Roger Federer is turning to Paul Annacone, who used to coach Pete Sampras and Tim Henman, in an attempt to revive his flagging fortunes. The 47-year-old American, whose coaching contract with the Lawn Tennis Association expires later this year, will initially work with Federer for a "test period" before any long-term decisions are made.
Federer has not worked with a full-time coach ever since he parted company with Peter Lundgren within months of winning his first Wimbledon title seven years ago. Tony Roche and Jose Higueras both worked subsequently with the Swiss on a part-time basis, while a trial last year with Darren Cahill came to nothing. Since then Federer has toured with Severin Luthi, his Davis Cup captain, and with Pierre Paganini, his fitness coach.
"I've been looking to add someone to my team and I've decided to spend some days with Paul Annacone," Federer said yesterday in a statement on his website, rogerfederer.com. "As Paul winds down his responsibilities working for the Lawn Tennis Association, we will explore our relationship through this test period. Paul will work alongside my existing team and I am excited to learn from his experiences."
Less than three months ago Federer held three of the four Grand Slam titles and was ranked No 1 in the world, but he lost in the quarter-finals at both the French Open and Wimbledon – his loss in Paris ended a run of 23 consecutive appearances in Grand Slam semi-finals – and has dropped to No 3 behind Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. He has not won a tournament since this year's Australian Open.
Annacone, a former world No 12, coached Sampras at the peak of his career, guiding his fellow American to nine of his 14 Grand Slam titles. He went on to coach Henman for four years and was recruited by the LTA in 2006. He was Britain's Davis Cup coach during John Lloyd''s reign as captain but announced in May that he would be leaving his post as the LTA's men's head coach before the end of this year.