Roger Federer will seek to banish the disappointment of his US Open semi-final exit at the hands of champion Novak Djokovic by taking a leading role in pushing Switzerland past Australia to break into the elite Davis Cup World Group.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion will play both singles and doubles rubbers in the play-off against Australia on grass at Royal Sydney Golf Club.
Federer takes on another former world number one in Lleyton Hewitt on the opening day today, while team mate Stanislas Wawrinka faces rising Australian talent Bernard Tomic.
The Swiss maestro will then team up with Wawrinka in the doubles against Hewitt and Chris Guccione before playing the reverse singles rubber against Tomic on Sunday.
Wawrinka plays Hewitt in the final singles rubber.
Federer holds a 17-8 winning record over the injury-prone Hewitt but suffered a shock loss in their last encounter on grass in the final at Halle last year, which broke a run of 15 consecutive wins over the Australian.
Federer also found it hard to forget his loss to Hewitt in the 2003 Davis Cup semi-final in Melbourne. The Swiss surrendered a two-set lead and Australia went on to win the title.
“I still believe it was one of my toughest losses I ever had as a player,” said Federer.
“People might think Djokovic was rough but for me that was nothing compared to the Lleyton loss back in ‘03 just because I felt I should have won so bad,” he added, referring to his recent US Open loss to the Serbian.
“I am not 22-years-old any more, I am 30, so I take losses much easier but back then it was a very tough loss for me.