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Breaking News: Cahill Out 03/11/2009 - 2:34 PM


by Pete Bodo

Well, it seems like it's official - Chris Clarey is reporting that the coaching relationship between Roger Federer and Darren Cahill is dead in the water. Apparently, Cahill had second thoughts about the degree-of-commitment involved, especially in terms of international travel for at least 20 weeks of the year. This is a fairly strange development and I have to wonder if there isn't more to this story than meets the eye.

For one thing, I have to assume the Cahill had a pretty good idea of where Roger Federer lived and trained long before Roger agreed to work with him (in Dubai) on a trial basis. Wouldn't this have been discussed in the first stages of this potential partnership, and certainly before Cahill actually went to an audition in Dubai?

I suppose there's an outside chance that Cahill found life in Dubai a flat-out nightmare. This wouldn't surprise me, although the immediate reaction to this observation might be:  You'd think a guy living in Las Vegas would have no problem with that kind of environment.

Sure, but. . . When i last visited Andre Agassi in Vegas(about a year ago), he went out of his way to impress on my the degree to which Vegas, as a city, has totally outgrown but still must live with the "Sin City" stereotype. Many consider it a great place to raise a family, and I'm not sure comparisons with Dubai are in any substantial way accurate.

Still, how much time would Cahill have been required to spend in Dubai?

There's also the possibility that Federer and Cahill just didn't get comfortable with each other, on court. Perhaps they didn't see eye-to-eye when it comes to strategic issues, especially Cahill's notions about what The Mighty Fed might need to do about turning around his record against Nadal. That's not necessarily the kind of discussion either man wants to get into.

And here's another thing, and one I touched on in my Gilded Cage post of yesterday: Federer is thought by many to be a control-freak. Perhaps Cahill decided that he would have to sacrifice too much of his independence and autonomy in order to be taken into the Federer cabal - said by some to be  clutch of "yes" men.  And let's face it - the omni-present Mirka, valuable as she may be to TMF, could be a formidable hurdle. Perhaps it was a mistake to have the audition in Dubai, and a part of me things Federer and Cahill should have gone off to a different location to get a feeling for each other.  A caveat: I don't know how many of Federer's inner circle were around in Dubai during the tryout.

Beyond that, I don't care how many amazing meals Cahill enjoyed in Dubai, or how great the valet-service was at the hotel. Cahill never struck me as a particularly impressionable guy (in terms of aspirations to the high life), and what opulence he experienced (and with which he found himself surrounded) might have been more off-putting than attractive. I can imagine a pretty uncomplicated Aussie dude waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, 700-thread count cotton sheets sopping wet, and feeling as if I were being absorbed into some alternate reality that threatened to suck away my very identity.

When you're a guy with as much going on as Cahill, you have to ask yourself: Do I really want to sacrifice so many of my options (including my ability and desire to speak to whoever the hail I want, any time I want, about anything I want) just to be associated with some other guy's quest to become the GOAT?

This, I think, is a very serious and legitimate concern. Legions of people couldn't imagine anything better than carrying Federer's water, but Cahill probably isn't one of them. He has a life of his own. The degree to which that life would be compromised by working with Federer may have gnawed at him - regardless of how he feels about Federer as a person or player. But why that wouldn't have occurred to Cahill much sooner in the process is mystifying - unless he embarked on the tryout thinking, What the hail, it's an experiment. Maybe Roger will be so impressed with my skills that he's bend a little on the requirements. Or I'll be so impressed by him that I'll bend on mine.  At any rate, this visit could be valuable to me in terms of my reputation and my work as a commentator. . .

One thing is for sure: coach-player relationships have to succeed on a number of practical levels in order to be sustainable and effective. When Paul Annacone hired on with Pete Sampras, he was a married dad who had to think about his financial future. But Pete was a fellow American (living, as Annacone did, on the east coast) and, significantly, something of a lone wolf. There were none of the kinds of complications cited above. Plus, the two men had been friends through Pete's previous coach, Tim Gullikson (whom Annacone replaced when Gullikson was diagnosed with brain cancer). Bob Brett coached Boris Becker under similar terms, and the same is true for the Brad Gilbert-Andre Agassi relationship. Those partnerships made sense in a variety of ways, and didn't pull either party far out of his comfort zone.

