Has Roger Federer Lost A Step? His Trainer Pierre Paganini Is Convinced That “He Has Not”
by Tom Gainey | May 31st, 2012, 11:42 am

An in interesting article in the NY Times from Christopher Clarey about the dominance of the elder players, Roger Federer’s fitness trainer Pierre Paganini says the Swiss star hasn’t lost a step compared to the days when Roger reigned.

“I’m convinced that he has not lost a step,” Paganini told the NY Times. “You also can’t forget that Roger has a quality of anticipation that is enormous. In tennis, you don’t only need to be fast. You need to run cleanly and use speed intelligently, and Roger is very intelligent in this department.”

Jarkko Nieminen, who lost to Andy Murray earlier today, also commented to the Times about Federer and the over 30 crowd. “I do think there will be some in this group who will be playing top 30 or 50 when they are 35. If Roger stays healthy, for sure he will be top something when he’s 35.”

Federer, who now ranks third after a long stay at No. 1 in his heyday, plays tomorrow in the French Open third round against Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

According to the Times, in 2002 there were 11 men 30+ in age playing the French Open. This year there are 37. The reason, the story suggests, is that older players are benefiting from the technology and having taken better, more knowledgeable care of their bodies.

Players are also in better shape and with the physical demands of the sport, there are fewer teens breaking through. Today, the lone teen in the men’s field, Bernard Tomic, was defeated.

The full article is here.

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15 Comments for Has Roger Federer Lost A Step? His Trainer Pierre Paganini Is Convinced That “He Has Not”

Humble Rafa Says:

True. There are better nuts and bolts to screw your knee in tightly than ever before.

Mark Says:

No, Roger Federer has not lost a step. He has lost TWO!!

Dave Says:

The fundamental reason there are 37 players aged 30+ compared to 10 years ago is the depth and quality of the Federer generation compared to the Sampras-Agassi generation. The reason given – better technology for taking better care of their body – also applies to and benefits players in their 20s as well as players in each succeeding generation. Every generation learns new and better ways to take better care of their bodies and to extract more from their bodies. However, the physical peak of most athletes is in their mid 20s, for various reasons, so players in their 30s tend to have less potential to extract more from their bodies than players in their mid 20s (every individual has a slightly different physical span of course). As well, each generation of players plays a more grueling level of tennis compared to past generations, so whatever benefits such players get from taking better care of their bodies is impacted by the more grueling level of tennis played by each succeeding generation.

skeezer Says:


I am glad Fed has lost 2 steps and is a very old man (according to the world of Mark), but has beaten Rafa twice this past year, once on a very slow HC? Hehe….keep posting those wonderful tributes about Fed with rick and roy…the all time GS title holder.

Dave Says:

Has Federer lost a step? Some casual, ignorant anti-fans presume he has lost two steps. Roger is even more judicious about running nowadays so he seems to be running less than he used to do 6 or 7 years ago. But if you watch Federer’s matches nowadays carefully, whenever he wants to chase a ball – e.g., on breakpoint or drop short – Roger still has incredible footspeed to catch up to balls. I can’t remember the exact match in Rome – the TV picture showed the ball flying away into Fed’s forehand corner (Fed nowhere to be seen), the commentator presumed Roger’s opponent hit a clean winner, then out of the blue Fed appeared in the picture and retrieved the ball. Whether Paganini told the truth or not, he knows exactly how fast Roger is today compared to 2005/2006 as he said before he has been timing Federer in sprint-type workouts for many years.

Nims Says:

I think others have become faster. It’s a natural evolution. Roger does not belong to this generation in any sense. Naturally others have trained to be better than him and had more time to do so and are younger.

What is amazing is, at times still Roger can match them with his will power. Great example is the FO 2011 Semis. He beat Novak at both defense and offense. He outran him at many points. That’s amazing.

Sienna Says:

Yes Dave absolutely. For years and years you see the player from rogers age dominating the latter stages of slams. That is a big counter argu,emt for the weakera theorist. That is only put forward by Rafatards hwo are trying to bring Roger down.

Michael Says:

I have never seen a graceful and elegant player as Roger who is a Mozzart in action. He has a game which is not too complicated. The only strain in his game is the way he serves where he slightly bends before delivering it. In all other departments, he just plays flamboyant Tennis. His achieves pace in his shots without much effort and quite naturally. As his trainer rightly said, he anticipates shots and plays intelligently reserving his stamina. There is nothing more pleasing in Tennis than to watch a Federer on song. That is the reason he has been able to demolish even Great players like Rafa, Novak and Murray with ease.

Colin Says:

This thread is getting quite musical, what with Paganini and Mozart (who’s this guy Mozzart, Michael?).
Mozart makes quite a good comparison for Federer. How about Rafa? I think one of the minimalists – not too many surprises and it gradually wears you down. Any suggestions for Nole?

conty Says:

Interesting questions, Colin. I have the soundtrack to Amelie and that does wear me down and drive me nuts after awhile. I like the his usage of the accordian, bells, ect. but wouldn’t exactly think of watching Rafa to it….but maybe. thinking….

Michael Says:


One of the best known and most admired figures in European music was Wolfgang Amade Mozart. I am sorry I added one more Z by mistake. It was a typographical error. Thanks for pointing it out.

Rafa, what fits him nicely than a raging bull.

As regards Novak, he is a virtual thunderbolt.

conty Says:

I put my ipod on and listening to Amelie, thinking of Rafa’s routine, repetitive, predictable, goes on and on, varies a little as to tempo and instrumentation but it does fit, lol… i like it. It’s bottle straightening, pants plucking, hair swiping music, repeat.

Skorocel Says:

Dave: “The fundamental reason there are 37 players aged 30+ compared to 10 years ago is the depth and quality of the Federer generation compared to the Sampras-Agassi generation.”

Or lack of it…

George Says:

I ‘ m sorry but what roger need to focus on that stage of his career is the speed . I disagree with who see him with the some speed as 3 or 4 years ago ..if you watch the movements in his approach to the ball is completely different and it’ s extraordinary talent if is not supported from an intense preparation in training will not be enoght facing top player ten years younger ..one example for all the roland garros 2012 .. The question is what does roger want to achieve ..? If He want to win a slam again or playing just to show is extraordinary class but be stopped in semifinal …

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