Roger Federer Gives Paul Annacone Coaching Trial
by Staff | July 26th, 2010, 9:45 am
  • 142 Comments

On his official website today, former World No. 1 Roger Federer announced that he will “test” Paul Annacone as a new coach.

Said Federer, “I’ve been looking to add someone to my team and I’ve decided to spend some days with Paul Annacone. As Paul winds down his responsibilities working for the Lawn Tennis Association, we will explore our relationship through this test period. Paul will work alongside my existing team and I am excited to learn from his experiences.”

The slumping Swiss has failed to reach the semifinals at his last two Grand Slams. And Federer has just two titles in on his 12 month current ranking resume – 2010 Australian Open, 2009 Cincinnati.

Federer is currently ranked No. 3, a distant way from No. 1 Rafael Nadal. He is expected to play in Toronto next month.

In the absence of an official coach, Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Luthi has been serving as Federer’s de facto coach.

The 47-year-old Annacone is best known as the former coach of Pete Sampras. More recently he coached Tim Henman and served as head of LTA coaching. Annacone won three ATP titles and reached a career-high No. 12 during the 80s.


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142 Comments for Roger Federer Gives Paul Annacone Coaching Trial

TGiT Says:

Good to see that Fed is still hungry.


jane Says:

Interesting choice for Fed. Did Annacone coach Sampras later on in his tennis career or…? In any case, I think I’ve read others suggesting he’d be a good fit for Roger, so perhaps this’ll work out better than the Cahill trial.


Fot Says:

It shows Roger’s still interested in trying to ‘improve’ and he’s still interested in staying in tennis, which is good. I say let’s give it a try to see if he can bring something new to the table. More power to him and his team!


mjt308 Says:

Oh yes, slumping. I’m sure anyone on the ATP tour (even Nadal before he swept the clay season and Wimbledon) would have signed a deal with the devil to be in the position Federer is in. He’s “only” won the Australian Open and made the quarters of the other two slams.


madmax Says:

mjt308.

I know what you mean, but you have to get used to these phrases. The rafa fans know only too well how bad publicity sells. It’s no different for Roger.

Rafa was “over”, didn’t win a tournament for 11 months, Fed WINS a GS, reaches 2 QF’s (which is still way below what he is used to), and he is in a slump. people have short memories.

As a federer fan, only Roger knows best about his game. I would imagine a lot of press people would have been expecting/hoping an imminent retirement notice from him when he returned from his vacation.

Jane, Annacone did coach Sampras as you said, I think what is good news about this “good news” is that Federer is showing he is prepared to listen to an outside coach and wants to move his game forward. This shows he is still hungry. This is great news.

Let’s hope something positive comes from this. It will do him no harm.

Good luck to him.


madmax Says:

Roger Federer is currently practising with former Sampras-Coach Paul Annacone at the Grasshopper-Club in Zurich. (This was on twitter a few minutes ago).

I think this shows that Roger Federer is getting serious about re-establishing his status as the top-dog on the ATP Tour. At least he is trying to make more progress in his game, this is such positive news to me.

The 47-year old Annacone was ranked as high as 12th in the world in the mid 1980s. He is most famous for being the coach of Pete Sampras from 1995 to 2001 and then again during the summer of 2002.


Jake Willens Says:

This is a smart move by Roger. he needs something right now, but I don’t think he ever regains number 1!


jane Says:

mjt308 says “He’s “only” won the Australian Open and made the quarters of the other two slams.”

I get your sarcasm, I do. I guess people speak this way (i..e, saying Fed’s in a slump) for a couple of reasons, both fairly viable.

Firstly, Fed set the bar SO HIGH (e.g., making 23 grand slam semis, consecutively!) that any little slip (e.g., getting to the quarters rather than the semis) seems like it’s really more than it is. But it is obvious that Fed is still very much a contender, winning a slam and getting to the QFs of the other two.

Secondly, Fed is, realistically, getting “older” in tennis career terms (maybe into the last third of his career) – is he 29 yet? So I suppose it’s inevitable that he may be a step slower and may even slip a little further? Thus, people will discuss this. It’s inevitable, just like aging. But again, that doesn’t mean he is not a threat with his game – until he hangs up his racquet. Fed will always be a dangerous guy, particularly at the slams.

I do agree that hiring a coach can’t hurt madmax; rather, it seems like a wise move on Roger’s part. And as Fot and others have opined, it shows he is still eager to be at the top. That’s good news for him, him camp and all of his fans.


jane Says:

“his” camp – sorry for typo.


Deborah Says:

Great news! He might just break the GS and consecutive weeks as number one records, or get the Career Slam even – oh, wait………
Glad to see that with all he has accomplished for himself and tennis that he is still looking to improve.


Twocents Says:

Fed: Pete, I need help, quick!
Sampras: Hell, you’ve two slams clear of mine. What can I help!
Fed: Someone who’re good at getting me more cakes, from Mirka and the twin. The girls are too good. I only got Luthi, 2 to 3, and he’s way too nice.
Sampras: Well. Paul used to eat all my deserts…
Fed: Gimme his number! And I promise I’ll stop at 16.


Twocents Says:

Pete: and 285, ok?


Ela Says:

I hope to see Fed go down the drain and quick. There is no one more stuck up than him so this whole coaching will not last long.


blank Says:

Twocents,

LMAO!
That was way too funny :-)


Twocents Says:

blank,

I only have two daughters. Battle of sex, funny or not, is a daily ritual in my house. LOL!


didi Says:

I hope this works out well. Shows Roger is still wanting to stay on top and improve!


Polo Says:

Glad to hear this news about Federer. Good move by Federer. This could only do him good. Smart man.


madmax Says:

Ela,

a very eloquent post by you. well done.


stu Says:

1 Rafael Nadal 10,745
2 Novak Djokovic 6,905

When was the last time the #1 player was so far ahead of the rest of the field?!


Mg Mg Says:

I think when Rafa was world # 1 in early 2009, he was about 4000 points ahead of Roger (world #2).


Mg Mg Says:

11 May 2009

1 Nadal, Rafael (ESP) 15,360
2 Federer, Roger (SUI) 10,170


Janell Says:

Ela, you have got it so wrong it’s not even funny “stuck up” give me a break……at least roger doesn’t fake injuries like a certain other person on tour just to win a match.

Stu, go and check back and see how many points roger has been above them all nadal’s points are not that high. He’ll be losing a lot of those next year.

Anyways I think this might be good for roger some fresh eyes maybe, not that he needs a lot of help roger has the best tennis brain out there.


Polo Says:

You guys must have made Ela very happy for giving her some attention.


Tom Gainey Says:

Here’s what Federer’s agent just said from AP:

“They will take the necessary time to see if the relationship can work,” Federer’s agent, Tony Godsick, said in an e-mail. “I would assume that Paul, if he can work it in with his remaining responsibilities and schedule with the LTA, will join Roger for some of his upcoming summer hard court events in North America.”


RZ Says:

Stu and Mg Mg, I’m too lazy to do the research, but I’m pretty sure that at some point (probably in 2005 or 2006) Fed had a larger lead over the guys behind him.


RZ Says:

I hope this works out for both guys. And I hope Paul can get Fed back to #1, if only for 2 weeks!


madmax Says:

Tom,

How come you were privy to the email?

Fed was 4,000 points ahead in 2009 over Rafa, I think? and RZ, from what I could find out on previous rankings”, fed was 5,000+ points above the rest of the players in 2006 – but it’s all academic and completely pointless now.

What’s more interesting is how many points fed will drop from cinny onwards. Rafa’s turn will come next year. It all has a way of balancing itself out.

Isn’t Paul annacone supposed to be a pretty laid back but pretty astute coach? – I dont know much about him, does anyone here?


Clay Says:

Looks like Roger is in it for the long haul and glad to see it. The game needs him as we saw the ratings for Wimbledon were down 55% this year.


Huh Says:

“Polo Says:
You guys must have made Ela very happy for giving her some attention.”

LOL! ;)


Huh Says:

GO ROGER!!!!!!!!


Ela Says:

Seriously Polo that is the only good news you are going to hear about Fed cuz the guy is dunzo and yes I am happy there are people who agree with me on this Fed worship site so thanks for your attention:)


Huh Says:

Like FoT said:

Indeed more power to Roger and his team! :)


Ela Says:

Power, yea start praying now. That is what you need to resurect the guy LOL


Fot Says:

Ela who? lol! And Ela, FYI…most of those post were posted ‘sarcastically’ speaking based on the people who posted them that ‘agreed’ with you. lol!

Anyway – everyone is entitled to their opinion here.

And yes – praying doesn’t hurt either! lol!


lucy Says:

The wrong thing in this announcement comes at the very beginning: “I’ve been looking to add someone to my team”.

Federer is not looking for a coach (he intends to keep Luthi), he’s merely looking for an advisor, an on/off consigliere whom he can disregard. A coach would tell him to hit the gym, which he hates. An informal advisor will get along with Luthi and family, advise him ocassionally to “get more aggressive” and stay out of his hair.

If Annacone even suggests the real coaching relationship, this will all end at the trial stage.


dari Says:

Roger Federer, 3.0. Whatever the results, I love his thinking. He wants to adjust and find ways to WIN. That’s what every great athlete does! Best to the crew! Man oh man, do I love that its Pete’s old coach!


Kathy Says:

I don’t believe that Nadal (if that is who Janell is referring to)ever faked an injury in order to win a match, but I do know that Federer always manages to find an excuse for a loss. He rarely seems able to accept that the other guy played better than him. Maybe the fact that he appears devoid of personality makes him come across as “stuck up”
As for him getting back to No.1,I hope not,he has dominated that spot for long enough. It’s good to have a change.


madmax Says:

I’ve spent a few hours looking into the man – annacone – and found plenty out there – this is from marianne bevis,

So it’s worth looking at the strengths and skills of Annacone to find a clue to the Federer mindset.

The American was a serve-and-volley exponent, a player who would attack the net even on his opponent’s serve. He won just three singles titles but was a highly successful doubles player. Indeed, he won the Australian Open doubles title in 1985.

As if that wasn’t clue enough, look at the Annacone C.V. between 1995 and 2002: He was full-time coach to Pete Sampras, one of the greatest serve-and-volley exponents of recent years. Annacone subsequently moved on to coach Tim Henman, another excellent serve-and-volley player.

