Google Down the Line!: THE LOW DOWN: Fed + Cahill working together in Dubai on "trial" basis says Godsick

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

THE LOW DOWN: Fed + Cahill working together in Dubai on "trial" basis says Godsick

According to GOTOTENNIS, Roger Federer has found his new coach, at least on a "trial" basis: Darren "Killer" Cahill. He, of course, famously worked with compatriot Lleyton Hewitt + Andre Agassi and has been in the broadcasting booth of late for ESPN's tennis Grand Slam coverage.

Fed's agent over at IMG, Tony Godsick, confirmed the pair have been working together in Dubai, rebuffed the rumor the Aussie was not his first choice, and even discusses the Swiss' recent back issues.

On Killer's new role:

The speculation is over in Dubai: Federer is working with Cahill. The Swiss, who is taking a timeout in order to spare his back, is testing his new coach in the desert.

Federer’s IMG Manager Tony Godsick confirmed: “Yes, the two have met in Dubai and played a few balls together.” More specifically: “It is a test for both. One can not yet say whether it will be something long term. They work together now and see how it works out. “
On the rumors:
The American manager is also denying the widespread opinion that Cahill was not Federer’s first choice: “The two have long had a great respect for each other. It was occasionally discussed. It’s a trial. Now that Roger’s had a break, anyway, because of his back, the timing was perfect for a test. So Roger’s with him and has reported that he’s arrived.“

This also means that Federer’s current companion Severin Lüthi no longer matters in the future? “No! As I said, with Darren it’s on a trial basis. And if it works, we will continue with Severin on the team. There is no question about it. “
On the recent back issues:
Federer underlined that his retirements from Dubai and the Davis Cup in Birmingham vs. the USA have nothing to do with the test-training with Cahill. “No one should question Roger’s honesty about his back. He made a selfish and unpopular decision, but it was the only possibility for his health and his back. He noticed that his back had a problem again and wanted to eliminate this before it could become a real handicap,” said Godsick.

Federer has trained hard for his back injury over the past 2 weeks with Pierre Paganini and is now totally in shape to play without any problems. He will come to California at the beginning of next week to play Indian Wells and Miami. It’s not certain, yet, if Cahill will be at his side, said Godsick. The possibility to work together came up in the last few weeks, and because of his will to always get better, Roger did not want to let this chance pass him by. “The test is important for both of them. Although they know and respect each other, it could be that their personalities do not match,” said Godsick.
I think it's a brilliant choice if the trial basis becomes permanent. Killer has a great tennis mind and sees the game in a very modern way. Hopefully, he'll offer Fed the much needed eyes into his opponents' games, most notably Rafael Nadal.

(image via


  1. "Hopefully, he'll offer Fed the much needed eyes into his opponents' games." Hopefully he'll offer eyes into his own game also. What the hell is up with this "I don't believe in working on my weaknesses" crap?

    I adore Roger and he is one fine-looking man in a suit but he needs to improve every aspect of his game to capture majors #14 and 15. Especially if #14 is to take place at Roland Garros. He's not getting any younger but his competition sure is.

    *imagines suave Rog in a suit playing shirtless Future Husband #3*

  2. Thank goodness Federer finally hired a coach even if it's on just a trial basis. Cahill seems like a no-nonsense type of guy and I hope that he'll be brutally honest about what Federer needs to do to improve his game rather than just focusing on strategy and his opponent's game.

    I don't think there's a lot that Federer needs to overhaul but there are definitely aspects of his game that can be improved...he just might be too cocky to work on them.

  3. This is what we have all been waiting for since Agassi's departure from the tour. I think it could be a great match together, and at the very least, Cahill and Federer can talk strategy. Cahill isnt thinking and capable of changing Roger's game what-so-ever. So its not a typical coach and pupil relationship. All the talk about Federer being too big-headed and stubborn to have a coach (blah blah), is actually now such a great comment because Cahill worked well with infamously stubborn champion that focused on-play to your strengths - play against the other guys weakness- a la Andre Agassi.

  4. Agassi was a workhorse and a student of opponents' game; Federer's practice sessions consist of swatting few balls around and he is famous for stating he needs 15 seconds to figure out anybody's game.

    Cahill is one of the biggest Fererer fans out there and that is a poor foundation for coach-player relationship.

    The bane of this cooperation will be Fererer's giant ego: he will refuse to listen to any advice that is at all radical and the trial-basis will soon turn into no-basis.

  5. Unleash the hounds on Fed if he takes Killer out of commentating commission. There aren’t a lot of great commentators out there. There is two maybe three tolerable commentators out there (please do not tell me what I can clearly see for myself - he's approaching the next, Oh he missed the volley. HELLO!! Tell me what I can't see and don't know but is clearly going on!) I digress. Lets weigh this in a logical fashion. FACTS: Fed is #2 in the world by a good lead, he has 13 grand slams, he's one at least one major every year since birth. FACTS: 99.95% of television commentators on the TV and web are complete shite.
    CONCLUSION: I need killer way more than Fed. Unleash the hounds!

  6. Sara,

    believe it or not the not working on your weakness crap is a well known business success philosophy. Much like percentage shots in tennis working on ones weakness only produces minimal results with maximum effort when working on strengths it produces maximum results with minimum efforts. Now, I still think he’s full of a little bit of crap because he's admitted that his backhand is so much better for having been picked on all these years but I get the jist that there is only such much effort that is worth paying attention to a weakness.

  7. Anon I agree that no one should focus solely on one's weaknesses. However, Roger is no longer at the point where he has no difficulty defeating anyone. It seems like there are a few players out there who have his number, mostly Nadal and Murray. Also, his forehand and serve are excellent there's only so much improvement he can make on them; there are other things he needs to improve. Also, this is tennis not business.

    Why do I sound like a Fed basher? I cry when the guy loses.

  8. anon 4:32 - HA! I agree he is one of the best out there and will be missed if it becomes permanent. Don't unleash the hounds just yet - though my guy tells me it'll most likely it will be come long term.

    sara/anon: There always seem to be two schools of clear thought: 1) keep the strengths strong while strengthening the weaknesses 2) strengthen the strengths to hide the weaknesses

    I think it's the decision to go in one direction or another is on a case-by-case basis and also based on the age of the baller. There are some who start a weaker shot but can strengthen it over time. My first thought goes to Dementieva and both her backhand and the serve.

    But then there are those shots that never get better and the baller needs to find a way to step around it with a stronger shot. Here Roddick comes to mind with his backhand. It's clearly a still a weaker shot and he'll step around it at any possible instance even though he's tried to add variety.

    So it's purely based on the individual instance IMO.


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