Peter Bodo interviewed Roger’s now former coach, Paul Annacone, on the reasons behind the split and Roger’s current state of mind. The short answer, from Paul, is “there’s nothing wrong, it just comes time to do things a little differently.”
This is obviously an amicable split, with Bodo likening Roger to a CEO who is so respected by his employees that they even understand when it comes time to let them go. Here’s Paul piling on the love, via tennis.com:
“Roger isn’t desperate, or panicking,” Annacone told me at one point. “We just finished two weeks work in Dubai, and this is just a guy who loves to play tennis. I’m standing there, sweating through two shirts without doing anything, and he’s working—laughing, kidding around, practicing with enthusiasm and still absorbing information. But that’s nothing new, either. The way he goes about things, his exuberance and relentless pursuit of excellence is like that of a 23-year-old. He never panics. Never did.”
Well, okay then. This statement echoes previous comments Annacone’s made about Roger’s youthful spirit and enthusiasm for the game, especially in comparison to the mind set of his other former charge, the late-career Pete Sampras, who cut a much grimmer figure in his quest for his final Major. Though Annacone’s tale of a collegial, conversational parting of ways is believable, bottom line is that Roger wasn’t happy enough with his coaching situation to keep things status quo. So why the change?
I’m actually pretty persuaded by Bodo’s theory that Roger is determined to finish off his career without any professional or personal obligations weighing him down:
Federer may also not want to take on the obligations that come from having a full-time coach on his team. For a thoughtful and responsible player wants to do well for his coach as well as himself, to affirm the confidence and satisfaction a coach also wants to feel. And that changes the conversation a bit, and brings a certain amount of pressure as well.
With homies like Mirka, Pierre, and Severin, Roger has nothing to fear and nothing to prove. It’s the rest of us, the fans, that are left feeling apprehensive. I guess we’ll see what happens. It’s worth noting that Pete Sampras, after dropping Annacone in a search for his final Major, ended up rehiring him again before he accomplished it. It’s not like Paul’s burning any bridges with his statements about Roger.
Just wondering – has anyone been bandying about Pete’s name on the rather long list of possible new coaches? That’s a fun idea!
Also – I just randomly found this nice profile of Luthi on the Credit Suisse site – definitely worth a read if you haven’t done so already.