Federer has always shown a willingness to approach the net—even in beating the great Sampras himself in their only meeting. That was Wimbledon 2001, a glorious five-set battle of champion versus challenger. The stats on that day were remarkably similar, not least the tally of aces, 26 to 25.

And Federer has constantly claimed as his idols Sampras, Stefan Edberg, and Boris Becker. The common thread in all this, as if it needed spelling out, is an enthusiasm and a talent for attacking the net.

Federer has shown more enthusiasm for all-court play in the last year or so, and a willingness to try new game plans: The drop shot on clay and the wide swinging serve from the deuce court on hard and grass courts both spring to mind. He also has touch to die for and the light and fast footwork necessary to reach the net and make quick adjustments.

The added input from such an experienced tutor as Annacone could add the variety and tactical edge that have thus far stopped Federer from being a truly great serve-and-volleyer.

This all throws up the thrilling prospect of a fully rounded, fully committed, full-blooded net attacker: Federer as the complete tennis player.

One big question remains. Just how far can Federer put himself into a new pair of hands? Annacone will have to be both tough and velvet-gloved to handle such a self-contained athlete.

But if it works, it shows that Federer believes his game still has some evolving and improving to do. It also shows he’s deadly serious about staying at the top of tennis for a little while longer, and for that we should all be mighty grateful.

I find it strange that when someone wants to improve their game, there are those who wish them nothing but bad luck – don’t get it. never will.

This is about Roger wanting to remain at the top of his game, for however long, no one knows. The same goes for every other tennis player out there. This is the best news I have heard in a long time. I just hope that there is a mutual respect that grows between the two of them and it is good to see that Federer is raring to go.

As for federer getting back to No. 1, I hope so, he has dominated the spot for so long, it feels strange him not being no. 1, when 3 months ago, this was exactly where he was at.

It’s also indicative of fed’s popularity on facebook, exceeding 2 million fans, just on facebook, irrespective of those fans around the world who arent registered. what a great athlete and man he is.


madmax Says:

world class player.


madmax Says:

plus, when i look at fed’s mindset in those key moments, (after revisiting some of his match play over the weekend at the slams), I have to remember that the losses in those slams have been shoot outs, not straight set losses. We are talking 5 setters. Fed has fought, but something (whatever THAT something is, hasn’t clicked, and may be Annacone, through experience and technique – can offer that advice?).

Each of his last three losses in major finals came in fifth sets, when he may have thought (and who really knows), expected even, that his opponent would perhaps buckle, yet the opposite happened. I think it is at this point, that Roger “lost the plot”. Wasn’t ready for the comeback from his opponent, and so it was he, in shock perhaps, that eventually lost out, or gave up. It’s that tiny fraction of the mindset that Roger has lost in those key moments. I don’t know. This is ever more surprising to me, and I dont think this has to do with age, though I think many will disagree with me here.

It has been reported that Annacone ‘seems like a good choice as coach’. If Annacone was able to “reinvent” or “re-focus” both Sampras’s and Henman’s game then why not Federer’s? (I hadn’t realised he had worked with Henman until today).


Sean Randall Says:

Well, at the very least Federer’s not going to sit idle and hope he improves. He’s actually seeking out a second opinion now. So good for him.


mem Says:

Janell, just as i predicted! isn’t this a time for fedfans to rejoice and not find a way to make this an empty debate about roger and rafa. roger is making a move in the right direction at this particular time in his career and that’s a good thing! why turn it into something about nadal.

i was telling a friend after reading this article today, i said, mark my words, it won’t be long before this article about “roger working with a coach” becomes an article about rafa nadal in one way or the other. sweetie, this is not about what nadal has or has not done. it’s something positive about roger. stick to the topic and give the rafa and roger crap a rest at least until they start playing tennis again! we all know what will happen then.


Twocents Says:

Imho, Fed’s two biggest obstacles are his aging physicals and his commitment to his twins. Or in two words: being human. It’s nobody’s fault. No coach can fix that.

But, being a die hard fan, I’m not to judge any of his decisions. All pro’s have the rights to do whatever they want with their own careers. May the release of Fed 3.0 go on, unlike Iphone 4 White.


Joe W Says:

In the late 90s, I purchased tickets for a Masters event where Borg and Annacone were playing in the finals. Borg was shockingly horrible. Annacone was audibly encouraging Borg to pick up his play but he won the match handily. It was such a let down. I was savoring the prospect of watching – at a really small venue – one of the all time great players. This might sound daft but it’s nice when things come full circle. However associating Annocone with Fed, I can’t help but lament that I’ll likely never see Fed play in his prime (live).

Ten years from now will I be watching Fed getting pummeled by one of his contemporaries and a lesser player at that? The venue small enough to hear Fed’s opponent taunting…“the past is a foreign country, we do things differently here” Sigh…


andrea Says:

gotta give fed credit for still having the fire to get better and tweak his game with a new coach…at 29! (almost). with what he has accomplished to date and with the family he now has on his plate…slump or no slump, he’s still out there trying to find a way to win.

talk about motivation.


WTF Says:

mjt308 Says:

“Oh yes, slumping. I’m sure anyone on the ATP tour (even Nadal before he swept the clay season and Wimbledon) would have signed a deal with the devil to be in the position Federer is in. He’s “only” won the Australian Open and made the quarters of the other two slams.”

By his standards, that’s a slump. Just compare what he did this year to what he did in 2004, 2006, 2007. 11+ titles per year, as opposed to just 1 so far this year.

By anyone else’s standards, that’s a great result.


grendel Says:

I don’t remember Annacone having a dramatic effect on Henman. It was still the dear old Tim, looking a world beater for a few games before he drifted off into la la land. That didn’t change.

It’s curious how people get excited about coaches. Obviously coaches are hugely important to the gifted youngster. The impact of Peter Carter on Federer was immense. But when a player is moving into his twilight years, a coach really cannot be expected to be the white knight on a charger, trailing rejuvenation in his wake. Frew Macmillan has many times expressed his scepticism as to the significance of the coach, and common sense suggests to an armchair wallah like myself that he is surely right.

I vaguely remember Pete Sampras saying something about Annacone, and the gist of it was that Annacone was important to him from a psychological point of view – Paul being a cool, laid back sort of chap, he was ideally equipped to help Sampras keep his sense of perspective. I didn’t at all get the impression that he was a major influence on his actual tennis. And nor, if you think about it, would you expect that. Sampras was Sampras – nuff said.

And Federer is Federer. Can you really imagine him revamping his game at the behest of another man? And in any case, could he? No one will know better than Federer in what areas he has declined. Of course he will have discussed this with intimate and knowledgeable friends. What can a new coach add to this?

Maybe something. After all, these days, every top player seems to be surrounded by a team, and no doubt the composition of this team matters. But in the end, any further success Federer gets depends on whether the fire is still there. Simple desire is not enough – it could be just a sort of greed, wanting more goodies, more attention. There’s got to be a deep conviction that there is more inside him struggling to come out. If he truly believes that, then he can again be formidable, from time to time, by standards which he recognizes (and quarterfinals won’t do it). If Annacone has a job to perform, it is to help give flesh to such a belief, which is at the moment, I guess, rather fragile.


jane Says:

grendel, Stepanek’s work with Roddick or Cahill (et al) with Agassi are examples where coaches have seemed to rejuvenate and even (in some ways) revamp the players’ games. Oui? So with Fed and Annacone I suppose there are similar possibilities. Whether or not they materialize we’ll all find out soon enough.


jane Says:

Doh! Not Stepanek, Stefanki, of course. : /


Dan Martin Says:

I think it is a good move. At the Open in 08 when Federer seemed cooked heading into the event his doubles play at the Olympics and willingness to work his way forward more often helped him seize the title.

Even if Anacone just works with him through the North American hard court season, I think Roger moving forward more often can force guys such as Soderling or Berdych to have to play defensive tennis by hitting some passing shots on the run. Nadal is quite capable of this, but Federer playing more or less the way he did in Cincy and New York last year plus a few more approaches to the net might do the trick to blunt some of the big hitters.


sar Says:

Nadal fans:
While Novak is in Montenegro he is trying to set up an exo with Nadal for 2011.

http://english.blic.rs/Sports/6707/Djokovic-to-bring-Nadal-in-Budva


Andrew Miller Says:

Federer’s trial runs are funny. He tried and dropped Lundgreen (it was a long trial, but a trial nonetheless). He tried and dropped Higueras (short, not sweet). He tried and dropped Cahill (can’t really even classify it as short – was it one session or a few days max as trialist?). Annacone, beware: your trial shall end too! Basically, Federer sends the message that he doesn’t have coaches. Nadal has a coach, Roddick has a coach, but Federer is Federer, and he has a few coaches in his head that don’t need no coach!


Andrew Miller Says:

(Fed has a team of specialists, lower profile but no less similar to Agassi’s famous entourage: the strength and fitness coach, hitting partners, a wife that played pro tennis, but no coach – no coaches allowed in the Fed world! And, with 16 majors, Fed dont need no coach).


Andrew Miller Says:

Oh, I forgot…Federer also had Tony Roche as “trial coach”, but he too was not good enough. Federer is above coaches. The Master cannot be the pupil!


Andrew Miller Says:

(so it was a quite a trial run…192 wins from 205 matches, 25 titles and six majors in 2½ seasons; maybe Fed cant call Tony back).


mem Says:

actually, i have always believed that roger’s struggles were a result of mental regression more than tactically regression. any deterioration in the mental capacity definitely influences the tactical aspect. the only way to improve mentally is to grind out matches, if necessary, until you recover the confidence. you can’t be concerned with how pretty the win is; the goal is to regain confidence in your game and your ability to execute. at any rate, it’s always good to see when a player (at any level) is not too proud to acknowledge the need for improvement. good for him!


Andrew Miller Says:

mem makes a good point. Also, a lot of mental mistakes are physical. Federer certainly can’t be too tired from tennis – he simply has not played much this year. Also, his style is fluid – Federer is one of the most technically solid players in history (Agassi too was technically solid – something that contributed to his longetivity, so was Santoro, who beat most #1 players in the modern era at one point in his life). That should help him out.


Hypnos Says:

Interesting move.

I wonder if Annacone will suggest to Fed that he shouldn’t try to slug out from the baseline against the likes of Berdych, Soderling and Del Potro. Keep them honest by coming in once in a while, so they can’t freely take huge swings at the ball.

