Federer Ends Partnership with Annacone

After a terrific 3 ½ years working together, Paul and I have decided to move on to the next chapter in our professional lives. When we started together we had a vision of a 3 year plan to win another Grand Slam title and get back to the number #1 ranking. Along with many other goals and great memories, these 2 main goals were achieved. After numerous conversations culminating at the end of our most recent training block, we felt like this was the best time and path for both of us. Paul remains a dear friend, and we both look forward to continuing our friendship. I want to thank Paul for his help and the value he has added to me and my team.

http://www.rogerfederer.com/en/esp/news-detail/news/4521-roger-und-annacone-beenden-zusammenarbeit.html

Something had to give, didn’t it? Things just isn’t working out for Roger right now and I for one am liking this new development. Like Roger said they achieved their two big goals and it is now time to move on. I like this mindset from Roger where he is willing to make changes. His attitude this year seems to have been “The worse things get the bigger the changes I need to make”, which I think is the way to go. Splitting up with Annacone is something that never even occurred to me, but it is certainly a big change and now Roger can make another fresh start. I would like to see him give the new racquet another chance as well. If things don’t work out for you you just keep making changes until they do. But you also need to give the new a chance. Of course the back injury complicated things with the new racquet but I wana see him get back to it in the off season and start with it next year.

Thanks Paul!

I have given Roger’s ‘situation’ a bit more thought as well. I was hoping he can lay a platform in the indoor season for 2014 but if he can’t it’s not the end of the world either. He doesn’t necessarily have to have another 2012 to win a slam. Maybe he can just have one slam where he plays really well like Sampras did when he won his last slam at the US Open. Sampras also had terrible results before he won that US Open and struggled for a long time. Roger is not Sampras though and he said he wants to play until 2016 after all. Maybe he is really thinking long term here and wants to make a new beginning. 2013 has just been a really difficult year and I think after this latest loss to Monfils something just had to be done. I mean something big. So even though it has been a successful partnership I am all for this and have new hope!

Thoughts?

 

Ps. If you guys want to know what is going on in tennis outside of Roger I am just reminding you to check out The Tennis Analyst. Part of the reason I created that blog is to focus more on Roger on this blog. If you click the link you will find my new post about Del Potro crushing Nadal today. It was beautiful!

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48 Comments

  1. You were fast with this one. It makes sense but now what or who. Do you think he will get another coach, more to be revealed.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Don’t know Susan he may just keep Luthi.

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  2. I felt it coming! It is sad, but, I did not see the fire in Paul to motivate. Great guy, it was just time to go. Many players change coaches. Since Fed is the GOAT, what coach can be better than he has been as a player. Life is full of surprises. I am happy Potro stopped Nadal. I hope he beats Djoker tomorrow.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Pat players change their coaches all the time. No big deal.

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    bartelbe Reply:

    If Del Potro plays like that, he has a good chance. When he is on form, he must have the best attacking forehand in tennis. He hit one at nearly 100mph.

    Nadal is beatable on fast surfaces with lowish bouncing surfaces. His topspin is neutralised to a certain extent, and if a player has flatter harder strokes, they can hit through him. It isn’t easy of course, but it is doable.

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  3. That was a quick update Ru-an! Impressive! I too am glad, almost relieved about the split. It’s like one of them was holding back the other, although I’m not sure in what specific area. It’s just a feeling I had this season and with mounting losses, it can’t have been easier for Paul than it was for Roger to have to go through each one. He took Roger as far as he could take him. Now it’s someone else’s turn. Or for Roger himself to do a Sampras and tell someone: “I’ve had enough of this, I am going to go out there and win a slam this year and you are going to watch me do it”. These words were spoken by Sampras to Annacone before his 14th slam at the US Open. Anyway, in Roger’s case, this just gets more interesting now and I’ve always liked these little deft moves he makes every season. Some people may think that the split from Paul and before, the switch to a bigger racket may be desparate grabs at straws of hope. Others feel that there is an element of foresight and strategy to these decisions. All very interesting indeed.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha it didn’t take much thought and writing Grumpy. Just a quick update. I don’t think with Roger it’s ever a desperate grab at straws of hope. We as fans are in the dark at times but I’m sure a lot of thought goes into these things and they are not made carelessly. Rog always had a plan and a vision, and if things don’t go as planned he is willing to make adjustments to those plans.

