Article: ‘Wounded’ Federer Wants Break From Tennis

http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/news/wounded-federer-wants-break-tennis-091918062.html

“I need a holiday badly,” Federer said after leading the Swiss to a Davis Cup play-off win over the Netherlands.
“I’m wounded, tired, and exhausted and need some time off right now and see where I go from here.
“Nothing has been decided for the rest of year, even though there is a plan in place, that plan might change. I need to go back to drawing board to see what’s important.”

First of all, let me say that Roger helped the Swiss Davis Cup team to win 3-2 against the Netherlands by winning both his singles matches against De Bakker and Haase respectively, both in straight sets. He did lose his doubles match with Wawrinka, however. I’m not even sure why he played doubles, as it would have tired him out even more. I’m glad that the Swiss won but let me say that I think playing Davis Cup was a big mistake. I even read somewhere that Roger said that Davis Cup doesn’t mean that much to him and that he just plays so that he can be with his Swiss teammates who are his friends(He really said this. I just can’t find the link).

This makes no sense at all. So he would rather spend time with his friends than end the year ranked #1? As you can see above he is exhausted. And the Roger we know cares more about personal achievement than winning for a team. Someone told me that if he doesn’t play Davis Cup he’s got the whole nation of Switzerland on his case. But so what? He knows he has meant more to Switzerland than any other person probably just by concentrating on his personal career. Why would he care what people say? By playing Davis Cup he has all but ruined his chances to end the year ranked #1.

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This is something I find hard to understand. He is exhausted and will surely skip Shanghai now. If he does not then he will have to skip Basel or Paris, which means he will not end the year ranked #1 and equal Sampras’ record. Shouldn’t this be a priority? This is one very important record that he has not equalled or broken yet. But not just that, if he would end the year on a high and go into 2013 as the #1 ranked player in the world! I really don’t understand this. This is so unlike him. Roger has always been someone who thinks long term and surely he wants to ‘win’ 2012 and thereby enter 2013 as the man to beat.

By playing Davis Cup Roger has seriously jeopardized his chances to do that. Djokovic has gained momentum since the US hard court season started and he will probably end the year ranked #1 now. Since Djokovic lost in the US Open final Roger still had the chance to be the best player of 2012 at age 31. Yes, Djokovic has the better record in slams, but he won the same amount of slams as Roger and Roger won the Olympic silver while Djokovic didn’t get a medal. If Roger won the Masters Cup and ended the year #1 he would surely have been the best player of 2012. He has to stay on top of his rivals.

By playing Davis Cup it seems to me he is giving his main rival right now a window of opportunity. Knowing Roger he will not jeopardize his health right now by playing the four events he has scheduled for the rest of 2012. So I just don’t understand his decision to play Davis Cup. What’s your thoughts on this matter? The floor is yours.

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30 Comments

  1. Hey Ruan. Long time, no see! I haven’t had any time to read some blogs lately, so I’m finally that I have finally gotten the chance to do so.

    I too was wondering was Roger was playing Davis Cup. I know it’s the one thing that’s always eluded him (a Davis Cup title) but I honestly don’t think putting his body through the stress is worth it. Without Roger, the Swiss team doesn’t have a chance. And clearly, when he loses a singles match, you already know that they’re out of the picture. And even though he won both of his singles matches in straight sets, this post just clearly tells us that he was not in the proper shape to be playing. For someone who usually keeps his body in the best shape more than any player, it’s pretty shocking that he would go to these lengths to keep the Swiss in the world group. I don’t know, in some way, it might be something that you just admire about Roger – how he always stays loyal to his team no matter how they play and etc.

    But another part of me feels that we shouldn’t over analyze the possibilities of the year. I think at this point he might not play Shanghai, but we don’t know for sure yet. Even if he doesn’t play, I don’t think he will be surpassed in the rankings just yet. Djokovic has some points to gain here, but he would just be regaining the points he lost from losing the US Open, and he would also have to face Murray at some point who is defending that title. The more important tournaments are Paris and Basel. He’s the defending champ of those two, and he needs to play some indoor tournaments regardless of the points to keep in shape for the WTF in early November.