I am not so sure what he can do differently against Nadal, who can run down volleys and pass with the best of them. I guess keeping Nadal honest can’t hurt; it helped a bit in the 3rd and 4th sets of the ’08 Wimbledon final.


skeezerweezer Says:

Nice move for the Fedster. A win win. If it doesn’t work out, WTF? Can’t get much worse. IMO I would like to see Fed get more aggressive. This is a good fit, Agassi, Connors, and even Sampras got more aggressive in the transition game and succeeded in the twilight years. Go Fed! Look at the other way, he could have just continued to lay back with all his records and family and just played on for the heck of it. A very good sign.

!


Twocents Says:

Good cap on Fed’s coach trial runs, Andrew Miller. If I remember it right, Fed picked Lungreen over Carter at age of 16? So, he really was taking his own – maybe msot realistic – approach in terms of hiring coach, even before he became the mastro and before he had millions to mess around.

You can’t teach old dog new tricks. As for mental support, what use whoever sits there when Fed doesn’t look up to his box?

My wild guess, just for fun, is that Fed pulled these Cahill and Anacone things to make Nike happy, and to shut off the ever-louder enchating chorus of “Fed needs a coach”?

Fed can never win as long as he loses on court: without coach, he’s arrogant and afraid of change; with a coach, he’s desperate and hopeless. Welcome to Fed v.3.


skeezerweezer Says:

@twocents

Interesting take. It’s true, how many GS and other titles has Fed won without a coach ( and other so called mental issues )? Then, when he is not doing well gets one and ….?


skeezerweezer Says:

And anoder ting,

You could say that Fed has won a lot of titles without the “Crutch” of a coach like so many other athletes, so maybe now that he is older he needs one? It just goes to show you how good he really is ( Was ). Now , at 29, he may need one though? Just sayin…


Andrew Miller Says:

Hi Twocents, what you said is exactly what I think! Is Federer, the world’s greatest tennis player of all time, really going to hire a coach? If so, why didnt he just hire someone rather than do this trial stuff? My cynical self says: “Make sure Annacone has a return ticket.” The trial seems a way to save face, as if to say “we tried it out and wish each other the best,” no one’s feelings are hurt, Annacone can get a job any time with the USTA or maybe become a coach for anoother player. Cahill to this day hasn’t said much about the trial. I believe the same thing will happen with Annacone, who may be more subtle than Cahill but is he really that much different than Cahill? Here’s some articles about Fed and coaching.

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/french09/columns/story?columnist=garber_greg&id=4212328


Twocents Says:

skeezer,

Fed dumped Lungreen at the beginning of 2004 and Roche signed on in fall of 2005. That’s 1.5 year without coach and 4 or 5 slam wins. then, he parted Roche before FO07 and signed on Higerues (sp?) in April 08. 2 slams wins in btw. He’s been with Luthi ever since. So, looks like the majority of Fed’s slam wins were with a coach, contrary to general belief. And we shall never forget Mirka was a top100 pro player.


Twocents Says:

Hi, Andrew Miller.

Petty minds also think alike, don’t we? Friends told me that Cahill was in middle of contract term negotiation with Adidas when he flew to Dubai to see Fed. Fed showed the world that he was trying, and Cahill finalized his term sheet with Adi. Win win for both.

The funny thing is that unless Fed put all the Gilbert’s and JMac’s of the world on his payroll, they’ll go on tearing him down on TV and newspaper, with Nick Bolletieri the only exception. Hiring any ONE just does not cut it. And also, fed needs to buy out Rupert Murdoch and Bloomberg etc. to shut up the journo’s …


guy Says:

not sure hiring a serve and volley old school coach is the way forward. it’ll be more of the same tony roache crap, ‘just attack the net!’

it doesn’t really work that well these days, as fed is smart enough to know. you have to approach with basically a winning shot, in other words, it’s how good your baseline game is.

no serve and volley player had to face the passing power of the top tier players. nadal,murray,djoko, fed’s main rivals, eat up most approaches.

if you watch the approaches sampras got away with, it’s pretty silly compared to now. i saw him dink approaching safin’s forehand in the usopen final. you can’t get away with anything like that these days. safin was even making him pay then.

the problem with these old coaches, is a lot haven’t moved on. connors for example, who developed roddick’s kamikaze approach game a few years ago.

but who knows, maybe this guy is reformed


Twocents Says:

Stefan Edberg’s recent interview with German media fully agrees with your view on S&V, guy.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Interesting read gang, but I like the fact that Fed is outwardly reaching out to improve his game. Will it bring fruit from the tree? Guess we’ll see :)


ertorque Says:

guy, i agree with you that serve/volley not the way in today’s game. It’s all abt powerful and consistent groundstrokes off both flank, traits that all top players have now (think JMDP, Soderling and Berdych. Nadal may not have their power but I think it’s his sheer consistency and accuracy and ferocious top spin (I’m sure his lasso forehand stroke is the the cause of it all although unorthodox) more than compensate for this relatively ‘weaker’ groundstrokes. As for Roger, I believe his single-backhand’s limitation will always be a disadvantage against these double backhanders.


madmax Says:

: An article from last year with some of Annacone’s thoughts on Federer’s game.

There are definitely some parallels [between Sampras and Federer],” said Paul Annacone. “Just as it was for Pete, it’s a particularly interesting, challenging time in Roger’s career. But I would look at it with Roger in the same way as for Pete. For guys like that, it is daunting but not that daunting. They are so skilled, they can adjust, but a lot of the adjustment is mental.”

Annacone thinks Roger grew accustomed to overwhelming opponents from the back court: to being the better athlete and hitting a more, consistent and heavier ball.

“We are all creatures of habits,” Annacone said. “Roger has won a lot a certain way, and when you’ve done that for four or five years and then in year six or seven, that shot that used to be a winner isn’t a winner anymore, the tendency in human nature is to overplay a little bit. And that’s what’s happening. His couple of patterns that used to be very dominant are still successful against 95 percent of the guys — just not against that last five percent.”

Annacone understandably leans toward Federer’s hiring a full-time coach. “I always feel in an individual sport, it’s up to the guy on court, but as you watch the evolution of careers, it’s good to have someone you trust and who understands you and what you’re trying to do and also your game and the history of what’s gone on,” he said.

“He may choose to keep doing what he’s been doing and not tweaking, and that’s his choice as a champion,” Annacone said. “But for me it would be a shame. If you have a lot of weapons in your arsenal and choose not to use them, what’s the point in having them? It’s a matter of managing them a bit differently than he did a few years ago


madmax Says:

In 2009 he did an interview with l’equipe and his thoughts on coaching. Here is a brief translation (with no doubt, the loss of a word or two) (already translated by a reporter):

—-

Q: How does it feel to go so long without a coach?

RF: People think I’m coach less because I have a certain philosophy or think that only I can coach myself, but for me it has been about the relationship, I don’t think you should get a second opinion because people tell you to; you should do it only when you truly think that the time is right, because if you do it for any other reason than their input will be wasted

Q: Is their a particular coach you are waiting for?

RF: There are 2 or 3 coaches who can help; but I don’t want to discuss them as potential coaches because they still under contracts, I could hire a long-term coach while I wait for them to become free but I think that would do more harm than good.

Q: How?

RF: well there are high profile cases of coaches taking certain players backwards;

Q: Do you think its more difficult to coach someone who has won majors than a player who hasn’t?

RF: I don’t know because I can not see it from the eyes of the coach, you should ask a coach that…but when it comes to taking instructions I like to be told exactly why I should do things, I don’t believe in blind faith

Q: But are you less open to the idea working long-term with a coach?

RF: I don’t have a sentimental attachment to people when its down to work I think if I’m not developing or adding something new from the relationship than I have to break from them. That is the case with most players on the tour slam less or not.


madmax Says:

Etorque:

As for Roger, I believe his single-backhand’s limitation will always be a disadvantage against these double backhanders.

July 27th, 2010 at 3:25 am

Did you actually see Federer’s “limited single-backhand”, playing against murray at the AO this year? I’m sorry Etorque, but it was simply brilliant. Plus, that “limited backhand”, has served him pretty well so far. You forget. This is ONE SHOT in his overall game. What he “lacks” here, he makes up for in other areas.

I actually dont think Fed’s backhand is that bad.


madmax Says:

Twocents:

Fed can never win as long as he loses on court: without coach, he’s arrogant and afraid of change; with a coach, he’s desperate and hopeless. Welcome to Fed v.3.

July 26th, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Why is it that when Verdasco, Murray or Novak make “an addition to their coaching team or sack an existing coach”, it is seen as a way forward, but when Fed trials a coach, it is seen as “desperate and hopeless?”. Doesn’t make sense to me?


Gannu Says:

After a long time something positive abt federer.. Happpy to see this development and atleast it bought a smile to my face.. otehrwise i was bored to death in the absence of federer…
also glad to see comments from the ususal fed fans – Madmax, Skeez.. hope u guys are doing fine..


mjt308 Says:

Hey madmax, WTF, and jane,

Thanks for the responses. I agree that the bar has been set too high for him, and you do get used to these phrases when Federer loses. As madmax pointed out, let’s hope that this is an omen of good things to come at Flushing Meadows.


Dan Martin Says:

I think the Cahill thing was basically an issue surrounding schedules not being compatible so it never had a chance to get off the ground.

I don’t think Roger needs to just move forward all the time. Passing shots are maybe easier to hit with accuracy with today’s equipment than ever. Still, Federer is a legend. Hitting a passing shot past a guy who sneaks in now and then on key points places the double pressure of having to hit a pass in a big moment against a guy who is among the all time greats (with generally great crowd support).

Berdych saved a point at 30-40 early in the 4th set against Federer on a stab volley. Players do need to make transitions more judiciously, but I think Annacone is not a fool and must know this. Frankly, maybe Annacone provides a placebo effect or just adds a sense of a new start that breaks any negativity Roger is feeling. Either way, I don’t see consulting Annacone as a bad move. It is not going to be a panacea, but I think if Roger can find a new way or two to get his teeth into a match it will be worth it (against Berdych I never really felt Roger made Thomas adjust to much of anything and if you are getting beaten making your opponent at least adjust once or twice is not a bad ploy).


sar Says:

Reading Hardcourt Confindential by Pat McEnroe. Just starting. Interesting insider view on Donald Young.


Twocents Says:

madmax@4:08am,

Becoz Murray & Novak are upcoming youngsters, and Fed’s a havebeen. It’s really not about Fed or Murray or Novak. Same with all young and old guns. I was just refering to the general flow of absurd media story lines: cutting youngsters more slacks when maybe more doubts may be better, and yet writting off old guns who had done so much to the game quicker than necessary. My apology for not making my intention clear.