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  4. Hi Ruan,ye its a big change and i hope it will bring something new,maybe a spark to a new beggining.I liked Anocone but i think Roger has made right decision.He is normaly very good at making adjustments as we seen over the years,adapting to different eras-styles,players.I did not post for a very long time and this was and is only tennis blog where i ever posted or will be.I know everybody has opinion but this site changed so f much since Roger starting to loose.I mean f sake,i always just admired him and im still doing that,i does hurt that he is loosing so much but it does not change aything at all,the way i respect him,whay he achieved.Nobody can erase his cv or take away his titles.Roger as a poor season for his
    Have a nice day or nite,whenever you live.

    Pete,the fan

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Pete agree with you. It’s tough when Fed loses a lot. Roger is stubborn but not too stubborn to make a change when it is needed. He just wants to be sure it’s the right one.

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  5. sorry guys,i was typing my last comment on the phone and tried to copy paste few thing and cut my post in half so it does not make sense now and i wanted to say bit more,but will finish it 2morow,its too late where i live,thx

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  6. I predicted this move in my rant on the previous post. I said that I want Roger to fire Annacone. And finally, he did!

    Roger needs to stir something up. Otherwise, he’ll retire pretty soon.

    This move might be positive. Will see. I’m still quite pessimistic but at least Roger DID something! Finally!!!

    ….

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  7. BTW if Roger is considering a new coach – I think that Jimmy Connors would be the perfect coach for him right now!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Negative.

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    Vily Reply:

    Why are you guys so negative about Connors? I would think that Connors can relate to Roger because he is the only professional dude that actually competed late into his 30s. He would be a great motivator to Roger. He respects him but would also push him. I think that Roger needs motivation from someone that has been there and done that already. Plus he is the guy with the most ATP Titles. He is also available. Why the heck not?! Roger really doesn’t need to learn any more tricks. It’s about staying positive and pushing on – even if it means to play the smaller tournaments to get the ranking up again.

    Anyway, just a thought. We’ll see!

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    Katyani Reply:

    Nooooooo, anyone BUT Connors and Mac Enroe. Hate to say it, but he needs someone who is half Uncle Toni/ half Lendel. Not a nice guy like Annacone.
    Someone who says, look Roger, you are the best, but if you want to win, you will do it my way, no discussion, no beeing stubborn, just listening to me…

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    Kyle Reply:

    I agree. Someone who will straight up tell him “come over the backhand return even if it’s not your comfort” or “stand further back to return big serves because your reflexes aren’t what they once were.”

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  8. Hi Ruan–I too share your excitement at this change. Perhaps, that’s why Fed looked relatively calm despite his recent loss –and is just looking forward to the next round of training and change. The big question here is who will be pick? I have wondered if someone like Larry Stefanki who is also a soft-spoken but well -established coach would be good here –Darren Cahill would have been my first pick but he’s already declined in the past. Will Fed think outside the box or will he stay coach-less for a bit? I hope it doesn’t go the way it went with Jose Higueras who lasted all but a few months. So, WHO?

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  9. I agree with your comment about Connors. His personality is too erratic for Fed. Plus he did not last very long with Sharapova. I did not like him as a player.i hope that John MacEnroe just keeps on pulling for Nadal. And certainly no to Brad Gilbert.

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  10. I am just a little surprised it came so late. Anyways time for a reset. Roger is one of rare players who doesn’t really need a coach. All he needs are advisors to help him in his playbook department. Let’s hope with this he plays freely and stop thinking too much for a change.

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  11. Vily, cause we all think you are CRAZY!!! That’s why. Just messin with ya man. I’m happy to hear he is moving on from Annacone. I mentioned that months ago, and I think this will be great. He needs someone who is stronger than him, and who he respects. Look at Murray and Lendl. Lendl has Murrays respect, and I believe Roger needs someone who he respects, and whips him up,,,,into shape,,,,get straight,,,,go forward,,,,move ahead. Ok, enough of the Devo, but you get my point. GO FEDERER!!!! G

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  12. Necessary move. Change was needed.

    May be try Cahill ?

    Guys I actually it’s not about just moving forward. Roger has been a bit too defensive with his forehand. Look, serve is something that can be off some days. But the one thing that always Federer had was his killer forehand. The rally would be over as soon as somebody sent a ball on his forehand. He’d go to the lines with pin-point accuracy. He has to get his forehand to that level. He has to go for the lines more often and he has to make them and then back it up with an approach to the net.

    I feel his forehand has to become threatening as it once was.

