Federer and Cahill is History

The following article appeared in the New York Times:

Despite a lengthy test session with Darren Cahill in Dubai, Roger Federer is still without a full-time coach.

Federer, the 13-time Grand Slam singles champion from Switzerland, and Cahill, one of the most successful coaches in tennis, have long been considered a likely match. Each is understated and analytical, and Federer has a strong connection to Australia, Cahill’s home country.

But Cahill and Federer’s agent, Tony Godsick, confirmed on Wednesday that Cahill and Federer would not be working together, in large part because Cahill was not prepared to travel as extensively as Federer would have required.

Cahill, originally from Adelaide, Australia, has children ages 7 and 4 and is based in Las Vegas, where he moved in 2002 when he was coaching Andre Agassi.

“With Roger being European and all those away weeks and the kids entrenched in school here in Las Vegas, the reality really hit in Dubai,” Cahill said in a telephone interview. “It was 100 percent that. We couldn’t get past that practical hurdle.”

Federer, now ranked second in the world, is preparing to return to action at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. He has not played since losing on Feb. 1 to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

“It never really got to the point where I had to think too far and make a decision on my own,” Federer said of Cahill at a news conference in Indian Wells in comments reported by the Associated Press. “I never really had to go there. He took the decision for me.”

Federer withdrew from an event in Dubai and the first round of Davis Cup against the United States, citing concerns about a lingering, if unspecified, lower-back problem. According to Godsick, Federer’s back had bothered him in Australia. Meanwhile, Cahill resigned in February as coach of the Australian Davis Cup team, which, in theory, provided him with an opening to work with Federer after years of speculation.

Cahill said he now intended to pursue discussions with Adidas, to formalize his relationship with the sporting goods company. Cahill also intends to continue his television commentary work for ESPN.

Federer has not had a full-time coach since 2003, when he split with Peter Lundgren, a former Swedish touring pro who was as much a companion as a mentor. Federer did maintain Pierre Paganini as his full-time trainer. Federer spent 2004, the year he rose to the top of the men’s game, without a coach, then hired the Australian Tony Roche in 2005 to work with him on a limited basis.

Federer ended that relationship in May 2007, shortly before the French Open, citing a communication gap. Since then, he has relied on Severin Luthi, Switzerland’s Davis Cup captain, for part-time coaching. Last year, he worked occasionally with José Higueras while Higueras was also coaching Robby Ginepri.

But Higueras, who last worked with Federer at the end of last season in Dubai, has now joined the United States Tennis Association as director of coaching for elite player development.

Godsick said he did not know when, or if, Federer would hire a full-time coach. “Severin is in Indian Wells with him; he’s always going to be there,” Godsick said. “Certainly there will be an onslaught of résumés coming in now. But Roger’s not just looking for a coach; he’s looking for the right person to help him.”

The measuring stick remains Nadal, who has established a firm hold on the No. 1 ranking, winning three of the last four Grand Slam titles and beating Federer five times in a row.

“It’s not that Roger is playing worse,” Higueras said. “I think Rafa is playing better.”

First of all I’d like to say that when I wrote the post about Roger getting a new coach something told me not to make the new partnership so official. But as you know this is my first blog and I am still learning. Everyone else was saying  he officially has a new coach so I did the same. But I was hesitant, it didn’t seem like anything official to me, and my instincts turned out to be right. I’m not just saying this it is the truth. So I learned my lesson and next time I will know better. As you can see in the above article they will in fact not be working together now which is a disappointment to me to be honest. As I stated before I thought they were a good match and that this was the right time for him to try something different.

But instead he has opted to play it safe and change nothing. Of course Cahill said that he can’t do it because he wants to spend time with his family but that is not what he said in the previous article. To be honest with you I’m not even sure what to make of all this. For Roger’s sake and for the sake of peace I’m gonna give Roger the benefit of the doubt and assume that Cahill had a slip up before and that he came to a sudden realization that it won’t work. In the end it’s not necessary to complicate things. Things are already complicated enough for Roger on the tennis court. I was thinking that maybe Roger was being stubborn again and that him and Cahill might have had a disagreement, but after reading the article again maybe Cahill really couldn’t spend that much time away from his family.

In fact this is one of the reasons I doubted this new partnership in the first place. How can Cahill just leave his family behind and travel with Roger? Maybe he could have done it on a part time basis but Roger already have a part time coach in Severin Luthi, so not sure if it would have been worth while. For Roger to really make a change he needs a full time coach. What is very encouraging is to see Godsick say Roger is not just looking for a coach but for that right person to help him. Once again that shows me that Roger is thinking clearly and that the thing with Cahill simply did not work out for practical reaons, because I did really feel he could have helped Roger. I thought there was kind of a destiny to their partnership but it turns out there isn’t.

Here is another important aricle from the Supersport website:

Refreshed after taking a break to resolve a lingering back injury, Roger Federer is eager to resume his rivalry with Rafael Nadal at the Indian Wells ATP tournament starting on Thursday.

Federer, sidelined since losing last month’s Australian Open final to the Spaniard, said he was more motivated than ever to end a losing streak of five matches against Nadal.

The Swiss world number two, a three-times champion at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, is seeded to meet top-ranked Nadal in the tournament final.

“I love playing matches against him, especially those five-setters, seeing if I can hang with him physically without a problem,” Federer told reporters on Wednesday. “He’s the greatest challenger I’ve ever had.”

“I am really motivated because I don’t know how much better he can play. I don’t know how much better I can play but I am right there and he’s playing the tennis of his life.”

Federer was unable to seal a record-equalling 14th grand slam singles title after losing to Nadal in a five-set thriller at Melbourne Park, but he was largely pleased with his performance.

“I thought I played a great match for four-and-a-half sets,” the 27-year-old said. “I guess I let go a little bit at the end. He looked tired and I couldn’t take advantage of it.

“I think I played great off the baseline, I just didn’t serve great and I think that cost me the match also.

“He’s a great player at the moment,” Federer said of the Spanish left-hander, whose last three victories against the Swiss have come in grand slam finals.

“He has proved himself on all surfaces now and I guess it all started for him when he beat me comfortably at the (2008) French Open. He forgot how it feels losing and I had lost to him a couple of times before that.”

Federer said he would continue working with Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Luthi as his part-time coach after an experiment last month with Australian Darren Cahill had been abandoned.

“I am very happy with Severin,” he added. “We have been working the last one-and-a-half years together, so nothing really changes. I just continue with the great team that I have.”

Again it is good to see that Roger sounds positive and even though the Australian Open loss was tough on him he still likes playing against Rafa and see it as a challenge. Make no mistake about it, Roger is tough as nails. He’s not going down without a fight. He did after all win 13 grand slam titles and is a master of the game. Yes Rafa has been beating on him but lets be honest, Rafa has been in a rich vein of form of late. Maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on Roger after all. He must be having a hard time as it is and now he has all these people telling him how to play against Rafa and that he needs a coach blah blah blah. I would rather trust that Roger knows what is best for him and not contribute to all the pressure he must be feeling already.

Like he said he is looking for the right person so he is not giving up on finding a coach. And I have to admire his attitude. He is not going away and Rafa will get the message that’s for sure. If he can keep hanging in there he MUST make a break through. He just needs one win against Rafa to remember what that feels like and put doubt back in Rafa’s mind. Indian Wells starts today and even though Cahill won’t be with him now I am still very excited to have Roger back on tour as I am sure you are. I read somewhere that Roger’s back was not a serious injury but that he either had the choice of taking a break and rehabilitating it once and for all or keep playing with it. So finally we know the truth of that as well and it’s more good news!


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