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Swiss Davis Cup heroes face next challenge

Captain, Jakob Hlasek (left), says the next tie against France will require strong performances by the whole team, and not just the star player, Roger Federer (right)

(Keystone Archive)

Switzerland's Davis Cup captain, Jakob Hlasek, admits that his side's next tie against France will not be easy, with victory likely to depend on strong performances by the whole team.

At the weekend Switzerland enjoyed a shock 3-2 win over the United States in their first round encounter, with Swiss number one Roger Federer winning all three of his matches.

"If I could have two Rogers I would be very happy," Hlasek told swissinfo. "It just looks as though Roger was better than the others.

"But we're always relying on the team. This weekend we won as a team, we won last year as a team when the second player won his singles match so that can happen again in Neuchatel. Sometimes it just looks like it's a one-man-show but it isn't."

Federer, fresh from his first title victory in Milan, thrilled the home crowd when he won both his singles matches and the doubles rubber with partner Lorenzo Manta.

However, Federer admits that Switzerland's task in April will not be easy. In Arnaud Clément, Sébastien Grosjean and Cédric Pioline, the French squad boasts three players placed higher in the world rankings than Switzerland's weekend hero.

"The French team has a lot of good players at the moment so it's going to be tough," Federer told swissinfo. However, he believes that playing at home in Neuchatel will be to their advantage.

"We're playing at home again and it's going to help us a lot," Federer said.

Captain Jakob Hlasek said that part of Switzerland's strategy will be to choose carefully what surface they play on to maximise their performance.

"The first thing will be to decide the best surface that suits us to beat the French team. We know that they are a young team as well, but we are feeling very strong about ourselves so I think it will be important to prepare in the same way we did against the US," Hlasek said.

Hlasek told swisinfo that he was not counting out the possibility of drafting in the Swiss power-server, Marc Rosset, to help boost Switzerland's chances of winning their next tie which gets underway in eight weeks' time.

For now, Federer intends to savour his victory and the incredible winning streak he is on with a little champagne.

by Samantha Tonkin


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