Switzerland appears unlikely to regain its place in the Davis Cup World Group, after the Swiss 2008 Olympic champions lost their doubles match against Australia.
Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka won the first set 2-6 against Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione in Sydney on Saturday but lost the next three 6-4, 6-2. 7-6 (5).
The defeat gives Australia a 2-1 lead, with two single matches left to play.
While Federer, ranked number 3 in the world, is expected to beat the Australian teenager Bernard Tomic on Sunday, commentators doubt whether Wawrinka – already beaten by Tomic in the first game of the tie - will be a match for Hewitt.
“This defeat hurts, not surprisingly,” Federer commented after the doubles, and he admitted that the chances of a Swiss victory in the tie were “slim”.
He said he was exhausted and aching all over, and that Wawrinka was in more pain than he was.
His remarks contrasted with his upbeat attitude on Thursday, shortly after his arrival, when he told reporters he was feeling “really good”.
Switzerland lost its place in the top tier of the Davis Cup last year, losing to Kazakhstan in the playoffs. On that occasion Federer had withdrawn from the Swiss team because of fatigue.
The Davis Cup World Group consists of 16 teams. Having failed to make the grade, Switzerland has this year been in the Europe/Africa zone Group 1.
swissinfo.ch and agencies