Switzerland and France battled for the title in the 2014 Davis Cup final.
Over the course of his career, Roger Federer had surprisingly failed to make his mark at one of the sport’s most prestigious events, the Davis Cup. From World Group playoffs to early-round exits in the main draw, Switzerland had experienced numerous struggles over the years, even going so far as to lose in the first round of the 2012 event to the United States, despite boasting a team of Federer and Stan Wawrinka, and hosting the tie on clay.
In 2014, though, the nation made one of the best runs in its history by reaching the final, their first appearance in the championship round in more than two decades. Along the way, the squad—spearheaded by Federer and Wawrinka—defeated Serbia, Kazakhstan and Italy. In the final, Switzerland would take on France, whose depth would lead them to wins against Australia, Germany and the Czech Republic, the defending champions.
In the first rubber of the championship tie, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga faced Wawrinka. The two had played five times before, with four of their matches having been contested on clay, the surface of choice for this weekend. Wawrinka raced off to a quick start, taking the first set 6-1 and holding on to win in four to stake the visitors to a 1-0 lead.
Next was Federer against the always-entertaining Frenchman Gael Monfils. Whether it was feeling the effects of the back injury that forced him to abandon the title match of the ATP Finals only week beforehand or a lack of late-season match play, but Federer was caught completely off-guard by Monfils, who routed the Swiss in straight sets to level the tie at 1-1.
It was then onto the doubles, where Federer and Wawrinka faced Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet. It was another strong showing by Federer and Wawrinka as they topped the Frenchmen to go up 2-1. In the first match of the reverse singles, Switzerland found itself in position to clinch the title and this time, it would be Federer against Gasquet. After a tight first set won by Federer, the Swiss star turned up the pressure to run through the next two sets, giving Switzerland its first-ever title in the history of the event.
This championship was the second on the global scale that Federer and Wawrinka shared after their 2008 Olympic Gold doubles title.
The five previous matches between Monfils and Federer had all gone the distance, including the most recent one at that year’s US Open, when Federer came back from two sets down to win in five.
The last Davis Cup title for a member of the ATP’s “Big 4” came in 2011, when Rafael Nadal led Spain to the championship.
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