Watch ATP Basel live from Monday 20 October as Swiss heroes Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka headline the Swiss Indoors Basel, joined by three more top-10 players including Rafael Nadal.
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With Switzerland into the 2014 Davis Cup final, this year’s Swiss Indoors Basel will have even more of a buzz about it than usual as the team leaders Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka star at the 500 event in Basel, with Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and Rafael Nadal all hoping to spoil the Swiss party.
First played in 1970, when the winner received a wristwatch, the Swiss Indoors Basel became an ATP World Tour event in 1975 when Jiri Hrebec won the singles title, with doubles added to the tournament the following year.
The Swiss Indoors Basel – formerly sponsored by Davidoff – quickly added some truly legendary names to its roster of champions, with Bjorn Borg winning the title in 1977, only to be beaten in a classic final by Ivan Lendl in 1980. Lendl also won the tournament in 1981.
Yannick Noah, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, Michael Stich and Pete Sampras were among the all-time greats to lift the title over the next 20 years.
Throughout 2005, when Fernando Gonzalez won the title, Stefan Edberg remained the only man to win the tournament three or more times after his victories in 1985 (d. Yannick Noah), 1986 (d. Noah) and 1988 (d. Jakob Hlasek).
Roger Federer plays in Basel in 2006 (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
But that all changed when a former ballboy at the Swiss Indoors Basel – who would one day be coached by Edberg – won the first of his record-setting five titles. Roger Federer won the title for three consecutive years – 2006 (d. Fernando Gonzalez), 2007 (d. Jarkko Nieminen) and 2008 (d. David Nalbandian) – before his reign was interrupted by Novak Djokovic in 2009, who dared to beat Federer in the final.
Titles four and five for Federer promptly followed in 2010, when he got his revenge on Djokovic in the final, and 2011 (d. Kei Nishikori). And Federer quickly established what is now one of the most iconic rituals of the tournament – buying pizza for the ballkids, among whose number he was once counted, at the end of the tournament.
Juan Martin del Potro in action in Basel (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
In the subsequent years, 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro joined Lendl, Edberg and Federer himself as the only men to win back-to-back titles at the Swiss Indoors, defeating Federer in the final both years.
With recent years, the Swiss Indoors Basel’s position in the calendar means that it is often a key battleground for players looking to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which has only intensified the competition at one of the season’s two final 500 events.
Rafael Nadal will be playing in Basel for the first time in 10 years in 2014 (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
Two top-10 players looking to seal their qualification for the World Tour Finals will be in the 2014 field, as Wimbledon semifinalists Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov hope to make a strong showing in Basel.
With 2012-13 champion del Potro unable to return, will Roger Federer be able to take back his Swiss Indoors Basel crown? Newly ranked world no. 2 after winning the Shanghai Masters, Federer leads the 2014 field but will face tough competition from Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka and the legendary Rafael Nadal, who will be playing Basel for the first time in ten years.