
"Everyone does the way they want to do," he said.
"In the end we spoke with our racquets on the court."
Wawrinka said the result was due to the fact "we were better during this weekend".
He noted that many things were written in the media at the beginning of the week "about me and Roger, Roger's back".
But "we saw how fast things could turn around," he said.
"The French team said they were ready to go to war, if I can quote them," Wawrinka said.
"What happened was totally the opposite," he said.
"We just stayed calm and prepared well. We did our best on the court. We can be proud of that."
His words were echoed by Federer who said that the back injury that caused him to pull out of the Tour final in London last Sunday had left him doubting he could play in his first Davis Cup final.
"The body needs time to heal and recover," Federer said.
"So we gave that time to the body," he said.
"At the same time Monday, Tuesday, I didn't feel like I was going to play three days, no way.
"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."
The win was a huge personal milestone for Federer who, at 33, was running out time to win the Davis Cup and match great rivals such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as well as past greats Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Boris Becker and his current coach Stefan Edberg.
But having lost in three sets to Gael Monfils on Friday, he was at pains to emphasize the team aspect and play down the individual.
"I think it's an amazing day for sports in our country, in Switzerland," he said.
Federer noted that as smaller country, Switzerland doesn't win events every other week.
"So from that standpoint I think it's a big day," he said.
"I think we have a fantastic team spirit that also is something that maybe people see and appreciate."