Like I indicated before, I don’t question Fed’s any decisions: be it a coach trial or dumping a coach in one week. It’s his career, a darn good one even the mighty Fed himself could not do much to mess up :-)).


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m not really sure where the negative back lash is coming from. I agree with those who said it’s nice to see Federer is still looking to improve his game. Whether or not Fed’s great with coaches doesn’t really matter. Like Twocents said, Fed’s career is pretty damn good and adding/dumping a coach any time between now and the rest of his career won’t take anything away.


Twocents Says:

My guess is that the negative back lash comes from: first and foremost the ones who can’t wait to tear the great one down at any opportunities and can’t wait to see the last good days of the boring Swiss; 2ndly, from stubborn fans like myself who don’t expect much from Fed v3.


Ben Pronin Says:

Well, Twocents, look at it this way. Federer can continue on his decline with or without Annacone. However, with Annacone he might be able to delay it a little longer. I think we’re on the same page. I’m not expecting Annacone to suddenly bring Federer back to his number 1 days. But perhaps we’ll stop seeing Federer blow match points and leads and the countless opportunities he’s been failing to capitalize on for the better part of the last 2 years. I don’t expect much from Federer nowadays as it is, but Annacone is a great fit, imo, and I think there’s more positive to this potential relationship and very little, if any, negative.


madmax Says:

Thanks for replying twocents.

I am glad I am not as negative as you or Ben. Looking at the overall nature of the posts, seems to be not only about the possibilities of the alliance, but also discussion of fed’s physique, his decline”" (don’t like that word Ben, you use it alot) and talk of fed having lost his “mojo”, “hunger”, “motivation” – this has been rambling for a while now and whilst the argument is that he hasn’t played top tennis consistently since 07, no one can deny that despite this, he’s won 5 slams since then.

Even though, by Fed’s incredibly high standards, this year alone a slam and 2 quarters isn’t too bad, in my opinion. Yes, a “decline” in terms of consistency, but when you look at what murray has supposed to have achieved and is yet to achieve, I think Federer is amazing.

Of course, I would have loved (as I’m sure he would too!), Fed to have reached the finals of both the FO and wimby, it was not to be – for now – Some argue that the physical factor is also an issue, but hasn’t Federer always had thin arms?, just take a look at the photos! He has always been lean and strong, nevertheless not pumped or muscley like some, that is how he has been built.

I remember seeing a thin and rather unhealthy looking Murray a couple of years ago – how different Andy is now – a bit of a hunk in terms of his torso and his arms, and he has worked hard for his body to look that good.

Federer’s physique still looks great to me, (will annacone get him to pump some more iron?), when he showed photos of his training regime at pre-Roland Garros, his legs looked amazing. He looked in fabulous shape. But his arms, may be some extra lifting of weights would help here – it couldn’t do any harm, (though, those skinny arms have won him many slams already).

The difference one or two muscles can make , even being slightly off-peak physically, could only be a positive to federer’s overall new attack!

Ben I disagree with you. I do think that Federer will get back to No.1, next year.

There is still no one in Federer’s league on grass and fast hardcourts if he is in shape, and there is no one in Fed/Nadal’s league on clay except maybe Soderling and DP when he’s back (if he recovers 100%). If Fed peaks physically once or twice a year during those slams it’ll be good enough to get to 18-20 slams easy.

Just look at how easily he won the Australian. Remember, the Australian had Murray’s name on it.

All the punters beforehand said it was Murray all the way! Even Virginia Wade who loves Federer, said it was Murray’s time. Fed blew murray off the court. I don’t know why some people around that time said it was a boring match. It certainly wasn’t. And how come, we had Federer playing “the best tennis of his career” at 28, and only 6 months ago. I really dont think his “decline” is that. I dont know what to call it though. It’s something. but what?

I watched the AO again a couple of times recently, and I forgot just how brilliant Federer played – his backhand was crazy good and the tiebreaker was brilliant, especially when Murray was 5:2 up. Federer just stormed the match with aggression and self-belief, something which I think has been lacking in critical moments recently. It’s all about the hunger and the mental aptitude, I think that has been what has taken a bit of a nose dive recently.

This is a step in the right direction for Federer. Whatever happens, he is showing the rest of the players that he means business once again. I think it sends out the right message to the others, that with a new potential coach who is bringing expertise, experience and a respected resume, Federer can still be counted. I am probably in the minority in terms of how long federer wants to stay playing top tennis, but reading some of his interviews, he has said very clearly that he wants to stay around for the next 7 years. So, essentially he has a good 4-6 years left to do some real damage,(similar to Agassi), and I think that’s brilliant. It’s hard to think he’ll be physically off for the majority of any of the slams, because clearly they still mean an awful lot to him and he obviously still wants to move his game forward.

But probably disagree Ben/Twocents,(don’t really care), like to believe that if Sampras and Agassi could do it, then why not federer, when federer has so much more to his game?


Twocents Says:

I’m 50/50, Ben Pronin, on this.

PA is an English. Pete Sampras’s wife was no ex pro player, and his parents were never in the picture. Robert Federer was an ex corporate executive, Mirka a former top 100 pro, and Fed himself Chairman of Player’s Council. It’s very difficult to work with one strong-minded and hugely successful person, let alone three. The potetial negative is to add unnecessary hussels to Fed’s current calm and natural rewinding course, in the hope for a couple of more glorious moments. No big deal whatsoever.

It’s wise of Fed and PA to give it a test. If it doesn’t click, be it.


SG Says:

Good move by Federer. Fresh ideas (and eyes) may be just what the doctor ordered. Fed needs to go forward a lot more now and nobody exemplifies that mindset like Annacone. I actually thought Annacone would have been a great fit for Andy Murray who is just so damned passive in big matches. As usual, Fed has the drop on Murray when it counts.


Daniel Says:

Guys, regarding ranking points you are forgetting that before 2009 the ranking was half of waht it is now with runner-up being 70% of total points. Today you have double the points and less points for anything but winner: 60% for runner up, 36% for semifinal where it uesd to be 45%.

I remember one point in 2006 Federer wss 4000 points above Nadal, this would be like 6000 to 7000 points in todays standards. You know back them it was a really huge advantage when Fed was the earliest plater to clinch Year End Number One Ranking. Nadal’s lead now look bigger but compared to Fed’s 2004-2006 it isn’t. Just look at the 2006 season: 3 Slams, 1 Slam runner up, 4 Master, 2 Masters Runner up, 1 Master Cup and some samll toruneys, 92-5;
If Nadal come close to this in this season then we can discuss his lead, but some are taking things out of proportion.


Ben Pronin Says:

Madmax, I’m not negative, I’m realistic. Federer could maybe regain his number 1 ranking, but I wouldn’t count on it. Also, he is declining. This isn’t just a slump. There has been a dramatic shift in the order of the ATP, and Federer is no longer the best player on tour. I haven’t forgotten the Australian Open, not at all. And should Federer win the US Open without dropping a set in 2 months, I won’t eat my words. Federer still has a lot of game left and hopefully Annacone will help him sort out a couple of the cobwebs he’s currently dealing with.

I think he’s in fine shape. He may have had some niggling injuries in the past few months but that’s nothing out of the ordinary for any touring pro. I never said he lost his mojo or anything like that. But he has lost a good number of matches where he was in a particularly great position to win. And I am hoping that Annacone will help him sort that out. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be untouchable. Nadal is in his league on grass. A healthy Nalbandian is in his league on fast hard-courts. Hell, Djokovic, Delpo, Murray, even Roddick can push, if not beat, Federer on the faster surfaces. It’s weird to say that you’re over exaggerating the 16-time major champ, but you are. No one is unbeatable and Federer’s days of supremacy have been over for quite some time now. Does that mean he’s done? Fudge no! He’s Roger Federer. But we’re not living in his dream world anymore, the times have changed.


Andrew Miller Says:

Hi Twocents, you are probably right on Cahill! He lined up some sweet gigs (though he already had them) – the ESPN “announcer” and “commentary” gig, the Adidas position, etc. and he seems to have said something along the lines of Fed. did not have enough money to pay him (I take it to mean that the other jobs were more stable for his family). I have no idea what health insurance is like under the wing of a major player like Federer but I have to think Adidas takes good care of its stable of coaches/players. Funny how it hasn’t asked them to give anything back to German tennis, guess globalized tennis is well, wherever Adidas is popular.


Andrew Miller Says:

Sounds like Cahill was too close to Adidas and Agassi in Las Vegas. Mr. Martin sounds right here but the Adidas partnership certainly sweetened the deal – it’s not as if Cahill travels too much these days.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/sports/tennis/12federer.html

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/cahill-turns-down-coach-job/story-e6frf9if-1111119106945


sar Says:

Even Virginia Wade who loves Federer, said it was Murray’s time.

Madmax, not surprising. Wade is British. Cahill, McEnroe, Fowler, Gilbert, etc etc all said it was his. I kind of notice that Americans, Australians, Brits, Canadians always pick the “empire” guy.


sar Says:

It was the same way with Stosur this year. All the talking heads were pulling for her and NOT the Italian.


contador Says:

i prefer what madmax has to say on the subject of federer and annacone.

but i still believe federer has been in a life transition and mental focus sidetracked like never before. he’ll balance that out and when he does?

not sure if he’ll have a return to #1. but it wouldn’t surprise me. imo it’s more realistic that he’ll have another good run and if that takes him to #1, so be it. he’ll sneak in while most have counted him “dunzo.” : )

the power hitters and muscle men of the tour have their own issues no matter what chronological age they are. just look at them: knees, wrists, hips. the running down every ball style and smacking a huge forehands and backhands from the baseline have their long run negatives.

