Re: The Everything Davis Cup Thread (News, Articles, Live Scores)
Aussies aim to take down Wawrinka: Rafter
Davis Cup tennis captain Pat Rafter says Australia must take down Stanislas Wawrinka in order to counter the Federer factor in this week's Davis Cup World Group tennis play-off against Switzerland.
The winner, on grass at Royal Sydney Golf Club starting on Friday, will be promoted to the World Group for next year.
Tennis Australia officials expect Swiss No.1 Roger Federer to participate after losing his US Open semi-final to Novak Djokovic.
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Rafter expects the former world No.1 to be fired up.
"Yes, he's not coming down here to stuff around, he wants to win," Rafter told reporters at Royal Sydney on Monday.
"It's a long way to come, as he said earlier in the week, and obviously he's coming in very late, so he's here to win.
"That obviously puts us under a lot more pressure. He's obviously one of the greatest grass-courters of all time but we're looking at trying to take down Wawrinka."
Rafter said Australia was always likely to struggle against Federer on any surface and he hoped the home side could win the two singles matches against Wawrinka and the doubles.
While opting to play on grass against a team including six-times Wimbledon champion Federer would appear a gamble, Rafter stressed the choice of surface had more to do with Wawrinka, Switzerland's No.2.
Ranked 14th in the world, Wawrinka has a 9-13 career record on grass and a 1-2 record this year.
The two losses both came against players ranked over 100 places lower than the right-hander.
"We have to look at what's our best chance of winning this Davis Cup tie and obviously playing Federer on any surface is not great," Rafter said.
"So we look at what is Wawrinka's worst surface and he does not like grass.
"If we've got any chance of beating these guys we have to take down Wawrinka."
Rafter was pleased with the hitting of team stalwart Lleyton Hewitt, who missed the US Open through injury.
"He said to me about three days ago it's the first time he hasn't felt his toe in a long time, so if he could play on grass every week of the year, he'd be a very happy boy," Rafter said.
Conversely, Australia's highest ranked player Bernard Tomic looked listless in his practice hit with Hewitt on Monday.
"That's Bernie isn't it? He's all over the shop sometimes," Rafter said.
"It's one thing we're working on all the time with him, is pick his attitude up, pick his game up."
Rafter described the court as beautiful, though he said it would like it a little firmer.
He revealed Matthew Ebden was pressing Marinko Matosevic for the last place in the team alongside Hewitt, Tomic and Chris Guccione.