In September 2003, Lleyton Hewitt defeated Roger Federer at Rod Laver Arena in the Davis Cup semi-final, bouncing back from two sets to love deficit to secure Australia's victory over Switzerland. From 2005, Roger helped his country in the World Group Play-Off for five consecutive years, missing the competition in 2010 when Switzerland dropped out from the elite level.
Federer led them in two ties in 2011 against Portugal and Australia, sending Switzerland back into the World Group and hosting the USA in the first round in 2012 in Fribourg on indoor clay. Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer were there to defend the national colors in front of the home fans, but it was not to be for them, suffering a severe 5-0 loss and propelling the Americans into the quarters.
On February 10, John Isner defeated Roger Federer 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 to send the USA 2-0 in front, as Mardy Fish prevailed against Stan Wawrinka 9-7 in the first rubber's deciding set in four hours and 26 minutes. It was Roger's first Davis Cup singles defeat since the mentioned one against Lleyton eight and a half years earlier, losing ground against the rival who did everything right to push the USA closer to the finish line.
Roger grabbed a break in the opener's third game and brought it home with a hold at love in game ten after 29 minutes. Isner forged the advantage in the second set's sixth game when the Swiss netted an easy forehand and served out for the set at 5-3 with an ace.
Roger Federer lost to John Isner on clay in Davis Cup in 2012.
Gathering momentum, the American fended off three break chances in the third set's sixth game with some brave hitting that kept him on the positive side.
A forehand winner was there to get Isner out of jail in the eighth game, staying in touch and clinching a tie break 7-4 with a volley winner to take a big step towards the finish line. The American fended off three break chances in the fourth set's fifth game and closed it with a forehand winner.
John stole Roger's serve in the next one and moved over the top with a return winner at 5-2 to produce one of his career-best victories. "I thought John played a great match. He played it tough and served great when he needed to.
I missed a couple more opportunities than he did, and that's what cost me the match," Roger Federer said. "It feels good. It's a massive win for me, the biggest one of my career, and it makes me proud. We are up to a 2‑0 start, which is excellent.
That was our goal coming into today, and we accomplished it. Mardy put a great effort in the first match, which took much pressure off me. When I play Roger, I do not want to get in baseline exchanges because he will win most of them.
I needed to go out there and hit my shots big and go for them, using controlled aggression as much as possible. I was up a break, and I had absolutely nothing to lose. No matter what the score was, I tried not to let the score dictate how I would play.
When I was in a hole, I kept going for my strokes. If I miss it, so be it; that's how it's going to be. The goal was to keep the rallies as short as possible, especially in my games. I was happy with the conditions out there.
I do not mind playing on clay. It gives me more time, which sometimes is what I need. With my game, I do not need to adjust how I play to my opponent. Whether I'm playing Federer or a guy ranked 800th in the world, I need to play the same.
Captain Courier has been keeping it simple and right with me. Without him in my ear this week, I would not have won that match; he has done a great job," John Isner said.