    I think that Roger is too smart to let the number 1 ranking slip away so easily. Again, I don’t think we should get too greedy, like you like to say. He’s played a lot of matches this year, and look at what he’s accomplished. His overall results from last year to now have been crazy consistent and better than any other player on tour. He’s played great with confidence, and even after “WTF losses” (Miami, US Open, RG, Halle) he’s played just as great. I see him making a great run into 2013, he just needs to settle down, and I think he has enough time to do that without putting himself and his ranking in jeopardy.

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  2. What I don’t understand is the exos in South America. He can do that after he retires. Shouldn’t that be the time to rest and train?
    I also don’t understand why the WTF starts right after Paris. No recovery time for the players who go deep in Paris. It will put them at a disadvantage. Maybe Roger will decide to miss Paris.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes Sue I forgot to even bring this up. Don’t undestand these dumb exhos either. Like you said he can do that when he retires. Now he will be tired for the new year no matter what. All of this is too strange for me. I guess he stopped caring.

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    BA Reply:

    I stopped receiving your email updates for each post. How do I subscribe again?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t have a laptop right now so I can’t send them. You will have to wait till I get one to receive them again. Maybe by next weekend I’ll have one.

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  3. So what? Why can’t he just do as he pleases? If he wants to have some fun and giggling and waving flags with his buddies, why shouldn’t he? And then, if he feels tired and takes a break, even if this means he won’t defend his #1, why not? What is all this endless glory hunting about? Roger should just relax and enjoy and do whatever he wants with his career and his life. He could not win against Murray in the Olympics, he could not win against Berdych in the QF of the US Open, and there will be more and more such moments in which he is left clueless against younger opponents. So what?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Chris, for Roger it has always been about fulfilling his potential and being the best he can be. To say ‘So what?’ is unlike you and unlike him. If he wants to play for a long time still he has to stay on of the competition and playing DC and exhos in South America sure won’t help with that. He will now lose the year end #1 and go into 2013 tired and unprepared. Getting #1 back took a lot of hard work and he is now tossing it away like it means nothing. He will probably never equal that all important 6 year end #1’s by Sampras either. He could have gone into 2013 as the man to beat but that is highly unlikely now. Very unlike him.

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    Chris Reply:

    I just think, give the guy a break! He wins Wimbledon, and everybody goes on a hype like “oh woah, now I believe he can win a total of 20 GS!”. Then he loses to Berdych in a QF and makes some comments about needing a (well deserved!) break after a grueling season, and the hype starts again, only the other way round, like “oh it’s the end of Federer, he either wins the AO next year or he is done forever”. If “he never equals that all important 6 year end #1”, then what? So be it. I look at Federer, at everything he has achieved, at everything he stands for, at the place he occupies in history, and I am at peace! I hope he stays a bit longer for mutual enjoyment (he should enjoy what he is doing, we should enjoy what he is doing), like a sort of victory lap to smile and cheer for this All-Time Great. When he leaves the circuit, he will be missed dearly. So I rather celebrate him still a bit, and I refuse to get bitter and disappointed because his performance does not keep up with my expectations for more glory.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Point taken Chris.

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  4. Like last year,also after Davis Cup,he didn’t go to Shanghai because of some injuries and look what happens after those weeks. There is no other player who listen to his body so well like Roger. Second I only read it and we all know how media can misquote his words
    He will for sure plays in Basel his hometown.
    I also think that it isn’t just Davis Cup why he needs a break. He played far more than last year and won already 6 titles including 7th Wimbledon 17th Grand Slam and number 1 ranking so lets be happy for all those great matches we saw. Hope he will enjoy the time off with Mirka and there lovely twin daughters.

