Federer to face Hewitt in Davis Cup clash
SYDNEY – Roger Federer will face Lleyton Hewitt while Stanislas Wawrinka takes on Bernard Tomic on the opening day of the Davis Cup World Group play-off between Switzerland and Australia on Friday.
The draw pits Australia’s Tomic against Wawrinka in the opening match on grass courts at the Royal Sydney Golf Club, with Federer and home hope Hewitt to follow.
Despite a gruelling five-set US Open semi-final loss to eventual champion Novak Djokovic on Sunday and a long flight to Sydney, Federer was also named to play doubles.
The world number three will pair with close friend Wawrinka to face Hewitt and Chris Guccione on Saturday as the Swiss attempt to reverse losses in their four previous Davis Cup meetings against Australia.
Swiss captain Severin Luthi backed star man Federer to cope with the short preparation time.
“He’s a great champion, we know that, and for sure it’s always better if you have more days, but I’m sure that he can handle this and be ready on Friday,” Luthi told reporters.
Federer missed Switzerland’s defeat to Kazakhstan in 2010 which spelled relegation, but a 5-0 victory over Portugal in July put them back into the play-offs.
Australian captain Pat Rafter said the choice of grass was more about Wawrinka than anything else, with the Swiss having a 9-13 career record on the surface.
“We have to look at what’s our best chance of winning this Davis Cup tie and obviously playing Federer on any surface is not great,” Rafter said.
“So we look at what is Wawrinka’s worst surface and he does not like grass. If we’ve got any chance of beating these guys, we have to take down Wawrinka.”