France unchanged to face Swiss in Davis Cup final
PARIS (AP) France and Switzerland have announced unchanged teams for the Davis Cup final next week at Lille.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Julien Benneteau, and Richard Gasquet were re-selected by France, while Gilles Simon, France's third highest-ranked player, was put on standby as a replacement.
Switzerland captain Severin Luthi picked the same side for a fourth straight tie: Roger Federer, Stanislas Wawrinka, Marco Chiudinelli, and Michael Lammer.
''We know they have a few guys, but everything can change up until about Thursday before the tie,'' Federer said. ''From that standpoint, this announcement doesn't mean anything to me. I'm more focused on who's going to play opening Friday against me. That's the only focus I really have right now.''
When France beat defending champion the Czech Republic 4-1 in the semifinals in September, Gasquet and Tsonga won their singles and teamed up in doubles to give France an unassailable 3-0 lead.
Simon lost to Federer in the Shanghai Masters final last month. His form was, arguably, good enough to warrant a start.
''It's always tricky. The players are well-matched in terms of their level and their results. I had to make a choice,'' said France captain Arnaud Clement, a former Davis Cup stalwart in doubles.
''But that doesn't mean Gilles won't be one of the four picks because I can change the team right up until the draw. If someone gets injured, I won't hesitate to send Gilles out on court.''
Clement hinted that Benneteau may be hard to leave out in doubles.
''Everyone's in form and Julien's just won his second match (in doubles) at the Masters (ATP Finals),'' Clement said. ''I still need a bit more information before making my definitive choice.''
The final from Nov. 21-23 is on indoor clay at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
France is looking to win the trophy for the 10th time while Switzerland seeks a first triumph, having lost its only previous final, in 1992, against the United States.
''Even without taking into account Roger Federer's career, Switzerland is nevertheless the favorite with the No. 2 in the world, but also the fourth (Wawrinka),'' Clement said. ''But we also have things in our favor, like our cohesion.''