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Beaten Federer consoled by shaking "ghost" off his back

The 17-times grand slam champion, who lost 6-1 6-4 6-3 as France drew level 1-1 following Stan Wawrinka’s opening victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, explained that the recent discomfort he felt in his back began to ease the longer the contest went on.

“It wasn’t all negative. I started to feel better as the match went on. That’s very encouraging,” Federer told a news conference.

“You don’t have to be in unbelievably excruciating pain but it takes a while for it to leave your mind. It’s like a ghost.

“But that’s why it was good for me to play three sets today. It definitely gives us a lot of information. I would think that I’m going to get better as the weekend goes on.”

Switzerland captain Severin Luthi now has to decide whether to pair Federer and Wawrinka in Saturday’s doubles.

He named Michael Lammer and Marcio Chiudinelli at Thursday’s draw and has until one hour before the match to change his lineup.

Asked if he was able to play three days in a row, Federer sounded optimistic.

“I would be ready to do that if, as ever, it’s the best choice,” he said.

“I know there are less risks than a few days ago, or less than this morning, so I’m making myself available for the team as much as I can, 100 percent, not only as a player but in whatever role I can play,” added Federer.

“I’m there to support them and support the team. This is what I always do.”

Wawrinka said he was ready to play on Saturday when the Swiss pair will face Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau unless France captain Arnaud Clement decides to replace the latter with Tsonga.

“I’m always ready to play everything. But we’ll do like we always do…we’ll discuss and see where we are,” said Wawrinka who was impressive in his 6-1 3-6 6-3 6-2 defeat of Tsonga. (Reuters)



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