Lille: Roger Federer said Thursday he is ready to do what it takes to scale one of only two peaks he has yet to conquer in the world of tennis, even if it hurts. Winning the Davis Cup for his country Switzerland has not always been his number one priority and he admits that.
Asked if he had vivid memories of the last and only time Switzerland reached the final -- in 1992 when they to the United States -- he replied: "Over the years, I've heard so many stories about it, what a great year it was, so forth. "My recollection is very minimal, to be quite honest." Instead he has amassed the greatest all-time record in men's tennis with 17 Grand Slam titles to his name.
Now at 33 he knows that time is running out fast for him to add the Davis Cup and Olympic singles gold to his haul and thus match his greatest rival Rafael Nadal. Nadal is one of only two players, alongside Andre Agassi, to have achieved the so-called "Golden Slam" of all four Grand Slam titles, the Davis Cup and Olympic singles gold. It's a prospect that Federer quietly relishes.
"For sure it will be amazing," he said of winning the Davis Cup, before adding: "That's not the question though. I'm more focused on what I have to do this weekend, how I'm going to play, what I'm going to do this weekend. "Before that you cannot think about winning or not, or even the title of Davis Cup. You need to just be ready for the fight, be ready for that. "We did everything good.
If we finish the weekend as the winner, maybe not... We have more chances in the future." On paper at least world number two Federer and number four Wawrinka are ideally placed to go one better than the 1992 team of Marc Rosset and Jakob Hlasek and defeat the French. But the two did each other no favours last weekend in London when they played three gruelling sets in the last four of the ATP World Tour finals.
By the end of an extraordinary match Wawrinka was distraught after letting slip four match points, Federer had hurt his back, and they had endured an ugly spat over some inappropriate words from Federer's watching wife Mirka. The two have since buried the hatchet over the Mirka incident, but Federer admits that he will take an element of uncertainty into his opening rubber Friday against Gael Monfils due to his back injury.
It is a lot better he says after two practice sessions on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, but only the heat of battle will tell if it holds up to the special strains of the Davis Cup. Asked if he would have played on Friday had it not been such an important Davis Cup match Federer replied: "I don't know. It's a good question. We'll see. Honestly, I don't know.
If it was an enormous risk for the rest of my life, I wouldn't take the risk, of course. "But I already had these kinds of problems. I know how much worse it can get. I know what can happen. But if you start thinking about that, you don't play anymore. You need to stay positive and prepare. "I did many things so I would be rarely injured. I trust my body. There are not really chances for me to get injured again. "I felt well the whole year. It happened suddenly. It can happen to anyone. But the moment was a bad moment for this to happen."