French mood slumps after doubles defeat

Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:45pm EST
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By Julien Pretot

LILLE France (Reuters) - France spirits soared when Gael Monfils beat Roger Federer to keep them on track for a 10th Davis Cup title but the mood changed dramatically after Saturday's defeat in the doubles.

Les Bleus, chasing a first title since 2001, are now 2-1 down against Switzerland after Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau lost 6-3 7-5 6-4 to Federer and Stan Wawrinka.

To add to their problems they have doubts about Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's fitness after the French number one did not play on Saturday despite being tipped to pair up with Gasquet.

"I know everybody expected to see Jo playing doubles today but Richard and Julien was an interesting option," captain Arnaud Clement told a news conference.

"Jo played four sets (on Friday). We knew Federer and Stan would play today and play again on Sunday. It was a good option for him to rest, for him to have a lot of energy for tomorrow."

Tsonga lost 6-1 3-6 6-3 6-2 to Wawrinka in Friday's opening singles, never looking at ease on the clay of the Pierre Mauroy stadium, before Monfils hit back by sinking Federer in straight sets.

French tennis federation president Jean Gachassin told the Itele TV channel "Jo has pain in his elbow. I hope he can play tomorrow" but Clement refused to confirm the injury.

"Imagine if there was something, I wouldn't tell you anyway," said the captain.   Continued...

France's Davis Cup team captain Arnaud Clement (R Rear) watches as Switzerland's Roger Federer (L) and Stanislas Wawrinka (partially hidden) speaks with France's Richard Gasquet who stands with Julien Benneteau (R) at the end of their doubles tennis match at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Velleneuve d'Ascq, near Lille, November 22, 2014.  REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol