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Tenaciously Tennis


Team Changes: Federer and Murray Get New Coaches

It’s been recently announced that world number three Roger Federer and world number four Andy Murray have made some major decisions in their coaching going into the US Open Series. Federer, who’s been without a full-tim coach since he split with Tony Roche in 2007, is partnering up with Pete Sampras’ former go-to guy, Paul Annacone. Andy Murray, however, called it quits with Miles Maclagan — his full-time coach after ending his partnership with Brad Gilbert.

For Federer, the decision signals possible unease with two quarterfinal losses at the French Open and Wimbledon, events he dominated last year. As a result, the 16-time Grand Slam champion has fallen in the rankings, while rival Rafael Nadal finds himself in a commanding top spot. Yes, Federer won the Australian Open, but he’s going to need to get to the semifinals at the US Open at the least to save the year from being marked as the beginning of the end. Personally, I think he has more Grand Slam titles in him — at least enough to make it to 20 in total. We’ll see how Annacone factors into the next couple months.

As for Murray, firing Maclagan shows frustration with his game to an extent. Two times, Murray had the chance to win a Grand Slam title, and both times he was ousted easily by Federer. Murray replaced Maclagan, his coach for less than three years, with Alex Corretja, a player who got to two French Open finals. Corretja has been Murray’s part-time coach for about two years now.

According to a recent article on Telegraph.co.uk, “the three men [Murray, Maclagan, and Corretja] were finding it difficult to work together. Although Maclagan was Murray’s main coach, Corretja had been working with the team as a coaching adviser since May 2008, and will continue on a part-time basis in the build-up to the US Open.” Whatever the reason, let’s hope the change benefits Murray, who’s been having a great year, despite some lopsided losses in the late stages of the big events. For instance, Nadal beat Murray 6–4, 7–6 (6), 6–4 in the Wimbledon semis, before winning the title against Tomas Berdych.

Will these changes for the top men prove successful as the summer hard court season continues? We’ll have to wait and see. I’ll be judging the switch-ups based on their performance at the US Open in September.

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