Following a less-than-stellar conclusion to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, and thus the regular 2014 season, Roger Federer will get a second chance to culminate his season in strong fashion when he spearheads the Swiss team in the Davis Cup final against France. Federer will begin his run against Gael Monfils, whom he has encountered ten times previously on the tour, and leads the head to head series 8-2.
Federer lost an opportunity to win his sixth title of the season and seventh at the year-end championships when he withdrew from the event with a back injury, thus allowing Novak Djokovic to lift the title for a third time in four years. However, the Swiss No. 1, who compiled a 72-11 record on the tour, won three Masters titles, and also reached the final of the Wimbledon Championships, will not allow this latest incident to overshadow his relatively successful season on the tour. He will also not allow it to stop him from securing the only title absent from his trophy cabinet.
“I’m just really pleased that I’m actually able to play tomorrow. I’ll give it a go. Definitely looking forward to playing against Gael. I think he’s a great player, very exciting to watch. I like to play against him, too. “So things have been going very well for me the last week. It’s been a difficult week, but I’m happy where I am today.”
World No. 19 Gael Monfils has only played three tournaments since his last meeting with Federer at the US Open, as he was forced onto the sidelines to recover from an injury. After helping the French Davis Cup team reach the final with a win over Lukas Rosol, he reached the semi-final in Metz and the third round of the Paris Bercy to finish his ATP World Tour season with an entertaining match-up against Novak Djokovic.
“For sure it will help me, this last match on my mind,” said Monfils. “But this one’s going to be different. You have someone you can share your emotion [with] during the match, the captain who can help me, of course, if maybe I’m tight in the match.
“Definitely I expect to play a big match again because I know I need to play a big match to beat him. I’m very happy to have this opportunity again.”
This marks the third time this season that Federer and Monfils will meet on the circuit, with Federer picking up victories at the US Open and the Cincinnati Masters. Federer needed deciding sets in both those matches to beat Monfils and considering we have not been updated on the state of his back, it is easy to assume that this will be another tight, competitive encounter.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Five Sets