Eight years after coaching Pete Sampras to his 14th and last major title at the U.S. Open , Paul Annacone will take his familiar seat in the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Evening No.1 of this year’s event after being formally integrated into Roger Federer’s support team as coach. Annacone, Sampras’ coach for nine of the American’s majors, is still technically contracted to Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association where he has spent almost four years as Head Coach of Men’s Tennis and only last week was fulfilling his duties as Jamie Baker and Alex Bogdanovic failed in their efforts to qualify. The 47 year-old Long Islander, who also coached Britain’s Tim Henman to semi-finals at Wimbledon, the US Open and the French Open, spent a trial period with Federer earlier this month at the Toronto Masters 1000 series event when the Swiss reached the final. “We’ve moved it from a test trial to integrating Paul into the team now so that’s going ahead,” said Federer who went on to win his first title since January’s Australian Open at the following Cincinnati Masters 1000 event.
Severin Luthi, the Swiss Davis Cup captain who has loosely filled the role of Federer’s coach for the last four years, will continue to be part of the team alongside fitness experts Stephane Vivier and Pierre Paganini.
Federer admitted he finds many of Annacone’s anecdotes about his time working with Sampras as inspirational but when asked what the American adds to his chances he said: “His experience, I guess.
“He’s a very nice guy and he’s very calm and speaks as experience from a player and as a coach, as well. We speak occasionally about Pete and about how he was with him or about his experiences.
“I know so much about Pete already that I never try to copy him. I never try to be like him, but I tried to learn from him as a junior because he was my hero growing up. So definitely when I do hear stories from Paul about Pete it can be inspiring.”
Federer insists he is very relaxed about Annacone fulfilling any work necessary with the LTA, which may involve monitoring matches involving doubles players Colin Fleming, Ken Skupski and Ross Hutchins and British juniors who will contest next week’s Boys events.
“Obviously he has had to do stuff for the LTA here in New York and will have other things to do after the Open, which I’m cool about,” said Federer who last year was spurned by Darren Cahill when he made the Australian an offer to become his coach after a similar trial period.
Federer would not specify how many weeks a year Annacone is contracted to work with him. “I’m a Swiss guy you know and we go by minutes not weeks,” he joked.
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