View Full Version : Rodge on Luthi

05-26-2010, 11:38 PM
Elements combine to keep team Federer cool at top of tennis world
Hugh MacDonald


IS there no end to the diabolical genius of Roger Federer?

Is it possible that under that mild-mannered exterior lies the soul of demon who can dictate the weather? The world No.1, after all, has been fortunate with conditions throughout his career. He had a full week off during the 2007 Wimbledon when a mixture of rainstorms and the withdrawal of Tommy Haas allowed him time to rest up as his final opponent, Rafael Nadal, played a match against Robin Soderling that covered so many days many tourists believed it was a Test match.

Then in 2008, the tropical storm Hanna disrupted Andy Murray’s semi-final with Nadal as Federer sat with his feet up awaiting his opponent. Federer won both grand slams, of course.

The rains came to Roland Garros yesterday and it will be no surprise to learn that the Swiss player completed his match while others in his section of the draw, including Murray, had to watch and wait.

The genius of Federer, though, is that he can even use the weather to his advantage. His straight sets victory over Alejandro Fallo of Columbia may seem routine. But the 7-6, 6-2, 6-4 scoreline does not tell the full story. Federer was unsettled in the first set, making a series of unforced errors. But he used a rain break to reorganise. A quick chat with his coach, Severin Luthi, and the Fed express was back on schedule.

It works really well with me . . . he’s always been very positive. Maybe he’s underrated
“The first rain delay wasn’t too long. We got in and, 10, 15 minutes later we’re back out. It was a matter of quickly changing shirts and getting a chance to speak to your coach and coming up with the proper game plan depending on the scoreline,” said Federer.

“I think that helped me, actually, because after that I played a good set. He gave me some good advice, and obviously the second rain delay was actually quite comfortable because I was up two sets to love.”

Luthi, the Davis Cup captain for Switzerland, has remained something of a mystery in the tennis world. He does not give interviews and he is often labelled as a part-time coach to the world No.1. However, Federer yesterday spoke about his relationship with the man who travels constantly at his side. “Maybe he doesn’t have the biggest name in the game because he wasn’t No.1 in the world himself or has coached 15 other top guys, you know,” said Federer of Luthi.

“I don’t think you necessarily need that to be a good coach. He gives everything he has every day, and people still think he’s a part-time coach, which he’s obviously not because he’s travelled the last two, three years with me now full-time.

“He’s also Davis Cup captain, so he has a lot of experience. It works really well with me. Also in tougher times, which we had to go through the last three years, he’s always been very positive. Maybe he’s underrated.”

Luthi is certainly valued by Federer who said he had constant conversations with his coach on tactics and the strength and weaknesses of rivals.

“I don’t have the time to go scout out future opponents. Like today, for instance, 
I don’t know if they will be able to play Olivier Rochus v Julian Reister. But Reister, I think I’ve only warmed up with him once in Hamburg a couple years ago. Obviously I don’t remember how he plays,” he said of the players competing last night for the honour of meeting him in the third round.

“Olivier I know well, but there’s still maybe that something extra out there I have forgotten or I don’t know still and he can come up with. Then it’s just good to have someone to be able to debate about my game and the opponent’s game and come up with a gameplan.

“I have my ideas from all my experience, but then he’s also seen my past matches the last day, the last weeks, the practice sessions, and he’s got a good sense of what I’m doing well and not so well. Then you can structure a game around those problems or those strengths.”

Federer is aware that every player has his own needs on the circuit. “It’s crazy how players think,” he said. The world No.1 pointed out that some of his rivals believed a conditioning trainer or a physio was more important.

However, the Swiss gave a glimpse into his work off court. Federer’s conditioning is superb, his technique is sublimely natural. But he is a student of his game, too.

“It is important for me is to watch the match. I keep on CD 80% of my matches, and then my coach can analyse the old matches, for instance. And also, for me, it’s for me so that I have a nice connection. My father likes this collection. We can’t watch all 800 matches, but at least a few hundred.”

This last statement was said with the smile of someone who has finished work for the day.


05-27-2010, 12:16 AM
Federer is the man.. :-))) i will love him to death..

05-27-2010, 12:19 AM
thanks for the post.. got to know a few more things about him..

05-27-2010, 12:37 AM
"Free Luthi!"

05-27-2010, 01:06 AM
"Free Luthi!"

LOL, I forgot all about that.

05-27-2010, 01:28 AM
I assume Roger has no storage problem... :P

05-27-2010, 01:34 AM
I don't remember the rain breaks helping out Federer when he lost to Nadal in WO. Hopefully the writer is only being funny.

Similarly, yesterday it was quite clear that Roger showed up the goods when required. He took the first set real easy and then broke in the last game.

The rain delay had nothing to do with it. It would still have been straight sets.

But I am a little surprised, It's been accepted that Federer has been uncoached since he parted ways with Roche. Then he had a short stint with the clay chap. After that uncoached.

So is Luthi a coach or advisor. Or advisor who has become coach ?

05-27-2010, 01:36 AM
Hugh MacDonald

IS there no end to the diabolical genius of Roger Federer?

*cough* Rafa *cough*

05-27-2010, 01:53 PM
Well I hope he has some solution for guy named Rafa.

05-27-2010, 02:06 PM
If Luthi can advise Federer, who has rejected so many coaches and also is pretty shrewd himself, he must be really good.

05-27-2010, 06:42 PM
Great little article there. I love how insightful Federer is.