Roger Federer will contest the second match of the Davis Cup final starting Nov. 21 in Lille, France. The Swiss will play world No.19 Gael Monfils on the indoor clay surface at the 27,000 seat Pierre Mouray Stadium.
Federer leads Monfils 8-2 in their head to head. They have played four times on clay, and the world No.2 has won each time. Three of those four matches have come in a best of five format at Roland Garros (2008, 2009, 2011) and Federer only dropped one set in those contests. Two of those matches came in the quarters and one in the semis so the 2009 Roland Garros champion is well rehearsed at facing Monfils in big matches in front of his home crowd.
The last time the two met was at the U.S Open back in September this year. That match went to five sets with Federer coming back from two sets to love down.
Federer’s participation in the final was confirmed when the draw was made for the final this afternoon. After pulling out of last Sunday’s ATP World Tour Finals championship match against Novak Djokovic with a back injury sustained after his come from behind win against Wawrinka, the Swiss’ chances of competing for the one trophy missing from his cabinet looked to be in doubt. However the Swiss was able to practice and it has been reported he is able to play.
Federer’s participation in the final was battling for tennis headlines with the controversy over an incident between his wife Mirka, a former WTA player, and Wawrinka, during the tightly contested ATP World Tour semi-final. Video footage showed Wawrinka complaining to the umpire that Mrs. Federer was heckling him between serves. It is alleged that she then called Wawrinka a “cry-baby.”
Neither Wawrinka or Federer were keen to make anything more out of the incident. Both men put up a united front, posing happily for photos, and brushing off the incident as part of such a tough contest and nothing more.
If the two can both win their opening matches (Wawrinka will face Tsonga), and then the Swiss lose the doubles matches, as expected, Federer could go into the first match on day 3 with the Davis Cup 2-1 in the Swiss’ favor, and the trophy on his racket. He would be scheduled to face off against Tsonga, the French No.1 , against whom he leads 11-5 in their head to head. Of those 16 matches, three have been played on clay, and the 17 time slam champion leads that head to head 2-1. However, Tsonga won the most important of those matches, the 2013 encounter in the last eight of Roland Garros, and in straight sets. Tsonga also won their last match in the Toronto final against an in form Federer, and if Tsonga turns up feeling inspired by the crowd, and reasonably rested after having not played since October, the Davis cup final debutante could find his dreams of a first Davis Cup title hard to realize.
If Federer wins the Davis Cup, it will be another big trophy to add to his seventeen grand slams, six ATP World Tour Championships, Olympic Gold and Silver Medal and 23 ATP 1000 Masters titles.
Commentary by Christian Deverille
Photo courtesy of Marianne Bevis- License