GS tournaments are about the last man standing. and what a high price delpo paid! and is still paying.

maybe new treatments and procedures will help them. tennis evolves and hopefully better equipment to assist the safety of power style along with smarter long term injury prevention will keep the tourny withdrawals due to injury more to a minimum.

as for federer, my guess is that he is a doting father. i know, i know, many an athlete dors not register a blip on their career when the first baby arrives. federer has two and they are getting more interesting: walking, talking. fed is a family man. i bet he can’t take his attention away from them so easily atm.

for now i have to avert my eyes while i adjust to this new federer.

that said, we all know how he loves tennis and hates losing. he’s not at all down the drain!

probably not picking him to win this us open. but a federer fan like me wants to see mirka and the girls watching papa federer winning. it won’t be long. he says he’s playing until 2012. i believe him.

we’ll see.


jane Says:

sar, in addition to showing support for Murray, a lot of Canadians like Djokovic too; in Montreal, where he won in 2007, he was well supported. There’s a decent-sized Serbian population even here on the West coast. But, to me anyhow, from watching the Roger’s Cup for years, Canadian tennis fans seem to be fairly congenial, supporting different players quite equally over all. Personally I get a similar sense at Wimbledon – a tennis-loving crowd in general. It’s not like they boo or root against Murray’s opponents, for e.g.


fed is afraid Says:

roger is done, no one can help him now.


sar Says:

I’m not saying it is always that way like with Fed or Nadal but if Stosur were playing Wimbledon against say, Rezai, who do you think they would cheer for? Or Roddick against Verdasco? Or Isner against Almagro. It’s the same at the US open. I think they would cheer for Stosur over Radwanska or Robson over Kaia Kanepi. Crowds used to be against Lendl because he wasn’t “western and was an evil empire type.” There was a guy on the tennis channel talking about that, an African-American tennis expert, I forgot his name.

I’ve been reading Pat McEnroe’s book and he hints that Spanish players didn’t feel good at Wimbledon.
I’ll try to find the quote.

Another interesting thing he says is that “Goran Ivanisevic said he wished his racket were a machine gun, so he could line a bunch of Serbs up against some wall and mow them down.” (page 158)

In my opinion, this Goran thinking is what greeted Serb players at DC in Split. I am a Novak fan but if he ever said anything like that I would disown him.

This is an interesting book.


jane Says:

sar, glad you’re enjoying the P-Mac book. I can see some of what you’re saying but I hate to generalize like that re: tennis fans. I think we’re all quite individual in our supporting habits, though I suppose some choose to root for players based on patriotism etc. However, I think a good portion of tennis fans also (or only) cheer for players based on playing style, personality and more individual factors. Maybe that’s easy for me to say, though, since we don’t have many professional players in Canada. Generally, therefore, I could care less where the players I like are from. That said, I’ll often cheer on Nestor, Wozniak or Dancevic if I get the chance.


sar Says:

That said, I’ll often cheer on Nestor, Wozniak or Dancevic if I get the chance.

Haha. Dancevic and Wozniak need to get moving!

Yeah it’s not always the case. I guess Australian Tomic is having problems in Australia! LOL


skeezerweezer Says:

@ Fed is alive and doing well and not afraid.

Your continued posts are meaningless and have no factual basis. Are you sure you’re not “Mem” in disguise?

A anonymous troller who shapeshifts into Rafa “Ladal” lovers who worship the upload of a shirtless Rafa, hey it’s not only tennis, it’s
“I wish I could “Blank” with Rafa”, let’s call it for what you “Ladals” are really thinkin already. It’s not hard to decipher.

Tennis talk is only secondary to the “Troller Rafa-ites”. I have read plenty of posts by them and it is obvious it is not tennis talk anymore but ” body talk “. Look at the past posts and links to “Rafa on the beach”, “Rafa with no shirt”, just callin you out ladies on the couch touchin the keyboards hopin :).

Well, go for it girls but keep it on the ” I bought a Rafa doll ” site, and keep this site honorable and respectable for all tennis players, including Rafa, Fed, Nole, Murray, Roddick, etc. for tennis only, no “infactuation” for “physical contact” as is so easily seen between the “worshipness”.

Someone has to call them out, guess I will be the one who takes it on alone..and takes the hits…bring it…..and I am not talkin about the Anna’s, Aliesh’s, etc on this site. It’s the snake strikers who wait and strike like a “mem”? or ? oh my….

The trollers have arrived. Can you add anything other than a prediction? That is old already…….get a life.

If you want to talk Tennis, and how Rafa and Fed relate to it and there performance, bring it! But don’t bring on how someone looks so adoring without a shirt or how great they look from the behind. Honestly, what does that have to do with tennis?

On another note I saw “SALT” last nite with AJ, now she was hot!

Out!


sar Says:

Skeezer, but how was the movie?


skeezerweezer Says:

@Sar,

Lots of action, AJ was a Bada@ss, you’ll like it. But “Inception” was the best. It depends on what you like. AJ did a great job, her own stunts, and the twists in the story were good, go see it!


madmax Says:

Morning Sar!

Been a long time. I thanked you way back when, hope you saw the message.

About Virginia Wade. You missed my point :), good old ginny, always, always, picks fed, EVERY tourny. She is openly an RF fan over Murray. We had stich, wade and rudseksi, ALL FED FANS, sitting on the couch prior to the AO final in Feb. Stich was a little irritated as he was always being asked first who he thought was going to win (it’s all silly really, cos we’re dealing in ‘what if’s'), but ginny, put it out there first, MURRAY, Greg followed, MURRAY, and stich said, “I’m going to stick with Roger” – whom he predicted at the start of the tourny.

That was my point. The fact that they (ginny and greg), were both British, PRIOR to the final, had always said it was going to be Roge, but turned about at the last fence. Just interesting really that they wobbled.

Ben, thanks for responding. BUT. I didn’t say that Federer was untouchable. I just read a lot, in between the lines, and perhaps when you don’t see it so much as you are typing? but that’s okay. we are all different in our views.

And let’s face it Ben. Federer has been “over” since 2008, but we all know that argument don’t we? If he is in “decline” as you say, then I prefer what annacone says here:

Annacone thinks Roger grew accustomed to overwhelming opponents from the back court: to being the better athlete and hitting a more, consistent and heavier ball.

“We are all creatures of habits,” Annacone said. “Roger has won a lot a certain way, and when you’ve done that for four or five years and then in year six or seven, that shot that used to be a winner isn’t a winner anymore, the tendency in human nature is to overplay a little bit. And that’s what’s happening. His couple of patterns that used to be very dominant are still successful against 95 percent of the guys — just not against that last five percent.”

So Ben, we are talking about that 5% (which is a lot against the top guys) – and I am interested here Ben, you have talked a lot about Agassi in the past.

Why do you think that Agassi could reinvent/improve his game at age 35, and Fed won’t at 28, almost 29? This, I AM interested in.

Plus, it isn’t as if Federer has played THAT badly. I can’t remember all of the players as his matches this year are in a notebook somewhere and I can’t lay my hands on it right now, BUT the ones that stick in my mind in the masters tournys, against Bagdhatis, Gulbis and Berdych, where he has match point – this is what we are talking about here – not that fed has lost in straights or played really poorly because he hasn’t (imv), it’s been that point that he “should” have won, the UE that he made at that key moment. Surely that has to be mental? playing the wrong shot, and this is what Annacone has alluded to. That what used to work before, isn’t working now against those 5% of players, not ALL the players.


madmax Says:

Ben, I have been doing a bit of research this afternoon on the number 29 (which is looming for our Federer).

Agassi pretty much disappeared from tennis from 97-98, came back in 99 at age 29 to make 4 consecutive Slam Finals, winning 3. (I know I’ve said this before).

Boris Becker who went 4 years without winning a Slam, getting the Australian at age 29. (I will get to the point a bit later on, so stay with me!).

Not only that, we have the European athletics over here in the UK and so I thought I would research some of the ages of the athletes taking part as well as when they are supposed to reach their “peak”. It does make for interesting reading.

I don’t know whether you are aware of a runner called Mo Farrah? And Chris Thompson? Well they both finished the 10,000 metres yesterday 1, 2. So UK got a gold and a silver…Chris Thompson said he had read Steve Redgrave’s autobiography – I assume you know who he is, if you don’t – google him. Thompson said that Redgrave reached a point with his rowing where he knew that when the heat was on, he HAD to keep rowing those crucial 10 strokes, when the others were catching up. When he hit a mental block, and was rowing 15 strokes (so using more energy), he HAD to keep remembering/believing that he could do it and win the gold. Thompson was saying in many training sessions, he had hit this “I don’t’ believe I can do this, the other guy who I can see over my shoulder, is running better than me”. BUT, at this crucial point yesterday, when this thought was creeping in, Thompson said he remembered Redgrave’s words…when you want to row 15 strokes, but you should be rowing 10 strokes, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. YOU CAN DO THIS. YOU WILL WIN! I loved hearing about this, because how many times must Federer have hit this mental block and let the other opponent back into the game?

Numerous times.

Long distance covers the 5 kilometre, 10 kilometre, half marathon and marathon events. Comparing past and present world record holders it would appear that athletes in these events would reach their peak at the following ages:

• 5 km – Male 27 and Female 29
• 10 km – Male 29 and Female 31
• Marathon – Male and Female between 31 and 37

I’m going to look at the 10K, because of the magic number 29 for a male. Now there were plenty athletes yesterday competing in many of the track events, ranging from 18 years old through to the oldest, who I think was 39, (amazing).

So, I don’t think that Fed has reached his peak, Ben! I really don’t. I think he is going to peak at 29, or certainly have another flush of “peakness”. A second peak, then perhaps a third. Anyway, I enjoyed the thought and wanted to share it. (Hope you don’t come back in a negative way, just enjoy the moment of alternate thinking!).


Ben Pronin Says:

Madmax, phew, you gave me a good deal to respond to.

First, I don’t think Federer’s been over since 08. His reign started dwindling because Nadal really stepped up. Also, there’s the alleged mono, but Federer’s game, overall, was still sharp. 09, same thing. He was in 3 absolute classics in the 3 slam finals. Then there were some other great matches, etc. But again, he was still sharp. If you recall, he failed to reach the semis of 3/9 Masters. Pretty good results, no?

This year, he’s lost a few too many matches he should’ve won. However, at both the FO and Wimbledon, he was straight up beat. Soderling and Berdych outplayed him in every department and Federer had no answers. When was the last time that happened? Federer’s been decline at an unbelievably slow pace, but it’s increased ever so slightly in the last few months.

But that’s where Annacone comes in. I think he could help Federer further delay his decline and post some better results in the next few months. Instead of R3 and R4 exists, maybe he’ll start getting QF and SF results. And a couple of semifinals will turn into some finals and then some wins.

You keep mentioning all these 29 year olds and whatnot. It’s not like Federer’s incapable of playing great tennis. It’s not like he’s washed up and out of the game. He’s number 3 in the world and holds 1 of the 4 slams. That’s more than 99.9999% of the rest of the field. Sampras was 31 when he won his last slam. I never said Federer is done winning slams. I personally believe he is very capable of getting to 18 and with some luck might even make it to 20 (that’s only 2-4 more slams, not much for a guy like Federer).