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  5. Totally agree with Chris.
    I think Federer will give up chasing #1 and will focus on giving himself a chance to play well in the WTF and that’s it. This way he will also be fresh when the next season begins. He had an amazing year.
    And anyway, if Djokovic plays Shanghai and Paris, the race is almost settled since he leads Federer by 1000 points at this point ( http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/YTD-Singles.aspx ). It will be very difficult to close the gap even if Federer wins the WTF wo losing a match (earning 1500 points).

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  6. Fed isn’t just tired because he played Davis Cup. It has been a very taxing year for him physically and emotionally, and he would be feeling this way even if he didn’t play DC. I think what he will do is miss Paris and play in Shanghai, because there is no week break between Paris and the WTF, and he will most definitely be there on Saturday or Sunday if he plays.
    I’m sure he’d love to keep the #1 but it is near impossible now with Djokovic having a big lead in the points race. No worries though, because he will be able to grab it right back at the start of the year if he wins Australia.

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  7. People are always sensationalizing Federer’s comments and trying to read all sorts of things into them that simply aren’t there.

    He said similar things last year after helping to beat Australia in Davis Cup–that he was tired, sore, and needed a break. He did so and then won every match during the fall season.

    He’ll go on holiday, think about what he needs to do, and then do it. It wouldn’t surprise me if he dominated the fall hard-court season again.

    Also, who says Djokovic is going to sweep the rest of the year? After his five-hour war with Murray at USO, he’s bound to be walking a little funny. Since he grinds so much, he’s expended a lot of energy this summer, and will have to expend more during the fall, even on indoor courts. For Federer, with his efficient all-court game and great serve, maintaining a high level of performance is much less draining.

    After his grueling marathon AO final, Djokovic had a bit of a letdown, losing to Murray and Isner at Dubai and IW. It’s very possible he will have a similar letdown after trying and failing to defend his title against Murray.

    It wasn’t much of a slip–he still made the semis–but given how close the race for #1 is, even a slight lapse could cost Djokovic dear.

    To me, if Djokovic were mentally sharp enough and hungry enough to regain the #1 ranking, he would have beaten Murray–he would have taken that first set (which he was a point away from doing) and that would have been the match. That he didn’t tells me all I need to know: that this year, in the crucial moments of the crucial matches, his focus is wavering, even when he is physically fine. He is losing winnable matches, which didn’t happen last year.

    Everyone else is saying that Djokovic has a chance to redeem himself this fall season. I think that the decisive moment has already come and gone; there’s little point in Djokovic closing the barn door now, the horse has long since run off the farm and is somewhere in the next county by now. Redemption for him isn’t an option, unless Federer makes a mistake of his own.

    But as long as Federer has a chance to take a holiday and refresh himself, he will be razor sharp and ready to fight for the top spot.

    Because he’s such a genial, kind sort of person, people often underestimate how hungry Federer is to be #1. He wants it all right, worked hard to get it, and now that he’s got it, he’s going to fight to keep it.

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  8. Fed has played 17 matches since Wimbledon (15 minus DC), Djokovic 23. I could definitely see him being a little off his game the rest of the year.

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  9. I too agree with What Chris is saying.

    I follow Fed regularly and love him for the way he play and carrying his career…

    I have all his updates on my phone via his Fan App “Roger Federer Fan App” by My App Makr

    I think you all must have that, it is available on all platforms.

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  10. Things are never as black as they seem and certainly not as black as they are presented by the media. I think Roger’s short “passage” in the chilly Holland (defending there his country in the Davis Cup) might have contributed to him wanting to spend some time in a lot warmer place and enjoy some sunny holydays somewhere on a sunny beach.

    Anyways, wherever he might be staying at the moment, I don’ t think he’s going stay there and certainly not to skipp the ATP Shangai.

