Federer May Hire Paul Annacone

Dear Fans

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.

See you soon

Roger

http://www.rogerfederer.com/en/rogers/news/newsdetail.cfm?uNewsID=1094

I thought this was great news, but as you can see nothing is certain yet. He did the same kind of thing with Darren Cahill and it never worked out. This time however I think there is a bigger urgency from him to change something, and it’s good to see he’s been thinking in similar terms than I have. Here is what Annacone had to say way back in April 2009 when Federer was going through that difficult period:

“There are definitely some parallels,” said Paul Annacone, Sampras’s longtime coach, in an interview this week. “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.”

“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.”

“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.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/10/sports/tennis/10iht-ARENA.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3

Here Annacone just echoes what I’ve said about a thousand times in my blog. So for anyone who still doubts that Roger is having a hard time changing and that he can do better if he is willing to adjust, here is more confirmation. Annacone has worked with the best and he knows what he is talking about. He is also the best possible coach that Roger can hire right now. He made his opinion very clear here and stated it in no uncertain terms. It is a mental adjustment that needs to be made first of all. Roger needs to face the fact that the way he used to dominate is not good enough anymore to dominate that 5% of guys which he needs to dominate to win slams. These guys are of course the big hitters Del Potro, Berdych, Soderling, etc. I have always thought Roger does not use his skills at the net enough, and that is pretty much Annacone’s speciality.

Roger has more weapons than he is willing to use, and this is purely out of habit. The tendency to slug it out from the base line with the big hitters is an obvious mistake, but the force of habit is so strong that even the greatest of all time can’t change it on his own. This is where he needs someone like Annacone. Luthi is not a recognized coach and he was more like a convenience if you ask me. Annacone is the real deal and it is clear from his statements what he wants from Roger. I have always said that I think Roger can win more majors if he is willing to adjust and manage his weapons better. It is great to see Roger has now realized this himself. He would not have initiated this whole thing if he wasn’t thinking about change. If he ends up hiring Annacone, which I think he should do as soon as possible, the poor form of late may end up being a blessing in disguise.


I don’t know exactly when they will begin working together. I assume the test period begins immediately. It would be great if Annacone can be around at Toronto, Cincinnati and the US Open. But even if they are not successful immediately, I don’t think that should matter. It takes time to change old habits, so Roger shouldn’t be thinking quick fix. For a long time I have thought that Roger would benefit from playing more like Sampras, especially when facing base liners like Nadal and Murray. He tends to stay in that comfort zone on the base line too much for my liking. But now with a loss of speed and power it is hurting him against more players than just Nadal and Murray. So this is a great time to make a change. This gives me new hope, because it could make the difference between Roger winning more slams and fading away fast, the way he has been doing of late.

I really hope this turns into a permanent and lasting relationship between Roger and Annacone.

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18 Comments

  1. It’s exciting to see that Roger may well be coming around to making some changes in his game! It’s long overdue, and I hope to see more Fed domination in the near future!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Would be fantastic :D

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  2. 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, glad to see that he´s still looking to improve to stay on top.
    I read that he was training with Paul today in Zurich, so he´s just working,good.

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    Dragos Reply:

    By the way I am not young, I am almost twice your age but I am glad that my comments revealed that my mind is younger than my biological age :-) . At least you said “but for your comments I think you are young too”. Roger have this gift to create the same passion in very young and very old persons :-) .

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    ines Reply:

    If you have a young mind you are a young man, no matter what your biological age is.I´m a passionate fan of Roger and I hope this works out well.
    Shows Roger is walking to stay on top.
    Fantastic news for a Fed fan.

