Switzerland's Roger Federer answers questions at a press conference following his loss to Britain's Andy Murray in their semifinal at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill)
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 2:39 pm
Swiss team: Federer 'not finished' with Davis Cup
By GRAHAM DUNBARAP Sports Writer
Switzerland captain Severin Luethi told The Associated Press that Federer hasn't written off the team competition, which his country has never won. Federer is skipping the first round series at home this week against defending champion Czech Republic.
"He is for sure not finished with Davis Cup," Luethi said.
Still, by not making his Davis Cup plans clear in recent months, the 31-year-old Swiss star has been the target of some criticism at home.
Federer opted last October to schedule more rest periods and time with his family this season, said Luethi, who is part of the player's entourage on tour.
"He could really plan until, let's say, the U.S. Open more or less," he said. "For him, it's sure that he doesn't play the first two ties."
Switzerland can earn another home series in the quarterfinals in April, against Austria or Kazakhstan, by beating the Czechs on indoor hard courts in Geneva. The semifinals and relegation playoffs follow the season's final Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows.
Federer "didn't take a final decision to say, `I'm not ever playing Davis Cup again.' He just decided for the first half of the year now that he is not playing, then we have to see what he is going to decide," Luethi said.
Federer's two-week break comes after losing a lengthy five-setter to Andy Murray in the Australian Open semifinals last Friday.
"There was maybe a small chance if he had lost in the first or second round or something," that the second-ranked Swiss would reconsider, Luethi said earlier at a news conference. "But otherwise, it was not even a discussion anymore in Australia."
With Federer already expressing enthusiasm about the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, one factor luring him back to Davis Cup could be earning Olympics eligibility in accordance with International Tennis Federation rules.
However, one of the game's greats could expect to get a wild-card Olympics entry even without committing to the Davis Cup.
"It's tough to believe that if he would not play Davis Cup, he would not have a chance to play" in Rio, Luethi said.
Federer is scheduled to play in the Netherlands at the Rotterdam indoor event starting Feb. 11.