To some degree, the decisions Federer made about where to live and train may present more formidable obstacles than we might expect, and demand of a potential coach the kinds of sacrifices and adjustments that candidates who have known significant success, and have options, may not be disposed to make. When you think about it, Federer's coaches have been either obscure (and perhaps right-guy, right-place( types, or grizzled war dogs who had done a lot of their career heavy lifting (Tony Roche and Jose Higueras). Cahill doesn't fall into either category.

Now I have another theory here, and I'm advancing it as just that:

Perhaps Roger Federer was not entirely content with either what Cahill brought to the table, or the terms under which he wanted to work (the reasons might have been anything from those cited above to a disagreement over salary, or Cahill's insistence that he not have to go through Mirka to get to Roger). Federer's inner sanctum then recognized that while being the one to pull the plug would make Federer appear to be in one in control, it would also raise potentially uncomfortable questions: Why is Federer being so stubborn? Is the guy too picky? Is he afraid to change his game, or give the highly-regarded Cahill enough control to make a difference?

Wouldn't it make far more sense to let Cahill be the one to scotch the deal?  In so doing, it takes significant pressure - and attention - off Federer's shoulders. The story now becomes, Poor Roger, Cahill turned him down! The theme generates more sympathy and no second-guessing of Federer's motives or state of mind. Spin it this way and you also save Cahill potential embarrassment, and protect him from insinuations that he somehow didn't make the grade.

In other words, everybody wins.

That narrative might not be honest, but it's painless. I'm curious to hear what Roger has to say about all this at Indian Wells.

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Posted by ladyjulia 03/11/2009 at 04:39 PM


"Considering right after that Federer baggeled Nadal for the first time on clay and came over to hug her afterwards (which he never does), I'd say he pretty emphatically came down on her side too."

You do have a point.

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 03/11/2009 at 04:39 PM

Now, if Mirka looked like Brooklyn Decker or Bar Rafaeli, I bet none of these coaches would have any problem with her interfernce ! ;)

Posted by CL 03/11/2009 at 04:39 PM

ah NOW we get down to it! Fed needs a wingman. Well for heaven sakes if it is that easy, let's just get Sam on the job. He's a Fed fan, a beer lover, tennis player, bar-going good looking dude who would be the PERFECT wing man for Fed.

Posted by Pspace 03/11/2009 at 04:39 PM

I, for one, would love to show RF in 10 minutes or less, how he can improve his backhand (most important), serve (use Pete Sampras' mechanics), and footwork (easy).

Now, I've heard it all. I would love to show RF in 20 minutes or less that I can bagel him.

Posted by Spacenoxx (El Stupido aka The Moron From Majorca) 03/11/2009 at 04:39 PM

Ok now ..where is my 'First' prize?

Posted by Ruth 03/11/2009 at 04:40 PM

Speaking of men in the same position as Mirka, remember Perry Rogers, Agassi's best friend, who was a fixture at Andre's early matches and in his entourage off court? He eased out Andre's first agent, became a big-time agent himself, representing Agassi and others.

Of course, now the friendship/partnership seems to be broken, and Rogers is suing Steffi for $50,000.00!

Posted by 03/11/2009 at 04:40 PM

Disclaimer: The above, of course, just speculation in my part."

You're on fire! Keep it going!

Posted by crazyone 03/11/2009 at 04:40 PM

I wonder what's different about a Jose Higueras and a Darren Cahill that the former could get things to work out (albeit in a part-time way, which later ended), and the latter could not.

Posted by Vie 03/11/2009 at 04:42 PM

This is speculation: Roger is probabaly naturally reserved, and you add a screen, sorry here for Mirka as an example, he can even become even more distant or self-sufficient to a fault. It would be good if he can get to another spring of support he trusts.

Posted by crazyone 03/11/2009 at 04:42 PM

that is of course, only a valid question if one believes there's something systemic (rather than case by case) about the Federer camp and the way it deals with coaches.

