Say it ain’t so! Roger’s agent Tony Godick has confirmed that Federer and Cahill will not be forming a long term coaching relationship after their flirtation together in Dubai. Cahill reportedly is not prepared for the long term travel and other time requirements required as part of the gig. This jives with reports that it was Davis Cup captain Severin Lüthi – not Cahill – who attended Roger Federer’s Tuesday practice with Tommy Haas at Indian Wells. Supposedly Cahill traveled late last week from Dubai to Las Vegas and made his decision once he got home. Things are a little dicey right now – Federer may or may not hold a press conference today at 2pm to discuss matters and some newspapers are reporting that the relationship is not over, necessarily, but remains undefined. Sorry Fedophiles, we may have a Bennifer on our hands.
Roger Federer held a press conference this afternoon in Indian Wells to explain the break (courtesy of tennisreporters.net):
“He (Cahill) called me up after the Australian and asked me if I was still interested in working with him because we had contact in the last five years and after I decided not to play Davis Cup and Dubai [because of my bad back] he came to Dubai and worked a bit and we decided not to do it. It was test. He went back [home] and he told me it would be tough to do the travel with his kids and the weeks I required (20 weeks as opposed to Higueras’s 10) he couldn’t really do, so I never had to think and go too far and make a decision on my own. He took the decision for me.”
Federer said he doesn’t think that Cahill’s decision will affect him.
“I don’t have any technical flaws or problems working hard, maybe it’s about the little things, talking about the other players, some exercises in practice, it’s having someone else around. But I’m very happy with the coach I have here, Severin Luthi [Switzerland’s Davis Cup captain], he did all of last year, 35 weeks, so for me nothing really changes, I’ll continue with the great team I have. We had a good time with Darren.“
And here’s the scoop from earlier this morning in the International Herald Tribune
After flirting with Cahill, Federer is still without coach
By Christopher Clarey Published: March 11, 2009
Despite a long test session with Darren Cahill in Dubai earlier this month, 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. Both are understated and analytical, and Federer has a strong connection with Cahill’s home country of Australia.
But according to Federer’s agent Tony Godsick, Federer and Cahill will not be working together going forward, in large part because Cahill was not prepared to travel as extensively as Federer would have required. Cahill has two young children and is based in Las Vegas, where he moved when he was coaching now-retired American star Andre Agassi. Cahill also has a second home in Adelaide, Australia.
“Darren’s a great guy, and personally I think it was a good fit, but it just didn’t go much further once it came down to the traveling,” Godsick said. “Darren thought about it once he got there. Roger is a guy who lives in Switzerland and trains in Dubai, and Darren has kind of set up a comfortable life in Vegas. And I think he realized that just being on the road 20-plus weeks would be too tough a go for him with his young family.”
Federer was to give a news conference later on Wednesday in Indian Wells, California, where he is preparing to return to action in the BNP Paribas Open. Federer, ranked second in the world, has not played since losing on Feb. 1 in emotional fashion to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Australian Open, the year’s first Grand Slam tournament.
According to Godsick, Federer’s back did bother him in Australia and physicians and his longtime physical trainer Pierre Paganini later presented him with his options.
“Both the doctor and Pierre said, ‘You can either continue on with this. It’s not a major problem but it could be a nagging injury. Or you can take the time to rest it and rehab it and strengthen it so it most likely won’t be a problem in the future,”‘ Godsick said.
Cahill resigned in February as coach of the Australian Davis Cup team. He was a friend of Peter Carter, an Australian coach who helped shape Federer’s game as a junior. Carter died in an automobile accident in 2002 in South Africa, and his death had a major impact on Federer, who was by then working with former touring professional Peter Lundgren, a laid-back Swede who was both a companion and mentor.
Federer split with Lundgren in 2003 and has not had another full-time coach, although Paganini has remained his full-time trainer. Federer spent 2004, the year he rose to the top of the men’s game, without a coach and then hired Australian veteran Tony Roche in 2005 to coach 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 support. Last year, he also worked on an occasional basis with veteran American coach Jose Higueras at the French Open and Wimbledon last year. Higueras was also coaching American player Robby Ginepri.
But Higueras, who last worked with Federer in Dubai at the end of last season, has now joined the U.S. Tennis Association as director of coaching for elite player development.
“As great as Roger is, it’s always good to have another pair of eyes,” said Higueras in a telephone interview earlier this week in which he expressed enthusiasm for the possibility of Federer working with Cahill.
Cahill did not respond to an interview request, and 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 resumes 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, however, and the Spaniard has now established a firm hold on the number one ranking: winning three of the last four Grand Slam singles titles and beating Federer five times in a row.
“You look at their matches, and what I see a little bit is that Rafa is getting better,” Higueras said. “It’s not that Roger is playing worse. I think Rafa is playing better. He’s hitting the ball through the court, hitting his slice backhand better, serving better and volleying better. At that level, it doesn’t take that much to tip the scale, and the other thing is that Rafa’s best shot the forehand goes to Roger’s weakest shot, the backhand. Rafa is a great competitor. It’s tough. But he doesn’t get blown off the court, and I would say in their last two matches at Wimbledon in Australia, Roger should have won both of them.”
I’m thinking that the “family obligations” excuse is mighty suspect – Darren had to have known before he arrived in Dubai that being Roger’s coach would require grinding out the travel and other logistical hassles. I’m wondering if one or both of them just didn’t gel during their Dubai training session (or maybe Roger wasn’t willing to pay enough to make it worth Darren’s time?) The fact that Tony Godsick, himself, thought the relationship was a good one, could be evidence that it was Cahill and not Roger who made the final decision. Which begs the questions: Is Roger uncoachable?
And, damn! What do we do, now, Fed Fans!? I guess there’s still a smidgen of hope that the duo will work their issues out.