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    Dragos Reply:

    :-)

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  3. On the Wikipedia Paul Annacone’s page is already updated as “He is currently working with Roger Federer on a trial basis”.
    I don’t know that much about Paul Annacone and I doubt know that I know too many things about Roger.
    This “trial basis” in Paul’s case and also the fact that Paul said that Roger has more weapons that he choose not to use is showing me that it is an extremely delicate moment and I hope that Roger is not going to treat without maximum attention.
    The way Paul speaks is revealing a great person that knows exactly to whom his is working and more important how to deal with this kind of persons that, as he said, have their choices as champions.
    What I hope is that Roger and Paul have the power, both of them, to create a relationship based on trust.
    There are a lot of habits that can be changed but the most important thing that should be over-passed is the attitude that Roger has about coaches.
    I hope that Paul finds a way to show he is really a value adding person and to prove to Roger that following Paul’s advices is not going to reduce the great Roger Federer to a simple executioner of a game plan but is going to reveal the hidden potential of Roger and soon enough to clear once and for all, even for the bigger haters, that Roger is the one and only Tennis GOAT.

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    steve Reply:

    Well said, Dragos! It is a delicate task coaching someone as independent and self-motivated as Federer, but Annacone obviously has experience coaching very independent and self-motivated tennis players.

    I hope this collaboration will bear fruit. Like Annacone says it is mostly a mental question of accepting the need for more variation and experimentation.

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    Dragos Reply:

    Thank you for the appreciation Steve. Somehow I had the idea that we are looking things from the same angle and you understood exactly what I wanted to stress, despite my poor English.
    I am sure that you know much more about tennis than I do and that you are following the circuit and tennis events much closer than I am, so I can say that I am happy and really honored that my opinion matches with your opinion.

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    steve Reply:

    Thanks for the compliment! I do have to say though that I don’t know that much about tennis, I am just an enthusiastic amateur and fan.

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  4. Good for Roger the game needs him as we saw the ratings for Wimbledon were down 55% this year.So Go Roger!!!

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    jane Reply:

    wow…thats serious! down by 55…says who?

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  5. See here:

    http://blog.timesunion.com/sportsmedia/wimbledon-finals-ratings-take-a-hit/4538/

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    Dragos Reply:

    This link has also a comment, only one, in which is written that is normal to be a decrease because last year in the final was an American player. I have a different opinion about this thing, mostly because Roger has fans everywhere, even in exotic countries as Romania ;D.
    Judging impartially, and not as a Roger fan, I can say that tennis can not be poorer if Roger is not going to find a way to understand Paul’s and definitely will be as rich as can possible be if those two important men for us will get along very well.
    Why am I saying that? Without Roger tennis will be some sort of “whose going to hit harder and return once more than the opponent”. The spirit of this game will be lost and without it the games will be more or less as real as a wrestling match. Sorry for the wrestling fans but Santa Claus in not existing…
    Don’t forget that for centuries all forms of tennis were exclusively played by royalty and nobility. Roger is, for now at least, the last one that has kept this nobility of tennis, no matter of what his haters are thinking about his attitude.
    I personally don’t want to see a pure physical tennis and I am sure that there are also others that are thinking the same…

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    steve Reply:

    It is great to read your enthusiastic words, Dragos! You appreciate and express well what makes Roger Federer special.

    I am happy to see someone that understands that there is a place for creativity and artistry in tennis. Thank you!

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    jane Reply:

    thanks for the link, i think the drop in viewership is due to the fact there is not an american in the finals.its nbc..so its american networks.

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  6. On the forum of the official web page of Roger there is a battle between people about who is and who is not a true fan, about Luthi’s role in the new team, about dividing the wire hair in 4 and then every piece in another 4 and so on and so forth.
    That is why I prefer to read and sometimes write here. The only reason I went online was because it was too painful to pass trough these last couple of months alone… Now when hopefully, thank you God, the sky is starting to shine again I find out that it is too difficult and painful too to be online reading comments about being true fan or not.
    I wrote a comment asking people to be aware that Roger needs peace now and not futile discussions about Luthi, true fans, half blooded fans, traitors and other aberrations. I am pretty sure that nobody will read that comment. After all I have only 39 comments there and in this discussions are involved a lot of people with astronomical number of comments that are practically interested in defending their “virtual” territory and probably they don’t give a damn about what is happening to Roger. They prefer to show others that “I am right” is more important. If this is the true type of Roger fans I am glad that I am not one of them. That is why I love you people because here passion and emotional intelligence can live together… thank you all for that!

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    jane Reply:

    is that so ..i did not knw even his official website hv got such a battle..normally if u are not his fan u would not go to his website.

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