As for Agassi’s second peak, that’s the exception, not the norm. Based on that, we should assume that Nadal will win 25 slams because he started winning at 19 whereas Federer didn’t start until 22. But that’s not how it works. Agassi was also often times injured and/or unfocused. He had a LOT more than 5% left to squeeze out of himself. Federer has been to levels above and beyond what anyone has ever experienced. You can’t ask him to go above that, or even reach it again.

But it’s not just Federer that’s the issue. Even if Federer peaks again, that doesn’t mean everyone else is going to fold. Nadal is just reaching his peak (why do you forget Nadal so soon?). And it’s very evident that Nadal’s peak isn’t a normal one, it’s Federer-esque. He’s beginning to truly dominate. And the fact of the matter is that he’s always had Federer’s number when he was worse and Federer was better. So now that Nadal is even BETTER, think about how the rivalry will continue. There’s also Djokovic and Murray who, maybe at some point, will finally come into their own. Del Potro, Berdych, there are plenty of young guys who are still maturing. And there will be more. It’s not like Federer plays well and that’s it, game over. There are guys out there who can legitimately beat him.

Btw, Agassi didn’t reinvent himself at 35, he did it at 29 after almost 2 years off. Federer has never taken a year off. He never lost time the way Agassi did. Remember, exception, not rule.


Fot Says:

I think Roger can’t win. If he had done nothing, then folks would always say “he needs a coach; he needs to improve his game; etc.”. Now that he’s hired Paul, folks are still complaining. Roger can’t win for losing! lol!

Also, I saw the post on why Cahill didn’t work but people also forgot that Jose left to work with the USTA. Roger didn’t fire Jose. And Tony Roche was sleep half the time he was suppose to be ‘coaching’ Roger. Even Roger said Tony didn’t even communicate with him any longer. Reading the earlier post I get a sense that folks seem to think Roger just didn’t want to work with these coaches but there is always 2 sides to the argument. It wasn’t all Roger’s fault in all of these dealings.

On Roger’s game. I’m just going to see how it works out. I do want him to keep winning, but even if he doesn’t – he’s still my #1 player and I have so many great memories of his tennis that I will survive even if he declines.

Madmax – great post above.

Also, I don’t get it when fans ‘hate’ players. I’m sure those people who say they hate Roger has never even met the guy. Hate is a strong word. If you don’t like a player’s playing style or personality – fine, but why post that you hate the player or post all these negative things about that player? If you like a player – why not concentrate on that player and leave the players you don’t like along? Just scratchinig my head.

Anyway – I’m for whatever it takes Roger to stay in tennis because I want to see him play for as long as he can.


madmax Says:

Ben, loving the conversation.

I don’t forget Nadal. I just have a different take on his game than what I do with Federer. I remember last year when the whole of the press in the UK were negatively reporting “rafa in decline”. It was horrifying to read all that stuff. And I happen to think there is very little sometimes between a loss and a win. Albeit, he lost over a period of 11 months to top ten players, but come on Ben. Such short memories. I just dont buy into the age crap, proof of that above with the running analogy.

And I am not a federer fan in denial. I know that I have to accept that Federer’s dominance is over, and I have, the dominance is over, and those glorious years are recorded for me to watch over and over again.

Federer isn’t under any illusion either. This is what he said recently:

“I know I cannot go on for ever, I know there will be a time when there will be more losses.

But even if I fall to No5 in the world rankings, I want to play on because I love the game.”

The comparison between Federer and Nadal.

Nadal has a long way to go before he reaches any of the records that Federer holds inspite of the 7-14 head to head in favour of Nadal, mostly won by Nadal on clay. 10:2. Federer is like poetry in motion on the tennis court, I just feel his brand of tennis is so unique. I dont like hearing all this grunting and running for every shot. I like the effortless style of play and the variety of serve, the mystery and I dont think all of that has disappeared from Federer’s game either.

He will always be the GOAT until such time that/if Nadal beats Federer’s Grand Slam record (records are made to be broken). Today, BBC replayed Sebastian Coe beating Steve Cram (who now commentates for BBC Athletics), Cram had a wry smile and said “Did you have to show me that?”, and so in this respect, his age, what is he now? 50? 52? presents a calmness, an understanding and a healthy respect that records are made to be broken. So let’s wait and see if he lasts the distance and is winning Slams in five years time as Roger is still doing.

Everyone quickly forgets that Federer was at the top of his game for nearly five years (in terms of dominance) and 9 years at the top of the ATP, that is just ridiculous. A record that Nadal, I don’t feel will ever achieve in his tennis career, but then again he might.

The fact that Federer, sometimes being referred to as having the “perfect array of shots”, wants to get better is promising.

As for the agassi reference, you say exception to the rule – well, remember he won 8 slams at age 35, Fed has doubled that 7 years younger. I would say that is exceptional and no reason why he should stop there.


Fot Says:

P.S. Take all the player in the ATP, remove Nadal’s name since he has won slams this year – and the rest of the players would gladly have this ‘off’ season that Roger is so-called having.


madmax Says:

Hi Fot.

Yes. You do have a point. Problem is majority dont see it that way. I have had to do a lot of reading this afternoon to find anything remotely positive about what is being said about Federer.

But rise above it!


madmax Says:

This is in weinheim’s post bag this week:

What’s your take on Roger Federer’s announcement that he will work with Paul Annacone?
–Matt P., New York

• I think Federer fans ought to be really encouraged by this. For one, it suggests that he’s not content with the state of his game and is willing/able to try and improve the situation. (So much for all the theories about being delusional and intractable.) He’s frustrated and is motivated to do something about it.

I also think this is an uncommonly good fit for a number of reasons. While Annacone was never a top player — a critique Federer once leveled at his early coach Peter Lundgren — he was Sampras’ aide-de-camp during many of the glory years. So Annacone has the experience with a similarly situated player, as well as the credible track record. Temperamentally, Annacone is a good match. Like Federer, he cuts a measured, dignified figure. He has a sizable temperate zone, prone neither to get too hot nor too cold, too high nor too low. Annacone knows the ATP, but isn’t going to (over)load Federer with reams of empirical data or armchair psychoanalysis. Maybe most important, Annacone isn’t Federer’s peer. One suspects that, though he’ll be respectful, he’s not going to mince words or sugar-coat criticism because of a personal relationship. He’s not going to tread lightly because he’s looking to parlay this into another coaching job down the road.

He’s also not doing this because he’s desperate for a payday. Deciphering the announcement on Federer’s website, they’re going to work on an experimental basis, see if it’s a match and take it from there. Which, again, makes sense. Worst case scenario: They wish each other well, and go their separate ways — not unlike Match.com. Best case scenario: This galvanizes Federer.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/jon_wertheim/07/28/federer.coach/#ixzz0v0XMJm8q


Thomas Says:

@Ben
I dont think Federer will be the next agassi. And there is a reason for it. Federer is a different kind of player from an Agassi, Connors, or Lendl. Those three guys had absolutely rock solid technique. Their games were built on hogging the center of the court. Movement wasn’t as paramount for them as it is for Federer. Technically, Federer’s game is built on his ability to move very quickly, dance around the ball. His strokes are longer, so they take a bit more time to produce. If you look at when Federer strikes the ball, his feet are often off the ground. That’s not text book technique. Basically Fed’s game was built more on athleticism than say Agassi’s which was built mostly of pure hitting and perfect technique. Games built on speed and athletic ability will deteriorate faster than a game built on pure hitting and timing. Dont get me wrong though. I think he has 3 majors(maybe 4) left in him. But I think he will stop winning majors when he is around 32,maybe 33. His movement realy can only go downhill. It’s not a knock on him per say, it’s just a fact of age.


Ben Pronin Says:

Thomas, I completely agree. Except, I wouldn’t say Federer’s technique is flawed, but his footwork is different.

I was watching the 05 USO final yesterday and Agassi took every ball on the rise. When he was unable to do so, he lost the point. Even if he was successful, Federer had a number of options. Federer was incredibly quick and he had some more fire power compared to now. 2-4 majors, but I’d be shocked to see him go beyond that (although I wouldn’t mind).


Mindy Says:

Ben,

It’s interesting that you mention the differences in Fed back in that 2005 USO final with Agassi. I also watched it on the tennis channel and saw pretty much the same things you did. I was really surprised to see just how great Fed was in his prime. His quickness and the power of his shots only reminded me of how different his game is now.

I think it doesn’t hit you until you see how he looked five years ago. I was also amazed to remember just how well Agassi played at the age of 35, I think he was, in that match. He was obviously at the end of his career, but he still had the game to give Fed some trouble. I remember why he was said to have the best return of serve in the game.

With Fed it seemed so effortless. That was the beauty of his game. He was smooth and fluid in his moves on court, but then he would unleash one of those blockbuster forehands that seemed to come out of nowhere and were unreturnable.

It was fascinating to see that again.


sar Says:

From Tipsarevic twitter:
http://twitpic.com/28qs0g


tennisfansince76 Says:

actually i think it is really really hard to win a grand slam after age 30. how many players have even done it? Agassi won 2 australians after age 30 but not against particularly challenging opposition ( Clement, shuettler ). sampras won the USO at 31. i thought he never should have won that match. he looked like he was going to die. he was helped by agassi’s dead legs from the hewitt semi. of course if you switch the draw then 32 yo agassi would have won. connors won the uso at 31 yo. i thought he was lucky and won out w/ a champions heart. Lendl had the game to beat him that year but choked. i can’t think of anyone else in the last 30 years. can anyone else?
definitely the agassi and connors style lent itself to over 30 tennis as their styles allowed them to make the other guy do the moving. despite taking alot of balls early Roger’s game requires hom to cover alot of court. as we saw in 2008 1/2 step loss of quickness results in a big drop off for Fed.
somebody mentioned lendl as a big success after 30 but if I remember correctly he fell off a cliff after 30.


madmax Says:

Jimmy Connors, at the age of 39, reached the 1991 US Open semi finals and won his last grand slam at the age of 32, Agassi, aged 35, and Sampras, aged 31.

Being in your 30′s shows that you can still mix it with the best of them: Mcenroe, Borg, Lendl, Vilas, Edberg and Chang, as Connors proved.


