Can Roger Federer and Switzerland recover for Davis Cup final?

Willie Grace | 11/20/2014, 1:08 p.m. | Updated on 11/20/2014, 1:08 p.m.
A Davis Cup final already steeped in intrigue soared to another level Saturday and now the question is: Can Roger ...
Federer's back -- the area of his body that has intermittently hindered the 17-time grand slam champion in a mostly healthy career -- is only part of the issue.

(CNN) -- It's one of the most individual sports, yet it sometimes demands that fierce rivals unify to compete against other countries in what could be called the World Cup of tennis.

A Davis Cup final already steeped in intrigue soared to another level Saturday and now the question is: Can Roger Federer and Switzerland recover against France in front of a potential record crowd this weekend?

Federer's back -- the area of his body that has intermittently hindered the 17-time grand slam champion in a mostly healthy career -- is only part of the issue.

His relationship with teammate Stan Wawrinka in the wake of 'Mirka Gate' is worth monitoring, too.

It's certainly not the build-up the 33-year-old Federer wanted as he seeks one of the two biggest titles to elude him, the other being an Olympic singles gold.

Federer's wife, Mirka, might have taunted Wawrinka during her husband's dramatic 4-6 7-5 7-6 (6) win at the World Tour Finals in London and it reportedly led to a verbal bust up between the men who captured doubles gold together at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Federer then handed only the third walkover of his career to an opponent, the back not healthy enough to take on world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

At least on the relationship front, though, things appear to be better between Federer and Wawrinka ahead of the affair at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, the home of Lille in football's Ligue 1.

Federer posted a picture on Twitter of a united looking Swiss side and members of the squad said Tuesday in Lille that any tension was gone.

"We had a conversation after the match," Federer told reporters. "Everything's totally relaxed about the situation. We're old enough.

"There's no hard feelings whatsoever. We're having a good time here. We are friends, not enemies. But obviously it was maybe one of those moments, heat-of-the-moment situations."

Wawrinka blamed the press for blowing things out of proportion.

"For us it's nothing," he told reporters. "It took us five minutes to talk about it, to think about the next main goal that we have -- the Davis Cup this weekend."

Heading into the semifinal at the O2 Arena, the Swiss appeared to have the upper hand in the Davis Cup final.

Federer maintained his excellent 2014 form, while Wawrinka -- the Australian Open champion -- arrested a slump by winning two matches and extended his compatriot to three tight sets. He even had four match points.

The eventful Saturday changed the complexion of the series.

Making the transition from one surface to another is difficult -- the home team chose clay for the Davis Cup final and has practiced on it for weeks -- although at least a long flight wasn't needed for the Swiss to get to northern France.

Wawrinka actually took the train from London.

But Federer's back is of greater concern.

His spot was confirmed in the draw Thursday -- he will face Gael Monfils on Friday after Wawrinka battles Jo-Wilfried Tsonga -- but being at 100 percent seems unlikely.