Posted by ladyjulia 03/11/2009 at 04:43 PM

Did Cahill play tennis with his right hand or left?

Posted by CL 03/11/2009 at 04:45 PM

Um, Jose speaks Spanish and Darren speaks Australian?

Crazy-for Rog you ar diving into the deep end of the speculation pool.

Hmm..well, ok, if Mirka suddenly gets her own record contract and starts recordingTom cats on the prowl overdubbed on the sounds a garbage disposal makes chewing a tin foil hat, THEN I'll worry.

Posted by Samantha Elin 03/11/2009 at 04:46 PM

I think Roger and Mirka make a great couple and I love the fact that when he became rich and famous, he never traded her in which you see some guys do. I'm not sure it's a very good idea to mix business(Mirka has manager) and pleasure, (Mirka has girlfriend). Go Caro, Scandinavia's#1!

Posted by naughty T, Storming the Bastl with the wookie and Sherlock 03/11/2009 at 04:48 PM

aaaaaah I guess when Mirka sues for Palimony then we will find out just what she did for him

Posted by Samantha Elin 03/11/2009 at 04:49 PM

Also, for Mirka, suppose they break up, since she isn't married to Roger, she wouldn't get anything, although she has put a lot into his career. It just leaves her in a vulnerable position if anything happens to the relationship. I would like to see Roger marry her, but I'm a romantic.

Posted by naughty T, Storming the Bastl with the wookie and Sherlock 03/11/2009 at 04:51 PM

sorry but goooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaal Ronaldo.

Posted by 03/11/2009 at 04:51 PM

I just want to add before checking out that there are different grades of speculation. I feel I've earned the right to speculate, based on my experience in tennism and that you all enjoy that, understand my motives, and take what I write with as big a grain (or shaker) of salt as you think appropriate.

I can promise you I never write something just to "take a shot in the dark" or "stir the pot." I just connect the dots in what I've witnessed and heard out there in TennisWorld, and I think about every line I write. I'm sure I get it wrong or miss the boat sometimes. And instead of judging myself, I'll let y'all come to your own conclusions about my credibility.

Posted by Sher 03/11/2009 at 04:52 PM

[I wonder what's different about a Jose Higueras and a Darren Cahill that the former could get things to work out (albeit in a part-time way, which later ended), and the latter could not. ]

I don't think Roger was looking for a long term or a full time thing with Higueras. I never had that impression at any stage of their relationship. He probably wanted to consult with him. I'd even say he wanted him specifically to solve Nadal on clay. When at the end of 2008 he (i'm paraphrasing) said he was sorry he had focused so much on Nadal in '08, and their partnership dissolved it seemed natural. With Cahill he seemed to be looking for something more full time.

Posted by naughty T, Storming the Bastl with the wookie and Sherlock 03/11/2009 at 04:52 PM

Sam don't worry, their love is forever. lol. And I am sure that under Swiss law she would get a whole heap.

Posted by Rafa is the GOAT 03/11/2009 at 04:53 PM

Looks like Roger's not interested in beating Rafa. There goes his future status as GOAT and any shot at winning the French open.

but ot to worry tennis fans Nadal will be the new GOAT. Unlike Federer, his ego isn't the size of Switzerland and he doesn't think he's perfect the way he is. He is always learning new things and trying to improve his game. At this rate nobody will catch up to him.

See ya, Fed.

Posted by Sher 03/11/2009 at 04:53 PM

Peter, I don't know about the other posters here, but I appreciate the opportunity you give us to to match wits with you. It's bit like a bunch of young tennis players getting a chance to play on centre court against an experienced champion -- fun.

Posted by ladyjulia 03/11/2009 at 04:54 PM

Rene Stauffer says that it was Cahill who approached Federer and expressed an interest but realised that Federer is not offering what he wants.

I did this using google translate...the original is in German...maybe something is lost in translation?

Posted by CL 03/11/2009 at 04:55 PM

Naughty T - hee. I hope she scores a BUNDLE!

