Switzerland's close-knit Fed Cup team saw off France at the weekend and now look ahead to the a second consecutive semifinal appearance
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: You never can tell, in sport. Ahead of the first round tie in the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas between Switzerland and France, there was no doubt that it was the visitors who were the big noise.
After all, they were the event’s second seeds; they were last year’s runners up; they are two-time winners of the famous prize; they had Yannick Noah at the helm, returning to the captaincy he occupied when his nation first won the Fed Cup in 1997; they had Mary Pierce, twice on the winning team, as his assistant; and of course their famously boisterous band of travelling fans create enough racket for anyone.
But that was to overlook the quiet storm of Switzerland. Quite naturally, their fans were present in Geneva’s Palexpo in far greater numbers than the French, but they were a picture of reserve. Like their supporters, the Swiss team were all about doughty solidity – they may not be seeded, but they lost their 2016 semifinal by the most heartbreakingly narrow of margins to the eventual champions, the Czech Republic. They had something to prove this weekend, and they accomplished that by demonstrating what team competition is all about.
"The last two years as a team have brought us all so close to each other," said Timea Bacsinszky, after she and Martina Hingis won the doubles to make the tie 4-1. "We really cherish these things. Being in a team is pretty special. We’re definitely privileged to have such an amazing team."