In an interview to La Stampa, the former Swiss Davis Cup team captain Claudio Mezzadri recalled how Roger Federer’s mentality was at the beginning of his career. ‘He was impatient, angry, sometimes less educated with his opponents’, Mezzadri admitted.
‘He was tanking matches, between 17 and 20 years he matured. It was Peter Lundgren to change him, both from the technical point of view, making him play the slice backhand, and the ball launch on serve.’ Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Martina Hingis, Belinda Bencic.
How has Switzerland managed to produce so many great champions? ‘Because it’s a little country that knows how to welcome you. Weapons are not many, but they are used well. They tell you: rules are like this if you respect okay or otherwise do how you want’ Recalling the Switzerland team’ Davis Cup win in 2014, in which Federer played a key role, Mezzadri added: ‘He was caring about it a lot, but for the team.
They say he does not love the Davis Cup, but no other Swiss player won so much (50 matches). People forget that one year (2004) to play Davis Cup he switched from 40C in Melbourne, where he had won the Australian Open, to the cold weather in Romania on an indoor court.
Or from New York to Genova, in 2009. But for years the team was not strong. When Wawrinka improved and Roger understood that he could make it, he committed to winning it. It would have been silly not to do it. In the final against France, he was feeling back pain also in doubles on Saturday, but he managed to handle it and on Sunday his domination against Gasquet was unbelievable.’