`Fear and excitement` for French Davis Cup hopefuls

AFP| Last Updated: Nov 11, 2014, 23:40 PM IST
`Fear and excitement` for French Davis Cup hopefuls

France number one Jo-Wilfried Tsonga admitted it was with "fear and excitement" he was anticipating their Davis Cup final clash against Switzerland later this month.

Tsonga, ranked 12th in the world, was named by captain Arnaud Clement on Tuesday in a five-man team with no surprises to contest the final in Lille from November 21-23.

Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Julien Benneteau and Gilles Simon were recalled after helping France beat the Czech Republic 4-1 in the semi-finals in September.

"It`s a childhood dream that I`m living, there is just one step to go but it`s a relatively high step," said Tsonga. 

"I hope that I will be at the highest level and we`re going to fulfil the challenge that awaits us," added the former Australian Open finalist.

"We`re thinking every day about the matches against (Roger) Federer and (Stan) Wawrinka and each training session will help us be ready for the final. It is a combination of fear and excitement."

Tsonga is training alongside 19th-ranked Monfils, Gasquet, ranked 27, and Simon (21) in Bordeaux and could be joined by Benneteau this week should he suffer an early elimination from the ATP Tour Finals in London where he is playing the doubles with Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

Clement revealed the close unity amongst the squad and how preparations so far have gone nicely to plan. 

"Honestly, the bonds between them are very, very strong. You can feel that they`re happy to be back together in this kind of environment and chasing the same objective," said Clement. 

"It`s going to be a great experience for them and unforgettable I`m sure. 

"They all arrived (at the camp) in good shape and have been playing on clay which is good and they got into training straight away with a great deal of intensity. We need to build up slowly so that we`re completely ready to go for the first match. 

"It`s also about the quality of our preparation, to look after themselves physically, get the right treatment and eat and drink properly. There are a lot of little details that could make the difference," added Clement. 

Swiss captain Severin Luethi named his team last week for the indoor tie on clay at the 27,000-seater Stade Pierre-Mauroy, in the northern French city of Lille.

World number two Federer and fourth-ranked Wawrinka, who are also playing the ATP Tour Finals, will be joined by Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer, ranked 198th and 513th respectively.

The draw for the France-Swiss tie will take place on November 20. Until then both teams have the option of changing two of their five players.

It will be the 13th meeting between both countries with France leading 10-2, having won their last meeting in 2004.

France have won the Davis Cup nine times, most recently in 2001, but also reached the 2010 final where they were beaten 3-2 by a Serbia side led by world number one Novak Djokovic in Belgrade. 

Switzerland have never lifted the famous trophy and came closest to victory in 1992 when they were beaten 3-1 in the final by the United States.