    My thoughts are based on the following assumptions and facts:

    1. Roger doesn’t want to disappoint his many Chinese and other fans by withdrawing once more from the Shangai Masters without a serious reason to do so;
    2. Roger’s participation in Shanghai will make it more difficult for Novak Djokovic to collect many points in Shangai (and probably prevent Novak from from closing in on Roger in the ATP singles ranking);
    3. Roger Federer’s past results in Paris ( at the Masters) are – with the exception of his victory last year – rather moderate for his standards (with a semi-final in 2010, a quarterfinal in 2008, a 3rd round in 2007 and a 2nd round in 2009) and certainly not as good as his ATP Shangai result in 2010(s) (reaching the final in Shangai right away at his first participation there, albeit losing it to Andy Murray);
    4. After Shanghai Roger will be able to better factor in the different variables and make up his mind on whether he will or will not take an another short break by eventually passing up the ATP event in Paris.

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  11. Though nothing I love more for Roger to end the year at No 1# but hey let’s give him a break. Its a packed summer for a lot players too. I am just very grateful that I still get to watch him play tennis for a while longer. No doubt I always wan him to win but at this stage of his career, its just to whatch the sheer magic he brings on court. There is no one else like him ever.

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  12. Thanks for all your lovely posts, Ruan. Hope you are much settled by now. Are the Americans nice? The statement from Roger is coming from a man who is playing a more than normal schedule this year. So in this sense it’s nothing to worry about. Anyone would be exhausted playing as much as he did although not everyone was as verbal as Roger. However there is slight concern as Roger used an unusually strong word, “wounded”. My take is while he is exhausted from a busy schedule physically, he is more so mentally and emotionally. Remember he turned around tight matches, he fought, he won when he was sick, he won where he shouldn’t have, he grinded, he scrapped. Added to this, the loss to Birdshit really hurt him. I don’t know what happened to him at USO but he was really pissed he lost and even more pissed that it was Bird he lost to. Although he was very satisfied with no. 1 and wimby, he really really wanted USO. Silver at Olympics was fine becoz he felt for Andy and he felt he still won something. But USO must have stunk for him. So I guess saying he is wounded was said out of a bit of irritation and frustration plus obvious exhaustion. I would even say at the point when he said that, he must have even felt a bit burnt out which is very normal considering all the circumstances. He is human like all of us and have his moments of weakness. But he will be back refreshed. Like Wilfred, I feel the best way to hold on to no. 1 is do Shanghai, then Basel, skip Paris n finish off with WTF. That way is manageable I believe n would give him a really good position to end as no. 1. Having said all that and as I said before I have no more expectations from Roger and just want to enjoy his game, I would say that he missed a good chance this year at USO. He is the best wind player like Kyle said n I agree with Kyle that Roger probably would have won with the win against Djoko n Murray. If only the wind came one day earlier when he played Bird! I think Roger feels like I do too, that he really missed a great chance, hence the frustration. As for Davis Cup, I don’t know about you guys but to me, it is like a sore eye in tennis. I’m not saying its not a great idea. And the satisfaction n meaningfulness of playing for one’s country is unparallelled. But the tennis calendar is overpacked, where in the hell does Davis cup fit in?!! If the calendar is not half as packed, I agree, put Davis Cup in. Also tennis is an individual sport,much as ppl would like it to be more team spirited, it is hard to make it happen. And if they insist to keep it, why not change to best of 3?!! I just can’t understand why players n commentators complain about the exhausting tennis calendar but not one have the sense to suggest cutting Davis Cup to best of 3!! You would think it makes so much sense, doesnt it? Anyway, about Roger playing Davis, what can he do? I’m sure he feels some obligation and “responsibility” to his country, to his team. He can’t commit, yet he doesn’t have the heart to always let the team down by not playing. As long as Roger is still playing, Davis Cup will always be a challenging decision for him (a pain in the neck even!). I just find Davis Cup very contradictory to tennis as tennis is such an individual sport. It’s either all team or all individual. You can’t always have it all or something will give.