Now according to the folks at, Fed is on the practice courts at IW with Yves.

AND, Mirka is standing on the court yelling, 'No dummy, your BACKHAND' and "You call that TOPSPIN? Rafa will steal your lunch money if you hit like that!" and "For heaven's sake move your FEET, you lazy fat slob." "Darren WHO??!!?"

Okay... that last paragraph is speculation on my part.

Posted by Rafa is the GOAT 03/11/2009 at 04:55 PM

>> I'm curious to hear what Roger has to say about all this at Indian Wells.

Dont hold your breath. Roger will most likely give his usual rehearsed, canned, and non-committal answers that ultimately say nothing.

Posted by Ruth 03/11/2009 at 04:56 PM

"I'm guessing Cahill is as Killer as Rosewall has Muscles."

Ryan: I've often wondered, while listening to Cahill, if "Killer" was one of those anti-nicknames, like Rosewall's, but Cliffie says Killer with such conviction.... LOL

Posted by Antoinette 03/11/2009 at 04:56 PM

Oops...sorry it appears that I was not moderated at all. My apologies.

CL thanks for the heads up.

Cant wait for the tennis to start, I personally have had enough of Mirkagate

Posted by ladyjulia 03/11/2009 at 04:57 PM

"An Australian agency had Darren Cahill, the former successful coach of Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi on Tuesday as new coach Roger Federer reported. Hastily, it now shows: The 43-year-old Australian is not the successor of Tony Roche and Jose Higueras. Roger Federer is now on the verge of the tournament of Indian Wells explained that the test phase last week in Dubai will not continue.

It would be wrong if we failed negotiations would speak, told the "Tages-Anzeiger" from reliable sources. It was not to discuss specific details, such as money, etc. come. Cahill had realized that Federer could not offer what this is from a collaboration would have been presented.

The disappointment when Federer does seem very limited. I After all, it was Cahill who approached him had called him and had expressed an interest, it was called. In particular geographical aspects spoke against a solid partnership: Cahill is firmly anchored in North America, also works for the ESPN television, lives in Las Vegas with his wife and children aged eight and four years. (Tages-Anzeiger) Federer on the other hand, resides in Switzerland and trained almost exclusively in Dubai - that is virtually on the opposite side of the world, from Las Vegas of view. "

I wish Google translate did a better job.

Posted by CL 03/11/2009 at 04:58 PM

Ruth - my sense that was that is was an anti-nickname too. Because Darren was such an easy going and laid back kinda guy.

Posted by Annie - In DC withdrawal- Vamos Armada and USA 03/11/2009 at 04:58 PM

btw, wish i knew more about this carlos rodriguez. sounds interesting.

Posted by Lurker 03/11/2009 at 04:58 PM

I really don't know why everyone is surprised that Mirka wouldn't be brought up with regards to Fed's coaching decisisons. Federer himself has discussed in several interviews about the importance of Mirka in his life--personally and business-wise. I never felt Pete was attacking Mirka; he was stating a fact. She is undoubtedly the most important person in his person in his professoinally life and to believe that she was not a factor in this decision (whether dtermining to let Cahill go, developing a "response" to this news) is, well, naive and a bit ostrich-head-in sand.

No one is demonizing her. In some ways, he/we are edifying her.

Posted by Vincent 03/11/2009 at 04:58 PM

I really don't understand the fuss. A coach wouldn't magically transform Federer. He could have a positive influence on the mental side, but probably not that much. He could also throw Federer off balance, like it did with Roche. In any case, no coach will ever help Roger win against Nadal on a slow surface. Frankly, I'm surprised in 2009 there are still some people who can't see that no gameplan could help Fed against Nadal. The problem is simple, really : 1. Nadal can retrieve pretty much anything on a slow surface like clay, i.e. : aggressive play won't work against him, unless you're a god and you hit the lines on a regular basis, and 2. trying to outlast Nadal won't work either, as noone has more topspin than Nadal, and ergo, noone has as much margin for error as Nadal on a slow surface.

