Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Roger Federer, Switzerland win first Davis Cup tennis title

By Ravi Ubha
updated 8:42 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
Switzerland got their hands on the Davis Cup for the first time thanks to the efforts of top-10 tennis stars Roger Federer (second left) and Stanislas Wawrinka (center). Switzerland got their hands on the Davis Cup for the first time thanks to the efforts of top-10 tennis stars Roger Federer (second left) and Stanislas Wawrinka (center).
Switzerland on a roll in Davis Cup
Switzerland on a roll in Davis Cup
Switzerland on a roll in Davis Cup
Switzerland on a roll in Davis Cup
Switzerland on a roll in Davis Cup
Switzerland on a roll in Davis Cup
Switzerland on a roll in Davis Cup
Switzerland on a roll in Davis Cup
Switzerland on a roll in Davis Cup
Switzerland on a roll in Davis Cup
Switzerland on a roll in Davis Cup
Switzerland on a roll in Davis Cup
  • Switzerland wins its first Davis Cup title after Roger Federer routs Richard Gasquet
  • The Swiss win the series 3-1 in Lille to disappoint most of the large crowd in northern France
  • Federer has won almost everything in his career, just missing an Olympic singles gold
  • He got support from Stan Wawrinka, who shone in his two matches this weekend

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

Lille (CNN) -- A year that began in uncertainty for Roger Federer ended with a historic title for the 17-time grand slam champion and his country.

When Federer defeated Richard Gasquet of France 6-4 6-2 6-2 in front of another record crowd Sunday, it gave Federer a maiden Davis Cup title at the not so tender age of 33. The visitors prevailed 3-1 in the best-of-five match series.

Switzerland had never before won team tennis' most prestigious event, playing in one previous final in 1992 when Federer was merely 11.

"For me personally, obviously I'm unbelievably happy because I've been playing in this competition for probably almost 15 years now," Federer told reporters as he sat among his teammates. "At the end of the day I wanted it more for the guys.

"This is one for the boys."

With Federer committing to every round of the Davis Cup this season -- unlike in years past -- and the emergence of compatriot Stan Wawrinka, it greatly boosted Switzerland's chances of success.

A guide to Davis Cup tennis
Davis Cup vs. Roland Garros
Superfan's love for the Davis Cup

Federer thus concluded 2014 with one of the biggest titles to elude him and a ranking of No. 2, a considerable achievement given back issues largely contributed to his ranking slipping to eighth in January.

Indeed, some wondered -- with justification -- if Federer could ever come close to recapturing his old form.

He did, and Federer was sharp Saturday in doubles alongside Wawrinka and then dominant against Gasquet in Lille, northern France.

Only one week ago Federer was, according to Novak Djokovic, a "question mark" for the Davis Cup final after he withdrew from the final of the World Tour Finals in London against the No. 1 with further back troubles.

His name was included in the Davis Cup draw Thursday, ensuring one of the highest profile finals in recent memory, but Federer suffered his most lopsided loss in the competition Friday against Gael Monfils.

The positive, he insisted afterwards, was that his body felt fine as the match progressed, and his words ultimately were not a smoke screen.

To say that Federer toyed with Gasquet wouldn't be much of a stretch. Gasquet, 2-12 versus Federer entering the match, started with an emphatic hold, but that was as good as it got for the prodigy who has never quite delivered.

"You saw how well Roger was playing, how he just killed Richard today," said Wawrinka.

Gasquet, replacing the injured Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, was broken for 2-1, which set the tone.

Federer lost just 14 points on his own serve and didn't face a break point. Evidencing how well his back must have been feeling, he soared and stretched to put away a smash with venomous side spin in the second set.

There was deft touch to seal the tie, Federer executing a half-volley drop shot before falling onto the clay at the Stade Pierre Mauroy. He joined the likes of Rafael Nadal, Rod Laver and Andre Agassi in winning a Davis Cup plus all four majors.

Davis Cup showdown
Magnificent 7 for Fed at O2?
Watercolorist captures French Open

Unlike in majors, when players usually make the trek to their box after a title, in the Davis Cup the team habitually floods the court.

Federer noticed the difference.

"It was definitely one of the better feelings in my career, no doubt about it," he said. "So much nicer to celebrate it all together.

"So thanks for running up to me and screaming in my ear. It was good fun."

Though he applied the knockout blow, Wawrinka's performance this weekend shouldn't be forgotten, and Federer took note.

He crushed Tsonga to give Switzerland its first point Friday and combined wonderfully with Federer in the doubles, his raw power a fine accompaniment to the artistry of Federer.

If he harbored any animosity towards Federer for reportedly being taunted by Federer's wife, Mirka, last week at the World Tour Finals, he didn't show it.

Wawrinka's season began in superb fashion with a first grand slam title in Melbourne and Sunday ensures it terminates well, following some bumps in between.

"It is an exceptional year for me," said Wawrinka.

But what to make of the French?

The brief fireworks produced inside the stadium after Switzerland's win provided more electricity than anything produced by Tsonga or Gasquet on the court.

About 90 percent of the record crowd of 27,448 for a pro tennis match Sunday were French fans, but they barely had an opportunity to get into the match. Over the three days, France claimed one set in the matches it lost.

"The French team said they were ready to go to war, if I can quote them," Wawrinka said. "What happened was totally the opposite."

Tsonga said a lingering arm injury returned Friday and the pain intensified following his outing against Wawrinka, yet the French No. 1 has not had a good year -- barring one tournament in Toronto.

Gasquet has never had the reputation of being a clutch player -- his play in doubles and against Federer won't help to shed the label.

And so France's drought, at least on the men's side, continues. A generation that promised plenty and was so determined to win the Davis Cup this year for a tennis loving nation has underachieved.

France, in an atypical luxury, contested all four of its series this year at home but was still unable to snap a 13-year drought.

"If you look at the tie as a whole, you can see that the Swiss players are at a higher level than us," French captain Arnaud Clement told reporters. "They're top (two) and top four of the world. We prepared for that as much as we could. But we knew that beating them would need an exceptional performance."

When Wawrinka was asked for a percentage regarding his availability for Switzerland's opening tie against Belgium next year, he replied, "I think the percentage we're going to drink alcohol tonight is very high."

If the French players were to drink some alcohol, it would be for different reasons.

Read: Swiss win pivotal doubles

Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:08 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
updated 8:42 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
A year that began in uncertainty for Roger Federer ended with a historic title for the 17-time grand slam champion and his country.
updated 12:16 PM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
updated 2:36 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
updated 9:34 AM EDT, Sun September 14, 2014
Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
updated 8:52 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
updated 7:02 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
updated 7:01 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Sun June 22, 2014
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.