Roger Federer hires Pete Sampras’ former coach, Paul Annacone, for US Open and beyondBy Howard Fendrich, AP
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Roger Federer hires Paul Annacone as coach
NEW YORK — Roger Federer is bringing aboard Pete Sampras’ former coach, Paul Annacone, to work with him at the U.S. Open and beyond.
Federer announced the hiring on his website Saturday, then discussed it during a pre-Open news conference. He and Annacone began spending time together a month ago to see whether the pairing would make sense.
“We’ve moved it from a test trial to integrating him into the team now,” Federer said, “so that’s going ahead.”
Annacone, an American, is the former coach of Sampras, Marat Safin and Tim Henman. He has been the head coach of men’s tennis for Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association, and Federer said on his website that Annacone will work with the Swiss star “more and more as his responsibilities with LTA wind down.”
Federer is seeded No. 2 at the U.S. Open, which begins Monday.
He won five consecutive titles at the hard-court tournament until losing in the 2009 final. His streak of reaching at least the semifinals at a record 23 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments ended with a loss in the French Open quarterfinals this year, and he lost in that round at Wimbledon, too.
Ranked No. 1 at the start of this season, Federer was overtaken by Rafael Nadal after the French Open. That left Federer one week shy of tying Sampras’ record of 286 total weeks atop the rankings.
Federer broke Sampras’ career mark of 14 Grand Slam singles championships by winning No. 15 at Wimbledon in 2009, then added his 16th at the Australian Open in January.
Annacone was Sampras’ coach for nine of his major titles.
“We speak occasionally about Pete and about how he was with him or about his experiences and stuff,” Federer said. “I know so much about Pete already that I never try to copy him. I never try to be like him, but I tried to learn from him as a junior because he was my hero growing up. So definitely when I do hear stories from Paul about Pete it can be inspiring.”
In the past, Federer has worked with coaches Peter Lundgren, Darren Cahill, Jose Higueras and Tony Roche. Sometimes he used a part-time coach or went without one altogether for extended stretches. Recently, Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Luthi has traveled with Federer.
Asked Saturday what Annacone brings, Federer said: “Well, his experience, I guess. I mean, you know, he’s a very nice guy and he’s very calm and speaks as experience from a player and as a coach, as well.”
Federer, who has 1-year-old twin daughters, continued: “I guess he also had kids early as a player, so he knows how to handle that. You know, it’s just nice to hear, you know, (a) different voice for a change.”
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