Exclusive interview with Paul Annacone, Roger Federer’s coach.
Annacone has told The Tennis Space that he “never really doubted” that the Swiss would win another grand slam and return to the No 1 ranking. “People were writing off Roger, and I tried not to listen because I had heard it all before.” Federer’s victory put him level with Pete Sampras on seven Wimbledon titles, and Annacone, who used to coach Sampras, said that the American had already passed on his congratulations: “He’s just sent us a note.”
Annacone on the final: “I thought both played great tennis. Andy played a couple of great sets. Roger was just able to get through the second set and then I felt as though he had a bit of momentum. That helped to get an early break in the third. I thought it was a really high level of tennis. There were just a few shots here and there, and that tends to be the case with those guys. Those guys know each other’s games so well. Once Roger had the second set done, I think he felt better about the match, he felt comfortable. I think Andy did a good job playing offensive tennis, and I think Roger did a good job getting effective on the second serve returns, and did a good job with his service games. Like I said, it’s just a few shots and points here and there and that can change things.”
Annacone on the message from Sampras: “He’s sent a note of congratulations to me and to Roger.”
Annacone on those who wrote off Federer: “I try not to listen so much because I’ve heard it all before. I heard it with Pete before. I think that Roger’s peer group are all playing great tennis and if you look at Roger’s results over the last 12 to 18 months, they’ve been pretty good. They’ve been right there. It’s not like he had a huge dip. The problem is that everyone refers back to 2005, 2006, 2007 when he was losing like two matches a year. Well, it’s a different time and they’re more great players now. I think Roger’s playing great tennis and the other guys are too. So I never really doubted that he would win another major and get back to number one, if that was a goal. Getting back to number one was never really a goal. It was a by-product of the process he’s in.”
Annacone on whether Federer takes as much satisfaction from winning his 17th slam as he did from winning his first: “I think every slam feels different. I haven’t talked to Roger too much about this one but everyone feels different. I’m sure this will feel great, his first slam since 2010. He has worked hard to stay in shape and to get in big matches. To come through and do it here, where he’s won six times before, that’s a great feeling. Roger will take a short break and then start to get ready for the Olympics.”
Annacone on whether Murray is getting closer to winning a first slam: “Absolutely he’s getting closer. Look at the matches he’s lost. Look at the match he played against Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of this year’s Australian Open. He’s right there. Losing is no fun. Andy is an unbelievably competitive kid. He’s a perfectionist. He doesn’t like to lose. He’s going to keep working hard. If he keeps on playing, opportunities will keep on presenting themselves and he will be holding a slam trophy very soon. There’s no rush for Andy. He’s losing slam finals, but so what. He’s getting to slam finals. He’s right there. That’s no magic pill. Just keep putting yourself in that situation and you’ll break through eventually.”