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    Chris Reply:

    I understand your arguments about Davis Cup, but is it not too much just the perspective of the Top 5 players you represent? I made previously a comment saying that for Berdych his whole career lives from upsets, beating Roger Federer at the US Open is his achievement! Most players are not able to collect title after title, they collect the names of great players they were able to beat on a given day. So I wonder if from the perspective of these lesser players (I’m talking Top 100), Davis Cup has not a much greater value. Also their schedule is not so packed if they go out after 2 or 3 matches at every tournament. And for Federer, Davis Cup is especially frustrating, because he can’t win it, he plays with much lesser players against ‘boring’ opponents. It would be difficult if there were 4 Top 20 players from Switzerland and he could compete for the title, going against Spain in the final for example. But the way it is, it is a pure waste of time for Federer from his individualistic career point of view. He does it for his buddies and for representing Switzerland. Maybe he shouldn’t, but it makes him such a nice guy that from time to time he cares about his mates and his country! I love him for being so down to earth, so normal, so close to the people. If he won more titles but became a cocky, selfish narcissist in the process, I would not be his fan I guess.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    I second your opinion, Chris, although I loved Veronica’s comment. It’s not only the records that may count in the case of a top player like Roger Federer. I think Roger’s participation in the Davis Cup does represent less risks and sacrifices for Roger than it sometimes does for lower ranked players (for instance for a player like Kevin Anderson, a compratiot of Ruan, who doens’t have a physio travelling with him).

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    Veronica Reply:

    You’ve got good point there, Chris. Still, how meaningful can Davis Cup be without the top players participating? Parties who have vested interests in Davis Cup try very hard to boost Davis Cup and emphasise its relevance. Ideally it is a great idea – give an individualistic game a team flavour, a time to not only think of/work for oneself but for others and for one’s own country. And who doesn’t like team sports? There’s nothing quite like cheering for your country rather than just one player. And maybe Davis Cup has some historical significance, I don’t know. But realistically, how well has it worked taking all things into consideration? I wouldn’t say abandon Davis Cup but make some changes to it; for example, maybe best of 3 instead of best of 5 and maybe even play it once every two years instead of every year which may actually give it a more prestigious feel, etc. As how things are, Davis Cup is like trying to find a space in a sardine packed tennis calendar.

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    Chris Reply:

    Veronica, Wilfried, Kyle, Steve, TD, you just all figured me out. I AM A SOUR GRAPE BECAUSE WE SWISS HAVE NOT WON A DAVIS CUP YET! :-) And these Spaniards are piling them up. I would love for Federer to achieve this with his buddies. But I would also have loved for him to bring a gold metal home. Was not meant to be. I don’t really care about the Davis Cup, actually I fully understand the frustration with this not very useful additional workload for the players. I just try, from time to time, to realize that Federer is the special case, and that there are many other, more ‘normal’ players, that make the same efforts and sacrifices like RF does, but never get to harvest anything close to the fame, riches and VIP status that the top guns get. Let’s be honest, who of you knows, without looking, who is the number 48 of the ATP list? Who is number 21? Who is number 17? Who is number 13? Let’s just realize it, you are either in the Top 10, or you are basically a nobody! That is how cruel this sport is! Federer has set the bars way too high, Nadal had to break both his knees trying to catch up with him. I’m just proud on my Hero, such a cool dude, and when I hear him talking, he seems to be so…. normal, just like the friendly guy from my neighborhood.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Lol! Chris, rest assured, you won’t be the only sour grape here! We are such a great family here, no? – Sour grapes, bitter oranges, rotten apples, lol! Yes, yes and yes, the “problem” is Roger set the bar too high. Nadal breaking an arm and a leg and taking four years to chase Roger says it all. The top players are pushed to become what they are today – unbeatable…… because of one Roger Federer. Tennis is in this golden era……. because of Roger Federer. You are nothing if you are not top10/5………. because of Roger Federer.
    Tennis is such a respected game and gained much global recognition and popularity ……..
    because of Roger Federer, etc,etc,etc…..Yawn! Give Roger Federer the “most amazing sports figure who ever lived, past, present or future” award already!! I shudder to think what the future of tennis or even the sports world would be when this God of tennis leaves. And I’m not saying this because I’m a fan. Whoever can’t see what Roger has done and continues to do is certainly blind. But at the same time, I also shudder to think about the consequences and the prices that had to be paid for such out of this world excellence for Roger, for other players and for the tennis world.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Veronica yes the Americans are fine. Nice to see you around still.