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  13. First of all, a big thank you to Annacone. He got Roger back to world number 1 for 4 months and Wimby. That itself is a big accomplishment. But it is time now. He had to part with Paul, or hire another coach next to Paul. I don’t think he should remain coachless for a long time. He needs someone in his corner, especially now he is getting older and now that the competition is getting more strong.
    I do wonder how much effect Mirka had on this decision. Hope she was not the Yoko Ono to the Beatles….
    Now Novak vs Delpo will start. Good for Delpo. I did not see that match. But I do hear he was almost unplayable. I saw the Novak match. Wow, he played great. These are two players that I said I was disappointed in and had lost faith in them. If I can say that, then I also have to say when I was wrong. Well, I was wrong. They both played great. Hope Delpo wins though…

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  14. I never believed Roger listened to any of his coaches except Carter and Lundgren. It was obvious he never listened to or followed the advice of either Roche or Higueras. The only match under Roche where he followed his instructions was the ’06 Rome final against Rafa and he still couldn’t pull it out despite two sitter FH’s on MP’s!

    So Annacone never impacted Roger’s game either, which is sad, because I have always yearned for Fed to improve his volleys and especially his ROS and chip and charge. Annacone was a master at those tactics, but they were never incorporated into Roger’s game.

    At this point it’s all grasping at straws. Fed’s coaching is not the problem, Roger is. It is patently obvious he needs to change to a 98 frame. Like Patrick McEnroe said at the USO, ‘Fed playing with a 90 frame is like driving a Model T against Ferrari rackets of Rafa, Djoker and Muzz.” Fed also needs to start working on his upper body- he should have been hitting the gym HARD after the 2008 Wimbledon loss to Nadal.

    Look at what Andre did after 30. He got into amazing physical shape, worked on his upper body and was not pushed around on court by anyone outside of Sampras. And let’s face it, Fed needs to use PED’s or whatever other legal or illegal supplement to try and compete with Nole and Nadal, both of whom are obviously doing it. I don’t advocate cheating, but there isn’t a level playing field out there. If Fed wants any chance of winning another slam, he is going to have to radically alter his training regimen, his body and get a sports psychologist. Losing so tamely to Nadal is just pathetic.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haven’t see you in a while Candace. Yes Fed doesn’t listen to his coaches but I do think Annacone had an effect on his net game. He does listen to his coaches but on his own terms. Agree about hitting the gym hard. He should hire Gil Reyes if he is available and do whatever he says. But he is too stubborn. Agree about the racquet change too. I just think Fed is too stubborn. The changes he makes are superficial and on the surface. They don’t mean much.

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  15. Roger needs a Dr. Fuentes to please Vily, but I hope he resists the temptation. Thanks Annacone, you did a great job! And it is only a question of time until Spain has to start fighting against doping

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  16. Evere since 2008 loss fed needed a change to improve its results versus his only rival Nadal. Well he never made those besides in Madrid 2009 and they stayed there. First he needed s psychologists to help him overcome his fear when facing Nadal and he never made any efforts of hiring one or if he did he was too stubborn to improve his mentality. His stubbornness troubled him the last 5 years or so. He had a semi-change by hiring Annacone but kept Luthi as a perfect example that he fears change and likes semi-effective solutions. When a new coach comes the old one must go! The old one keeps the status quo and hold the change that must come from the new one. In such a competitive sport is better to part with a friend (your old) and keep friendly relations out of court then working with 2 coaches each dragging in different direction!Same story with the new racket – he doesn`t know when to start using it, whether to continue using it or revert to the old one…a complete mess.
    It`s naive to believe that this tandedm with Annacone was successful since honestly i did not see a major change in his mentality and game when facing Nadal and his game stayed the same. Losses to nadal in FO 2011, AO 2012, almost lost to Beaneatau at Wimby and played with Djokovic quite bizzare semifinal…there are plenty of examples.
    His old game is still enough to win some 250/500/1000 event depending on the draw but he did not improve his game. When he is on court he does whatever he feels like despite all Annacone and even Luthi might have tried to change.
    One positive thing is that he will get back in top 2 next year by even only making semis and finals on most master events :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You make some good points Toni. Roger has been stubborn in the past and not as adaptable as Nadal for instance. I also wondered why he kept Luthi around. I agree with you that when the new comes the old must go out, and that never happened. Same deal with the racquet now. He doesn’t really seem committed to change. As for being in he top 2 next year and making semis and finals of most masters I don’t see it.

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  17. I have read many great suggestions for Roger here but if he doesn’t want to do them there’s no point. Rogers game is art to me and perhaps he sees it the same way. You can’t tell a painter to do something differently to sell more paintings or tell a ballet dancer to do hip hop for popularity. Perhaps all these suggestions from coaches and fans simply go against his nature. I would have loved him to try many of these suggestions and think they would have helped. He has been on tour 15 years and is 32, maybe he’s too tired mentally even if he still loves being on tour and thinks he can still do it. Next year i think will tell the story, meanwhile i support him and love watching him play. Even with bad losses there are always the beautiful shots and him, the great man. Laver said recently that at that age he could play brilliant ond day and the next had nothing left. He didn’t understand it and wonders if Roger is having the same feeling.

