Federer To Work With Paul Annacone
I have a confession to make. Before I woke up yesterday and heard that Roger Federer had employed Paul Annacone on a trial basis, I had no idea who Annacone was. I’m not ashamed; it isn’t my fault I grew up in a rugby obsessed country and didn’t discover the world’s greatest sport until early 2007. I’m far too lazy to dig into the history books and read up on these people that used to do this thing called a volley, so my knowledge of tennis pre-Federer is pretty hazy. A quick google search told me Annacone is a serve-volleyer and chip and charger who achieved solid results on the ATP tour until he retired in 1992. What he’s famous for, however, is working with Pete Sampras, particularly when Sampras was on his way out. Annacone coached Sampras to his last Slam by helping him play more aggressively and, according to Peter Bodo, keeping him in line mentally. He coached Tim Henman part-time following Sampras and has only recently finished up with the Lawn Tennis Association.
I’m sure I am not the only one who needed that background check.
Now Annacone finds himself working with Federer. Federer has been working with people on a trial basis a few times over the last year or so, most famously Darren Cahill, but is yet to find someone he wants to work with full-time. Annacone represents someone who is used to coaching great players in the latter stages of their career and therefore could be a good match for Federer. Federer doesn’t need someone to teach him the finer points of forehands, he needs someone to go over game-plans with, to help him become more attacking at net, and someone to coach him through these latter stages. I should probably rephrase that, because I don’t think anyone really think Federer needs a coach. But he clearly wants someone else on his team and Annacone possibly has the right strategies and temperament to work with a man who is probably very difficult to coach.
The real news behind this all is that Federer still really wants to win. It probably would have been easier to slide off into history with his two twins and dedicated wife in tow, but the 16 time champion still wants very much to add to his collection. Obviously his Wimbledon loss hit harder than perhaps we thought it did and gave him a wake-up call. No matter what comes of this trial, one thing is for certain. Federer still wants it. And what Federer wants, he usually gets.