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  13. If the Czechs can make the DC final with basically relying on Berdych and Stepanek, then I’m sure the Swiss could do the same with Federer and Wawrinka. It would be very, very difficult but not impossible if the stars line up.
    I do think the loss to Berdych really stung because he wanted the USO badly. I’m sure he will put all his efforts next year to prepare himself to win it – after all, he hasn’t won it since 2008, his longest Slam draught.

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  14. The Czechs reached the DC final this year riding on a wonderful performance by Berdych (with 5-0 in singles and 3-0 in doubles), but we have to mention that for the complicated tie against Serbia (without Djokovic) he came after losing miserably in Indian Wells and Miami so he was fresh. Stepanek didn’t perform well in the singles matches (one win out of 3 matches) but was a good doubles partner to Berdych (Stepanek is currently ranked #9 in the ATP doubles ranking). They also had some luck with Djokovic and Del-Potro being absent.
    Bottom line – The Swiss can make it too but they have to be committed and they have to perform better in the doubles matches. It can happen next year if somehow they pass the Czechs in the 1st round (right after AO!), then they’ll play Austria/Kazakhstan to get to the semis ( http://www.daviscup.com/media/130091/130091.pdf ). They can have a nice run.

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  15. The problem with the Swiss Davis Cup team is that they don’t have a deep bench. Basically, if Federer doesn’t play a tie, they lose. The last time they won a tie without him was 2008.

    So the burden is always on him, and he can’t skip a tie without seriously compromising their chances of winning. They don’t have anyone to relieve him, so he almost always feels obligated to play.

    Wawrinka gives his all, but he can’t lead them to victory in Federer’s absence.

    A team with three or four good players is better off than a team consisting of undistinguished players and one superstar.

    Truth is, most Davis Cup teams just aren’t that good, With the exception of a handful of nations who have top players–Spain, Serbia, Argentina, America–most Davis Cup teams consist of lower-ranked journeymen that no one has ever heard of.

    All respect to the Dutch team, but you really don’t need to bring out Roger Federer to handle the likes of De Bakker or Haase. A David Ferrer or a Janko Tipsarevic would do the job handily. Having Federer always mop up a bunch of lesser players is overkill to the nth degree.

    If the Swiss had just one more man who was on par with Wawrinka, they could pair him with Wawrinka and let Federer sit out a couple of the easier ties so he could have a breather. Then they could bring in Federer when they needed to be sure of victory.

    And when Federer did play, he wouldn’t always have to play two singles rubbers plus the doubles. They would have more options, so they could rotate him in only for those matches where he would be most effective, and rotate him out when they didn’t need him.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Exactly, Steve. The Swiss just do not have another player to back up Wawrinka. Like u, I felt sometimes they didn’t have to play Federer with lesser opponents. Overkill, as u say. Yet this is the reality with most nations. Seems most of u, at least those who have commented, are in favor of Davis Cup. For me, it’s almost like an afterthought despite valiant efforts n maybe some classic matches. It asks too much of a professional player time wise, as well as physically, financially, emotionally no matter how u look at it. Anyway, whatever, I think maybe it’s time for some changes to Davis Cup to make it more “relevant” and maybe more manageable. I don’t know. Seems more like a burden sometimes.

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  16. The US isn’t even that strong a DC nation anymore with only having Isner, Querrey, Harrison, and Fish. They have the Bryans who are always sure to grab the doubles match but if Isner, Querrey, and Fish go up against the right opponent, they could lose. It took great play from Isner to get by France.

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