Austrian news site LAOLA1 interviewed Austrian tennis player, Stefan Koubek, about his recent week-long training session with Roger Federer. The two players met last week in Italy, along with their coaches and Federer’s physio, Pierre Paganini, to get Roger prepped for this week’s Rome Masters. I guess Roger forgot to tell Koubek to keep mum on his top secret methods and location (they trained in Sardinia.)
Those crazy kids! (via LAOLA1):
Here’s a long excerpt from the LAOLA1 interview by Christian Frühwald, published on April 28. Huge thanks to LaRubia over at RF.com for her expert translation! (Click here for the original, in German):
LAOLA1: Last week you were allowed to spend a training week with Roger Federer and his team on Sardinia. How did the training with such a superstar go?
Stefan Koubek: It was really great. The training was extremely strong and good. I was lucky to be able to work with Roger’s physiotherapist as well, otherwise I don’t know if I would have lasted the week. I had lots of fun and was impressed how good and how much he (Roger) is training. Before, I thought he wouldn’t do that much.
LAOLA1: How exactly did the training run?
Koubek: It’s a combination of a lot of things, not just on the court. Before the tennis training he always did a fitness training. Afterwards he took a massage and so on. It’s a long procedure. To get up early in the morning, training, to loosen up. During the lunch break we had something to eat and then went back to practicing. One day in the week we had a half day off, but were on court from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Of course there was the fitness training before, again.
LAOLA1: Did you practice anything special?
Koubek: We started with drills and played a few points afterwards. At bottom, this is nothing different from what I would usually do in practice. The level is of course totally different and this time I was the sparring partner. I did all the practices like Roger. It was a mutual practice. We both benefited from it.
LAOLA1: How did this whole training week arise?
Koubek: His coach (Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Luthi) asked me at the start of the season what I would be doing at this time of the year and respectively in the summer. He wanted to know whether I would like to practice with Roger. No question I was interested in it. I told him he should tell me a date. When I don’t play a tournament at that time I would be available.
LAOLA1: You’ve been a friend of Federer’s for several years. How is your relationship with him these days?
Koubek: We are still good friends, but of course we haven’t had as much contact in the last years as before because he has a lot of things to do. We still get along really well and had a blast on Sardinia. We always joked in the training.
LAOLA1: You weren’t present at the wedding, right?
Koubek: No, I was already in South Africa at that time. Roger’s wedding took place in a really small group. Allegro and Chiudinelli were the only tennis players who were there. They’ve known each other since childhood.
LAOLA1: Do you think that Federer has changed because of the wedding? Is he more loose or relaxed or do you think it could even have a negative impact?
Koubek: I don’t think his wedding has any impact on his tennis. It will be something different when his child is born. This can go in both directions. I think he is still really motivated and is going to play tennis for a couple of years. He can afford to take his child with him on the tour. I’m not worried that it will stress him.
LAOLA1: You’ve been on tour for many years and are an experienced player. What can you take from such a practice with Roger Federer?
Koubek: You can adopt several things, although there are a couple which would be helpful, but I can’t realise them. For example, no “normal” player can afford to have a masseur, a tennis coach, a fitness coach and someone to restring the rackets. But you can really adopt many things from Roger, who is the best player in the world for me. His physical state is really impressive. He is moving very well and is extremely fit.
LAOLA1: How do you rate his chances at the French Open this year?
Koubek: Nadal is in a class of his own on clay for sure, but Roger can tame him on a good day. The opportunities are there. I wish for Roger to get the title in Paris. For me he is the best tennis player of all time and a victory in Roland Garros would only prove it.
So glad to hear Koubek’s take – sounds like Roger is training at the maximum for Roland Garros!
Where’s Roger? Federer appears at the “Young Village” in Rome: photo via Rome Masters website.