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  18. Federer doesn’t need a coach to motivate him, nor as a shoulder to cry on. Only to teach him things he doesn’t already know. Once he’s learned as much as he can from a coach there’s no point in him staying with that coach.

    In his career he’s parted with many coaches–Peter Lundgren, Tony Roche, Jose Higueras. Each time he’s done OK. Now he’s ended his collaboration with Paul Annacone.

    Federer’s motivation comes from within, not without. Other players might benefit from a disciplinarian who whips them into shape, but that’s not how Federer does it. He is not a slave who mindlessly obeys someone else; his tennis is an expression of his whole being.

    If he wants it, he’ll get it, and if he doesn’t, no amount of coaching will do anything. I think he wants it, so he’s probably going to get it.

    It’s the easiest thing to claim that Federer is stubborn and unwilling to change. But it’s obviously not true. He tried to change his racket. He stuck with Annacone for three years.

    Evidently the partnership did work because Federer did win Wimbledon and reclaim the #1 ranking for a while. Presumably he did in fact absorb some of what Annacone was trying to impart, unless you think Federer didn’t actually benefit from Annacone’s input and did it all by himself, in which case we have nothing to worry about–if he really raised his game all by himself, he should be able to do it again, and there was never any need for him to waste money on a coach.

    Anyway, people put way too much emphasis on coaches. They aren’t magicians, they don’t wave a magic wand. They can’t suddenly make a player raise his game to absurd levels. Even the best coaches can only do so much. They’re a guide, no more.

    Everybody’s worried because Federer’s future looks so uncertain and he’s pushing out of his comfort zone, making big changes to his equipment and coaching situation.

    They want a magic bullet, they want a surefire, 100% guaranteed way he can instantly return to the top. Such a magic bullet exists, but it’s against the rules, and Federer has never been about the easy way anyhow. Anyone who thought he was never understood him.

    Nothing is certain. Only hard work and time could possibly get him back to where he was, and there’s no guarantee that that will ever happen. But he has to try. He has to experiment and allow himself the freedom to fail. If you don’t allow yourself to fail, you’ll can’t ever succeed.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    I fully agree with your view on Roger’s decision, Steve.

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  19. I think Del Potro is going to be a player who is going to be serious in the future for any of the other players to contend with for a long time if he stays healthy. I do wish he would clean himself up grooming is essential at this time. He looks like Jack Nickolson in Wolf. I like his attitude and once I did not. Djoker was not that much better today, but, that Del Potro had a tougher match the day before.

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  20. I agree with those commenters who say that changing coaches isn’t going to make a lot of difference to Roger now – just as it didn’t in the past. The problem for Roger is not that he needs advice on how to play but that he can’t execute like he used to. At his level, all it takes is a slight falling away in his skills and athleticism and he loses matches he once would have won.

    We have just seen that kind of sudden falling away with the new world number 1. In the last couple of weeks Nadal has been straight-setted by Del Potro, and a week before him, by Djokovic. He clearly isn’t in the kind of form he was earlier in the year up until the USO. If Roger had lost so convincingly to those two players, as Nadal just has, we would be saying he should retire – as some here do. The difference with Nadal is that we see this kind of decline at the same time every year, and we know that – like Arnie the Terminator – he “will be back”. Not so for Roger, for whom decline appears to be a one-way street. Outside of doping, which I happen to think is the line Roger won’t cross, there seems no obvious way he can roll back the years. I am picking 2014 will be his last year on the tour. Unlike many players, it won’t be injury that puts an end to his career but the losses he can’t reverse.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Not sure if doping has anything to do with Nadal’s form during the indoor season Rich. He is just not a very good indoor player. Like Sampras was not a very good clay court player.

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    rich Reply:

    Sampras was actually a pretty good clay-court player; he made the semi-finals of the French. But with racquets that had none of the power of today’s weapons (racquets which have contributed to the effect of “equalising” most surfaces) he was nowhere near as good on clay as he was on hard-court and of course grass.

