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Wanted: New Coach To Guarantee Success for Federer and Murray…

Posted on July 30, 2010 by JA Allen

Roger Federer, ranked No. 3 and Andy Murray, ranked No. 4 are in the market for new coaches.

What is happening?

Andy Murray decided to split with Coach Miles Maclagan shortly after Roger Federer announced that he would be teaming up on a trial basis with former Pete Sampras coach Paul Annacone.

Something is definitely in the air.  Just what is the significance of these seemingly disparate actions by two of the tennis world’s top four?

If you are paying attention to the subtle signs, you get the feeling that the top players are girding up, preparing for an all-out assault on the hard courts where they figure to be playing for all the marbles in 2010.

Think about it.

This is the season when the current No. 1 player, Rafael Nadal is most vulnerable.  While no one can overtake the Majorcan in the next few months, the player who advances his standing by adding to his own ranking points may be laying the foundation for his tennis future.

Andy Murray

If you recall, Maclagan stepped in to replace Brad Gilbert on Andy Murray’s team back in 2007. The Scot explained the departure of his current coach of over three years by admitting that he and Maclagan had major differences of opinion about the direction or approach they were taking in terms of Murray’s career.  They no longer saw eye to eye on what was important.

That cannot be good.  In fact, it is disastrous when the coach and the player do not agree.

One must wonder who went astray in this bizarre scenario?  Regardless, Murray has made up his mind to stick with Alex Corretja until he finds a new coach––someone who will help him reach that No. 1 ranking and secure his first major.

Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic currently rank behind World No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

Murray is the only member of the top four who has not taken that giant step by holding a major trophy as a slam winner on the last day of the tournament.

This week the Scot is playing in the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles, stepping into to accept a wild card after Novak Djokovic pulled out for undisclosed “personal reasons.”


Murray has been idle from the tour since being dismissed by Rafael Nadal in the semifinals at Wimbledon.  It was just one more failure in a year of very high expectation starting with his defeat by Federer in the finals of the Australian Open.

At age 23 with two years of waiting patiently under his belt, Murray is ready to put all the pieces of his game together and be the dominant player everyone assures him he can be.  Hence––a new coach, a new attitude and a new grasp on the dream of making it to the No. 1 spot.

The time for patience has ended.

This, Murray believes, is right time for his era to begin.  It all starts with a new coach.

Roger Federer

For Roger Federer the reason for the move to work with Paul Annacone is obvious.  It is time to add another special ingredient to propel Federer to the top one more time.

When the Swiss worked with Jose Higueras he developed and fine-tuned an effective drop shot that has now become a considerable weapon in the Maestro’s arsenal.

Roger Federer worked with Coach Jose Higueras in 2008 during the clay season.

Their tenure together was a short one but Higueras helped Federer see the value of that shot on clay and Federer transplanted that stroke to other surfaces very effectively.

Annacone worked with Pete Sampras while the American added eight additional slam titles to his record book.

Federer needs a boost right now at the start of the American hard court season because the Swiss has a boat-load of points to defend after winning Cincinnati last year and making the finals of the U.S. Open.

If Federer does not stem the tide of earlier-than-expected- exits, his ranking could fall even further than his current No. 3 slot.  Right now, Federer can hope to add to his point totals and climb back up to the No. 2.

Then he can bide his time until next year during the clay court season when Nadal will be defending all his championship points.  At that point Federer will have nothing to lose––but lots of points to gain.

Presently, Federer has gone as far as he can relying on his own instincts and insights.  The Swiss needs another perspective for building on-court strategies and for assessing his opponents––Annacone, as a master of the game, can offer Federer another pair of eyes.  So the Swiss  hopes.

Federer has never needed the hand-holding, ego-bolstering kind of coach that most professionals find indispensable.  What the Swiss seeks in a coach is much more technical in nature.  After all, Federer knows his own game–-his strengths and weaknesses better than any other person alive.

He needs that individual who understands the game to tell him he can only run round around his backhand if the guy on the other side of the net serves at 115 mph or less.

Or that the inside out backhand will work on player “x” because he cannot move well to his left.  These are technical adjustments the Swiss can make in his game with adequate preparation by a coach who know his stuff and understands what Federer can and cannot do in a match.

Both Federer and Murray aim toward capuring the U.S. Open in 2010

People have accused Federer of being “stubborn” but no one has ever accused him of being stupid.

Federer has not employed a coach because he does not need a “traditional” coach with him every week of the year.

Annacone could be just what the Swiss Maestro needs to ratchet up his game for one last try at the No. 1 ranking.

So while No. 3 and No. 4 tinker with new coaches in order to make another charge up mountain, and No. 2 stands salivating in the wings, the current King waits, ready to throw them off again as they come his way.

Nadal will remain King of the Mountain in 2010––but he will not take anything for granted, knowing there will always be usurpers wishing to bump him off.

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