FedererOn day one, Federer looked the shadow of his true self and lost to a player, several notches below him in the ATP ranking. On Saturday, regardless of his first day’s poor show against Monfils, his captain chose Federer to pair with Stan Wawrinka for the crucial doubles game under the watchful eyes of consultant coaches. These were the same people, who also coach the Bryan twins of USA. The Swiss pair played purposefully and brought their small nation to within one match of a phenomenal victory in the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world for nations. On the third day, when Federer played the first reverse singles match against the Tsonga-replacement Richard Gasquet, he exhibited the strength of his true tennis character, as he led Switzerland to their historic triumph. The Davis Cup can be likened to World Cups in many other sports, where participating countries vie for supremacy and the winner takes the national glory home. Amazingly, it was the 85th time that Switzerland have played the Davis Cup beginning with their first time participation in 1923. The best performance has been reaching the final in 1992, when roger Federer was just 11 years old. Besides, the mountain nation has also reached the semifinals in 2003 and quarterfinals in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2004. This year, the Swiss team has been more committed than at any other time in the past with the world no.2 and the world no.4 within their ranks. Winning the Davis Cup was the one achievement that had been eluding Roger Federer, who has literally swept every tennis title in the game. After beating Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in an hour and 52 minutes on Sunday afternoon, Federer echoed the same sentiments when he said that this Davis Cup victory belonged to his teammates as he already had achieved numerous other wins in his lifetime.

As Federer took to court on Sunday, he began controlling the match from the very start. In his first service game, the Swiss sent down an ace that skidded at 130 mph and Gasquet couldn’t do anything about it. He won that game and never looked back. He broke Gasquet in the third game with two beautiful shots; one was a delicately played forehand half-volley and the other was an amazing forehand that passed Gasquet as the Frenchman looked incredulously. Federer continued to mount pressure on his French counterpart with sustained aggression and closed the first set by holding his serve at love. In the entire first set, the big Swiss lost just four points on his serve. As the second set began, Gasquet became even more error-prone and immediately handed a break opportunity to Federer by hitting an easy backhand into the net and was soon down 0-30, when Federer produced a supremely executed backhand passing shot. Down three break points, Gasquet saved one but lost the game on the second. The Frenchman did his best to stay in the match as the third set got underway. He visited the net more often for the serve-and-volley play, but Federer understood his intent and passed him at will. In the fifth game, Gasquet lost his serve yet again despite a long baseline rally that was finally won by Federer. For the last game of the set, Federer began serving at 5-2, did not yield a single point and closed the match with a perfect drop shot, which Gasquet refused to chase.

It was a grand victory for Switzerland with Federer playing his master class against an opponent, who was totally overwhelmed in rallies and failed to read Federer’s service throughout. As the match ended, Federer dropped to the ground with tears of joys rolling down. He had done what was expected of him; taking his small nation to the record books as Switzerland registered it first ever Davis Cup in the 85th attempt. Then he got up to run and embrace his teammates, including his captain Steven Luthi, Stan Wawrinka and others. The media-sprayed rancor between Federer and Wawrinka had already become a distant memory as everyone celebrated with champagne and plenty of uninhibited laughter.