    I don’t happen to think the problem for Nadal is indoor courts; both Beijing and Shanghai, where he got thumped, are outdoor courts. He loses power later in the year – it makes all the difference. His measured groundstroke speed in Shanghai was well below his usual average (which is typically considerably over 120kph) – and, more importantly, was below that of his opponents. The Nadal that destroyed Federer in Rome was hitting bigger than I have ever seen in a tennis player; same with the USO. If he was still playing like that now he would win indoors without a doubt (which he showed he can do in winning Madrid in 2005 when it was indoors), including even winning the World Tour Finals in London in December. But of course it won’t happen. As one wag in the tennis media wrote, he suffers from “affective seasonal tennis disorder”. Good news for Mayer and Dodig. (Who?)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well Sampras and Nadal are about on a similar level as far as their records on clay and indoor goes. Nadal has won an indoor MS and a WTF final as well.

    As for Nadal’s loss of power I didn’t see any stats on it but that could be due to tiredness as well. It’s been a long year after all. Or it could be a loss of confidence after getting spanked by Djokovic in Beijing. If it was so easy for Nadal to win indoors he would, because he would know not having won the WTF is a flaw in his resume.

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    rich Reply:

    Another explanation is that he cycles down later in the year. It isn’t just his results, or the surfaces. He isn’t the same player later in the year that he is over the first half of the season. I don’t buy the reason is “fatigue” in the only sportsman I have never seen tire.

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    Gargantouas Reply:

    Great points Rich. Nadal does seem more human during the fall tournaments. Just a bit less fast and less powerful compared to his usually devastating spring-summer form. Some people think it’s the different surface; guess they forgot how Nadal played in Cinci few weeks ago. Funny thing is this happens every year! Rhinoceros in the room?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Not saying he is not ‘cycling down'(still not sure what the reason for that is). Just giving and alternate explanation since we don’t know the truth anyway. He does put a lot of effort into the clay season especially, and probably feels since he is not that great indoors that he may as well be tired at the end of the season. I don’t think he cares an awful lot about the indoor season.

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    Gargantouas Reply:

    Ruan, I agree that we don’t know the truth and doping accusations could be totally invalid. I for one though can’t trust someone who keeps using injury excuses to get extended breaks from the tour. His 2013 season makes the possibility of a career-threatening injury laughable; if there was such an injury he wouldn’t play all the hard court tournaments he did (he even played doubles in some) but rather focus on some to reduce the load on his knees.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    As I said, I’m not excluding the possibility of doping at all. I was just giving some other possible explanations as well. I have indirectly accused Nadal of doping myself. I am doing this for the sake of fairness.

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    rich Reply:

    It is strange that Nadal has this falling off every year at about the same time. I don’t think it’s because his top priority is the clay-court season. Gustavo Kuerten was a clay-court specialist (the winner of 3 French titles among others) but in 2000 he beat Sampras in the WTF(indoors in Frankfurt) to take the world no. 1 spot for the first time. If Kuerten could maintain his form throughout the year then surely for an “uber-athlete” like Nadal it would be a piece of cake? Unless there is something else going on. I am sure if Nadal had a way of winning titles later in the year he would. That’s his nature. Winning, not just playing.

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  21. Hey guys, I do hope that now Annacone is no longer with Roger, that there will be no run for Paul…. You know, that other players want him as a coach right now, because he not only coached the Goat for 3 years, but also got him Wimby and world number 1. Hope Paul will not “sell” his secrets to another player on how to “beat” Roger !!! Another player could easily hire Paul now and find out the “dirt” on Roger’s weaknesses, his flaws and how to beat him… Anyone wonders about that too???

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  22. I never really liked Annacone to be honest. I guess it most likely had to do with his temperament in general. As soon as he started working with Roger, he tried to make him change his mindset on how to win the points. The plan was to start shortening rallies by being more aggressive. I’m not saying it was a bad plan, it’s just that (I think) they overdid it. As a result, numerous mishits and shanks started coming off Roger’s racquet which gradually led to him losing confidence in himself. In other words, I didn’t like the fact that PA treated Fed as if he were 32 y.o already when they started working together in 2010. Anyway, that’s just my opinion. What do you think of Jim Courier? He strikes me as a serious guy who could help Roger deeply believe in himself again and inspire him to achieve many more things in the sport. I also like the fact that he has an extensive knowledge of rackets and strings. He could really help a reluctant Fed to change his racket. Is he still the captain of the US DC team?

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  23. Hi Ruan,

    Thank you for posting this up so quickly.

    Looking at the statement, esp. “After numerous conversations…” it does seem like PA and the might Fed disagreed several times over way forward strategy and tactics, bigger racquet etc. I get the feeling this has persisted all season leading into the US open where Fed’s loss probably made his mind up for him. Since then PA has not been spotted around the Fed. I think the mighty Fed knows what he is doing and its only a matter of time before he turns this around – keep the faith 2014 is coming!!!

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