New York: Roger Federer is bringing aboard
Pete Sampras` former coach, Paul Annacone, to work with him at
the US Open and beyond.
Federer announced the hiring on his website yesterday,
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 him
"more and more as his responsibilities with LTA wind down."
Federer is seeded No 2 at the U S Open, which begins
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 at the same stage at
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
week 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.
"But... 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 has used a part-time coach or gone without a
coach altogether for extended stretches. Recently, Swiss Davis
Cup captain Severin Luthi has traveled with Federer.
Asked yesterday 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."