Ben Pronin Says:

So based on all this history, we can assume Federer can only win up to 5 more slams. The next 4 while he’s 29, and then only 1 more after he’s 30. Sounds like quite a proposition even for the Swiss maestro.


skeezerweezer Says:

I don’t know if all these calcs on age make sense, Fed broke the calculation bar along time ago. He is in new territory unlike any other with 16 GS at 29. It is a tough call as to how many more he will get, IF any. But if I am a betting man I would go for HIS historical odds and say, yeah, he will get more before he is done. How many? Well that is the fun of it, isn’t it? We will all have to watch….:)


Andrew Miller Says:

Agassi won his last AO at age 32 in 2003, and had an excellent year, regaining his top ranking after he turned age 33 (April 2003). In 2004′s beginning he was 33 at the AO and lost in SF to Safin in a classic match, one of the year’s best (excellent result for 33); he turned 34 during the year and lost in QF to Federer at USO. In 2005, at 34 he also lost, in QF to Federer at Australia playing what was to him one of his worst matches and getting beaten quickly. In 2005 he turned 35 in April, played the French and lost Round 1, Skipped Wimbledon, and then lost the USO final in an excellent match where Agassi played well but slipped in the third set as Federer applied more and more pressure. In 2006, Agassi was done, it was a farewell tour for all intents and purposes. He wasnt able to do his legendary work over the winter season out of injury and frankly it was tough to watch him grimace.


Andrew Miller Says:

I think Federer’s technique is rock-solid. When he’s ungrooved and nervous he begins shanking. I agree with Ben on the footwork. When Federer’s playing well in my opinion, not even a textbook could describe all the things he does “better than right.”


madmax Says:

Skeeze :),

16 slams at aged 28, my friend. NOT 29!

Andrew Miller. Yes, 33, NOT 35. Sorry. Nevertheless, still pretty awesome.

In 2003, Agassi won the eighth (and final) Grand Slam title of his career at the Australian Open, where he beat Rainer Schüttler in straight sets in the final.

In March, he won his sixth career and third consecutive Key Biscayne title, in the process surpassing his wife, Steffi Graf, who was a 5-time winner of the event.

The final was his 18th straight win in that tournament, which broke the previous record of 17 set by Sampras from 1993–1995. (Agassi’s winning streak continued to 20 after winning his first two matches at the 2004 edition of that tournament before bowing to Agustín Calleri.)

With the victory, Agassi became the youngest (19 years old) and oldest (32) winner of the Key Biscayne tournament. On April 28, 2003, he recaptured the World No. 1 ranking after a quarterfinal victory over Xavier Malisse at the Queen’s Club Championships to become the oldest top ranked male player since the ATP rankings began at 33 years and 13 days. He held the World No. 1 ranking for two weeks when Lleyton Hewitt took it back on May 12, 2003.

Agassi then recaptured the World No. 1 ranking once again on June 16, 2003, which he held for 12 weeks until September 7, 2003. During his career, Agassi held the World No. 1 ranking for a total of 101 weeks.

It’s awesome what he has achieved, in his early/mid thirties! That’s the point!


mem Says:

skeezer, RE: 7/28, 1:44 am post:

if that’s a ploy to get my attention, it worked! i take it that you wanted to hear from me. however, i’m sorry to disappoint you, but i don’t need a disguise to state my opinion. disguises are for cowards! i suppose you would know more about that than i. i’m curious though, do you own this blog? you seem to think you can tell others when to leave and where to go. are you the boss?

regarding a “shirtless nadal” it goes without saying that rafa is beautiful, charming, gorgeous, etc. etc. etc. with or without a shirt, even his critics can see that. i could use more adjectives, but time won’t permit me, and yes, the ladies go wild and who can blame them. after all, he has the whole package!

as much as i love seizing every opportunity to give nadal the credit he deserves, unlike you, i do realize that he is not the topic here, roger is and i respect that. of course, i know that there are those who can’t discuss roger without discussing rafa.

i think if you try hard enough you would be able to engage in a decent discussion without stirring up dissension by calling others trolls. the same could apply to you!


Fot Says:

mem, good post (7:18). See Rafa and Federer fans can get along! Thumbs up to you!


Voicemale1 Says:

I think Ben has been the most spot-on regarding this new arrangement for Federer. There really isn’t much Annacone can do for him. Federer, at his best, was THE best. He’s not going to learn new shots at this point of his career; and there is no chance he’s going to Serve Volley more given the way the game is today. As Ben pointed out: he hasn’t been playing badly, but the difference is he’s losing when playing well. He had Set Point to go up 2 Sets to Love on Soderling at The French, and The Sod – to his credit – saved that game and won the Set, and then the match. Federer played very very well against Berdych at Wimbledon: in 4 Sets Federer made only 18 Errors compared to 44 Winners; served 14 Aces, made only 1 Double Fault and served at 65% First Serves for the match. That’s good enough to win anything – yet it got him only 1 set.

These guys on tour have a lot of respect for Federer, they just don’t have much fear of Federer anymore. Sampras has talked endlessly on the importance of entering each event as “The Man” to beat, and everybody knowing it. Federer has lost that effect on others now. His Serve isn’t getting it done the way it used to, even when he gets the first one in. And his 2nd Serve is being sat on by these guys often enough to make Federer work harder than he’s had to in his Service Games. Moreover, he’s getting blasted on his Forehand by these big hitters more and more – he’s having to hit that shot more defensively than ever before. Which in turn leaves his backhand side open to the extent Federer has to defend more there too, and not used his beloved Short Slice offensive shot as much. And he’s not Returning as well as he used to Return.

More guys are making Federer play more Defense than he’s had to before. And his game isn’t about Defense. He’s not a scrambler or grinder, looking to get that “one more shot” back hoping for an error from the other guy. Federer’s best was the Quintessential Power Baseline Player; he was Lendl amped up to an rarified air status. The truth is his game just isn’t that effective anymore. More guys can hit hard with him off the ground & stay with him. He’s forced into more and more low percentage shots and less optimal court positions. Federer still has plenty of game as it is. It’s just not likely to return to the heydays he was accustomed to for so long. He’s never needed a coach to be at his best, and aside from Lundgren, no coach has ever brought him to his best. We’ll know soon enough whether anything pans out with this, but if his own history with name coaches is any guide, the bottom line is Federer has always known what to do. If HE’s out of ideas, then there isn’t much for Annacone to do.


Andrew Miller Says:

Madmax no worries I am a big fan of Agassi. Didnt like the taunts of Sampras in the exo in San Jose but all that aside, I think he was a great tennis player, a big argument for technique over athleticism (The Agassi-Blake match was classic at USO 2005).


Andrew Miller Says:

Tough to gauge Federer – one thing in his corner is he loves the competition. I think common things are getting him – injuries, lack of practice, increased pressure on his time, etc. It’s getting harder to be Federer! The other very real thing is that in 2010 we’re living in the world Federer helped create: uber consistency, never say die attitudes, etc., and Federer’s created his competition to an extent – he used to be above the competition but the competition had to get better – Federer and Nadal were winning everything, so everyone else had to get with the program. Now that they are with the program (meaning they’ve improved more than they could have imagined), they are more confident players.

We should THANK Federer for improving tennis!


Andrew Miller Says:

(Then again I am a fan of Marcelo Rios, who is an argument for a year or two of brilliant play and a decade of wasted opportunity)


Andrew Miller Says:

A last thing and sorry for hogging the space. A little tired of players citing Agassi for “going down to the challengers” – at the end of 1997, as Agassi and Brad Gilbert worked on the “comeback”, Agassi played two challengers in his backyard – one in Las Vegas and another in California. He had just slipped from a ranking of 63 down to 141 in a period of two months; he beat up on the competition (losing one match to 21 year old Christian Vinck, who despite a fair career got oh so close to the top 100, gaining a ranking of 101 at his best).


Mindy Says:

Mem,

Well, color me surprised to see this blatant attempt by our friend Skeezer to stir the pot and get all of us Rafa fan girls, or are we all “trolls”, up in arms again. Maybe things have been too quiet, so it’s time to come up with some more ignorant trash talk about this other site that some just cannot stop talking about.

I don’t know why this has to be some kind of strange competition between two tennis forums, this one being the superior one all the time. If Skeezer had really done his homework and read tennistalk, then he would find people happily and intelligently discussing all things tennis related and not a word anywhere about Rafa’s gorgeous face and physique.

If this site has decided to spread the beauty of Rafa around for its members to see and enjoy, then what’s wrong with that? Methinks I sense some male envy here! Of course, with Rafa you get the whole package – a hunky man who also happens to be one heck of a great tennis player! Female fans of tennis couldn’t possibly ask for more.

It is interesting that Rafa was inserted into this particular blog, which rightfully belongs to Fed. Now why would a dyed in the wool, loyal, true blue Fed fan do a thing like that? Surely not to start the Fed/Rafa fan wars all over again, hmmm?

Just when things had settled down so nicely, the cheap shots have to start flying about Rafa. After all, he can’t help it if he was blessed with God given great looks and a body to die for! To think that Fed and Rafa haven’t even started playing tennis yet and one of the special elite has started the fan fires burning again!

Finally, Skeezer this is just for you -

Before you go calling Rafa fans who aren’t bothering you “trolls”, take a look in the mirror!


mem Says:

Mindy,

skeezer is missing rafa. he can’t wait for toronto! he’s warming up getting ready to put on show when the time comes!


lucy Says:

As for invoking that Agassi second career coming in his thirties – you keep forgetting the main ingredient: Andre first took care to become absolutely ripped and only then returned to his slam-winning ways and #1 spot.

There’s only so much that a few tactical tips and mental crutches can achieve at this point in a career. Older players require better fitness than before. Older slumping players with niggles require exceptional fitness.

It’s doubtful that Annacone, a newcomer, has the authority to send Federer to the gym for some drastic fitness improvement.


Steve Says:

Some people here have no idea what Federer is doing. And they’ll be surprised by him once again in the future.

BLICK has an interview with Pierre Paganini. This is a small part on the site from the larger interview in paper.

Fitness coach Pierre Paganini in an exclusive interview

„It sparkles in Roger’s eyes“

The back pain is gone. Federers Fitness coach thinks Roger is capable of doing something great again soon

By Christian Bürge

Mr. Paganini, how fit is Roger Federer at the moment?

Pierre Paganini: At the moment he is superfit. We are practicing nearly for 2 weeks meanwhile. The holidays have been good for him.

