Federer says Swiss ready to make history

Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:51pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Roger Federer will lead Switzerland in their Davis Cup semi-final against Italy on Friday determined to banish the memory of one of the biggest disappointments of his illustrious career.

The 17-times grand slam champion, who will open proceedings in the 18,000-seat Geneva Palexpo exhibition center against Simone Bolelli on Friday, was in the Swiss side 11 years ago that fell to Australia in the semis.

Then he surrendered a two-set 5-3 lead against Australia's Lleyton Hewitt in Melbourne, leaving the court close to tears after a loss which proved fatal to their chances.

Switzerland have never won the Davis Cup, one of the few significant honors missing from 33-year-old Federer's trophy cabinet.

With Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka also in the Swiss team, he may never have a better chance.

"As a team, we haven't had much success over the past 50 years, so people in Switzerland still talk about 20 years ago when we made the finals," world number three Federer said after Thursday's draw.

"Hopefully they'll talk about this tie in 20 years, that would be wonderful – this is the dream for us, the players."

Victory over 76th-ranked Bolelli would give the Swiss the perfect lift-off before Wawrinka takes on the mercurial Fabio Fognini - the unpredictable Italian Number one who produced a stunning defeat of Britain's Andy Murray in the quarter-final.

"The season that Stan and me have had, I think we are ready for the big occasion," Federer, who made his Davis Cup debut against Italy in 1999, said in an interview on the ITF's website.   Continued...

Switzerland's Davis Cup team player Roger Federer (R) smiles next to Stanislas Wawrinka during the draw ceremony at the Victoria Hall in Geneva September 11, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse