Roger Federer's fitness trainer + conditioning coach, Pierre Paganini, sat down for a Q & A with Blick to discuss the Swiss' recent fitness issues which forced him out of Dubai + Davis Cup.
The pair are currently in Dubai, where Fed owns a home, for the next two weeks working on preventative practices. Pierre reiterates the former No.1 is not injured:
- Mr. Paganini, what’s going on with Federer? What is he doing?It's interesting that Pierre describes Fed as "a jewel" - solid, precious, luxurious but requiring much care and maintenance.
Paganini: At the moment we give him some time to recover. We intensified the work with his physio therapist. But to make it clear once and for all: Federer is not injured. What we are doing is pure prophylaxis. We are working for the next two weeks in Dubai. Roger also flew in two sparring partners to be able two work on the court.
-Was Federer a 100% fit in Melbourne?
Paganini: Well we have to go further back for this. Roger got injured last November. His injury is cured. Everything was ok in Melbourne. But with so many matches it is not easy to recover 100%. He wasn’t impeded in his game. But it meant a lot of stress, the journey, the pressure, etc., so the body’s reaction in a stressfull situation and during a normal traning is not the same. He felt it, and that’s why we have decided to take a break in order to prevent other injuries from occuring [sic].
-What did you learn from it? Do you have to change something?
Paganini: Well we understood that we have to spend even more time doing physical preparation. This is the priority between the tournaments. Roger wants to pay attention to his body in order to be able to manage those stressfull situations.
- Does that mean that he is going to play fewer tournaments?
Paganini: No, it simplyn [sic] means to plan in a different way, manage the time differently. We have to organise ourselves even better in order to be able to do a proper physical education wherever Roger is.
- Roger is not going to play the Davis Cup. As a Swiss man it must hurt you, but as a fitness coach you must think that it is right.
Paganini: As a fitness coach I always should be against it whenever it concerns the body. You have to recognize that if he would be playing Davis Cup he’d be playing as the team leader. He’d play Friday, Saturday and Sunday non stop. That’s just a lot for your body. Roger is like a jewel. And he knows that it would just be too risky.
Anyway, it sounds like the 13-time Grand Slammer is having a more difficult time these days recovering from long matches and tourneys. Clearly it's a product of age but also he may have a harder time, mentally, recovering from these losses when he's so close to making history.
It's a tough cycle: Fed's body naturally begins to give so he puts in tons of effort in preparation for the majors. But when he loses it's a big fall tinged with all kinds of disappointment. So the questions for him become "When does all this physical preparation become too much preparation?" and "How do you recover the mental aspect from the tough loss?" I'm not sure he's had many opportunities in his career to ponder these questions until now. New turf me thinks.
I'd say the next couple of Grand Slams, where he'll be looking to surpass Pete Sampras' record 14, will be the toughest of his career and may likely take him longer to achieve then we could even imagine.
Thanks to Tennis Times for the translation!
(image via Blick.com)