In Wimbledon he complained about having pain. Where did those pains come from?

In principle these pains are normal. You are playing 60-70 matches in a year. Then you are going to have those matches where you care carrying a little injury with you and where you are feeling your back. Especially on grass. He didn’t felt that well and that means you play with lesser selfconfidence, which already disturbs the puzzle. On this level already little things have a big effect.

How important is fitness for Federer?

Of course it is the best when everything works. As a person, as an athlete, as a player. But the reality is that Roger just like many others sometimes doesn’t feel 100% well in matches. He knows that he can beat most of the players, even when a little detail is missing, but he also knows that it can become dangerous than for him.

Roger is going to be 29 years old next week. How do his performance parameters these days look like compared to former times?

He is exactly as fit as 6 or 3 years ago. I don’t name any exact numbers. But the measured values which you can have regarding explosiveness, speed or specific stamina, are where they must be. Adding to this Roger has more maturity because he has practiced all these years very disciplined. Fact is: You can’t really show each day what you are having in your suitcase.

So age isn’t a problem?

You are not old when you are 29 or 30 years. But at this age you already have done a lot and this is the huge difference. It isn’t your first practice or your first match. He has nearly 900 matches in his legs and x-thousand practices. You are going to feel this. What is changing now is not the quality of an athlete, but the planning is different. You have to give your body a little more time to make certain things.

The statistics of many former topplayers show that especially with 29 years mostly a decrease in general performances happens.

It’s different with everyone. Agassi had a long period like this in between. Important is the willingness. What delighted me in the last 2 weeks: Roger comes to the practice with a vigour in his head as he would be a junior. I’m really fascinated. It sparkles in his eyes. When you say to him: You are going to have 1 ½ days off he says: Maybe it’s beautiful tomorrow and one can practice.
That shows me that he has the mentally right attitude.

So Federer ticks differently?

Maybe others were less in love with tennis. Roger loves ballsports. That’s why he plays. Everything which he has done so far took a lot of energy out of him. You have to respect this. Roger practices as much as before. It also has to be divided differently. The same quantum, only arranged differently.

What do you think when people say that his time is running out slowly.

When someone at the crackerbarrel with a beer in his hand is saying something like this he should say it. You can’t be mad at him as he doesn’t know it better. What irritates me are the so-called specialists who talk about the end after every loss. When you are going to feel tennis you should come to another conclusion.

Source: blick.ch/sport/tennis/es-funkelt-in-rogers-augen-152205


madmax Says:

I’m happy that what annacone can bring to Federer’s game will be a plus for him. That seems to be the wider consensus. Everyone has an opinion on this and rightly so. However, it is for Federer and his team to decide whether this will be a long term arrangement, a short term arrangement or a flash in the pan.

Lucy, I read Agassi’s ‘Open’, and it’s not the fact that he got “ripped”. Being “ripped” doesn’t necessarily make you a better tennis player, it may make you more aesthetically pleasing, but if you read the chapter where he said to his coach that he wanted to win another slam and his coach said, “right. It’s back to basics. This is what happened. Agassi went back to basics and put his heart and soul into his training. The rest is history.

It’s all about the mental attitude towards the game and not the ripped muscles!


Purcell Says:

I’m not convinced that ‘absolutely ripped’ (see Lucy) ie spending endless gym hours trying to look like Popeye, necessarily correlates with ‘fitness or absolute fitness.’ I recollect that Andre did quite well pre abs/pecs etc. Rog has done the gym bit-I’m sure we’ve all seen the videos, and the rumour that he dislikes gym training doesn’t mean he’s not working out or indulging in his other fitness routines, which, according to practice partners, are punishing.
Surely fitness is, amongst other things, about stamina, endurance, speed, strength……These will deteriorate somewhat with age so it’s up to any athlete in this position to use knowledge of their body and experience in their chosen field to work in a way which they see as beneficial.
Looking at the recent holiday snaps of Roger, it’s plain to see that his upper body, chest and shoulders are powerfully built and these, along with his steel wrist and incredible legs have seen him through a “quite successful career!” Too fat, too thin, too this, too that chorus those with an axe to grind. He’s a fully grown, fully formed man for God’s sake.
The obsession with his ‘skinny’ arms seems to have come about because many people see them as the antithesis of the well-publicised left arm and fan -girl muscularity which Nadal, (beach pics again) has now lost. He presents a pretty ordinary looking body, and that’s good because hopefully it should teach people to look beyond the superficial and towards proper respect that he and Roger deserve for being the embodiment (sorry) of the fitness attributes mentioned above plus their own special talents.


madmax Says:

Agreed purcell. I said as much earlier.

Great read Steve. Thanks.


Purcell Says:

Madmax: I think we must have been composing our missives at the same time and you just beat me to it. Really strange how we’ve come up with similar thoughts.
Thanks Steve: Paganini has come up with the goods as usual. He’s really the sporting equivalent of his musical namesake. A very interesting low-key man.


skeezerweezer Says:

@ Mem & Mindy…

ok, ok you got me. My apologies. Those were actually good posts and I deserved them. I was hoping the post would get one of you out. :) I have to admit, if I was a lady, I would not be only looking at Rafa’s game either…..

Mem you 1:09 am post was a good one, ha!

and thanks to you both for not taking my post “Personally” :)

Yes I am bored..Yawn. Fed and Rafa not playing, Nole has “personal stuff” and Murray is limping :(

On the other hand, AJ is way hotter than Rafa, IMO :)

And now…back to Fed….. :)


skeezerweezer Says:

@Steve,

Great find and read. Tx


Mindy Says:

Skeezer,

Oh, you are missing us! It’s okay, you can say it! These are the doldrums of summer, as we await the return of our respective favorite players. Oh, the boredom! Personally, I think that I am going through serious Rafa withdrawal. Counting the days!

As far as AJ, well, as a woman all I can do is just sit back and admire her!

Now back to Fed. It’s true that he won’t dominate the sport as he has in the past, however, I have said it before and will say it again – he will still produce brilliant tennis, just not as often or as consistently as in the past. All great champions have to deal with getting older, yet somehow they come up with some great tennis and show the world that they are not quite done yet. I expect nothing less from Fed!

How many days is it until Toronto? :)


madmax Says:

Purcell! Yes! Great minds and all of that!

How many days now? It’s just not the same without the fed playing…


grendel Says:

I am surprised nobody has commented on the 2009 interview with Federer which madmax posted (July 27th, 2010 at 3:58 am)- for which thanks, madmax.

It is candid about the player/coach relationship, and therefore rather revealing. Federer is not always given the credit he deserves for the substance, as opposed to the pr froth, which tend to characterise his interviews. One interseting thing to emerge, by implication (since he doesn’t deny beong “coachless”) is that Federer can’t regard the Swiss davis cup captain as his coach, although he is often touted as such.

I like his last sentence for its honesty: “I don’t have a sentimental attachment to people when its down to work I think if I’m not developing or adding something new from the relationship than I have to break from them. That is the case with most players on the tour slamless or not.” I recall Rusedski breaking with his coach Brian Teacher just after he’d got to the US Open final. Presumably he didn’t blame him for losing – can’t help suspecting old Greg thought the world was about to open up at his feet, so poor old Teacher (a player in his day of comparable ability) had to be discarded.

Rusedski was, I suspect, a bit of a fantasist. Federer, although a romantic in some ways, is a cool realist.

b.t.w., I wouldn’t call Stich a Federer fan, or Rusedski for that matter. Rusedski greatly admires Federer, Stich grudgingly does (but then the only person, it seems, to whom Stich is prepared to grant unqualified admiration for is a certain Michael Stich.) It’s actually quite funny watching Rusedski and Stich vying for control, two massive egos regarding each other with extreme suspicion. Thus Rusedski might say in measured tones (the tone is always measured) “I don’t agree with Michael on this one..” and the camera cuts to an unsmiling Stich, clearly already working out how he can come back with a careful (and measured) dose of arsenic.

Virginia Wade, on the other hand, is a dewy eyed fan of Federer, without a doubt. As one of the very few Britons ever to have won a grand slam (and Rusedski is always carefully respectful to her on this account – whereas he’s quite prepared to walk all over poor old Annabelle Croft), Wade is naturally expected by her British audience to root for Murray. So I have been very curious to see how she manages to deal with a certain conflict of interest when Fed plays Murray. She pulls it off with some aplomb – whilst praising Murray, she somehow never abandons Federer. Only a seasoned Wade watcher, I think, could tell who she really wants to win.


grendel Says:

In my view, Federer did not play well against Berdych. Voicemail1 cites statistics to claim he did, but untested statitics are notoriously unreliable. And I don’t see how you can test the stats of players in a match – the subjective element is too strong. For instance, just who decides on what is an unforced error? Then again, a player might serve ten double faults and no aces – and still serve blindingly well. Stats (in tennis) should be regarded as sometimes useful and interesting, but rarely if ever conclusive in demonstrating quality of play.


madmax Says:

Second part of the interview with Pierre Paganini in Blick – posted on rf.com.

Q: That costs energy. Doesn’t that influence his game ?

A: Sure, but I think only positively. Federer takes also strength from the family, it also distracts him. Other players had much more problems with the adjustment.

But Mirka does an incredible good job. She empathize with Roger.

Q: So Stress with the kids is not harmful for the performance ?

A: Not at all. There are many positive sides. How many people are unhappy with 29, because they don’t feel a sense in life ?

Roger is happy. His private life guarantees, that he will play a long time.

Q: Has the new coach Paul Annacone a clear opinion, what he wants to add Federer’s game ? He was a serve-and-volley specialist.

A: Annacone is here since two days and is thrilled of Roger’s commitment. Basically it is Roger, who creates the game. You cannot impose anything to him. It is a dialogue. Roger is
much more open than five years ago. That with s-a-v-specialist I would not see it too narrow. Annacone played like that. That doesn’t mean, that he wants to impose this to someone. Everything is much more complex.

Q: How demanding is the training program of Federer in Zürich?

A: We are training now just under two weeks. Until August 5 we will have done between 15 to 17 conditioning units of 1 to 2 hours. And 18 to 24 hours on the court. The training partners
Stefan Koubek and with immediate effect Philipp
Kohlschreiber are training also.

Q: How long can Roger win Grand-Slams ?

A: Today I would say four to five years. Also if certain physiologic wearing will add. But what concerns his abilities, enthusiasm and athletic, he can keep up with the others a few more years without any problems. We plan long-term right now for the next five years.

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