It's simple, obvious, really. The only way to defeat Nadal on clay would be to out-Nadal him. Until a younger, better version of him comes in the Tour, Nadal will regularly win everything, barring injuries. Alas, I fear this explanation is too plain for romantically-minded tennis fans, who prefer dreaming about some super-complex strategy which could transform Federer into a winner overnight... Sigh.

Posted by Vincent 03/11/2009 at 04:59 PM


Posted by crazyone 03/11/2009 at 04:59 PM

*Dont hold your breath. Roger will most likely give his usual rehearsed, canned, and non-committal answers that ultimately say nothing.*

He's clearly taking lessons from your GOAT then ;)

If Federer has a problem it's spouting his mouth off at pressers.

Posted by Or 03/11/2009 at 05:00 PM

Ah, Pete.

You kill me, I really want the dirt. You should get an Anon nickname and start spreading the rumors.

What affect do you think Tony Godsick has on Roger and how does he factor in the Roger-Mirka circle?

He seems more and more involved in recent years, he travels with him almost everywhere, I don't recall it used to be like that, and the affection there seem to be great, the camera pinned on his face during the Aussie Open ceremony, and the guy looked pretty gutted.

Mirka and Mary Jo also hang, you could see photos of Mirka walking hand in hand with Tony and Mary jo's daughter - so I wonder about his influence.

Posted by crazyone 03/11/2009 at 05:00 PM

lady Julia: post the original link here. We have German speakers who have often translated stuff in the past.

Posted by 03/11/2009 at 05:01 PM

Sher, that was sweet, but I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry.

Bye everyone, it's been an amusing afternoon!

Posted by Sher 03/11/2009 at 05:01 PM


Posted by CL 03/11/2009 at 05:02 PM

Antoinette - we have all been a little discombobulated by the, relatively, new pagination here at TW. It can be hard to keep up.

And i'm with you...CahMirkagate is not nearly as interesting as actual tennis. At least tomorrow there will be tennis on TV, (TC) and streams. Much more better. So 'un-speculative.'

Posted by Annie - In DC withdrawal- Vamos Armada and USA 03/11/2009 at 05:03 PM


Posted by CL 03/11/2009 at 05:03 PM

crazyone - well played!

Posted by Sher 03/11/2009 at 05:04 PM

I vote for laughter. Next thing you know, we'll be immitating you on national TV.

Posted by Yummy Prince Fed - Still my heartbeat 03/11/2009 at 05:04 PM

I am not sure why a professional athlete would surround him/herself with people who do not believe in their abilities 100%. I think this is perhaps the reason why most professional athletes and even more so most professionals in artistic fields of endeavour usually have folks who believe in them and their abilities etc in their teams. Not a thing wrong with that. Perhaps if some of those other players who are saying disparaging things about Roger and his team, and in particular Mirka should perhaps take a leaf from Roger's book. I see nothing wrong in having the power behind the throne or sharing the throne for that matter. She has been there when he was just roger federer and now he is TMF - not a thing wrong with protecting what is yours. If anyone here thinks that most of these players are not protected from the press etc, well then ...

Posted by ladyjulia 03/11/2009 at 05:04 PM

The article is in German.

Posted by CL 03/11/2009 at 05:05 PM

But if he cries, he needs to get someone to stand next to him and bite a trophy.

Posted by benny 03/11/2009 at 05:05 PM

my conclusion is that mirka is a force to be reconned with! I think roger broke down at the AO ceremony as a result of the wrath he was about to experience once mirka would demean his 5th set meltdown. Don't for a minute believe that she is not in total control of all aspects! Cahill is not an idiot, and i think it's safe to say that when he sensed the mirka affect, he all of a sudden found full time fatherhood a better proposition.

Posted by Sher 03/11/2009 at 05:06 PM

"After all, it was Cahill who approached him had called him and had expressed an interest"

??? Okay.

Posted by Amit 03/11/2009 at 05:07 PM

j-6 strings,

Quite right; the point differential has not been huge. The fact, however, is that Nadal has won the last point on all of those matches. I think there is a definite pattern to this and the way Roger loses the 3-setters to Murray. When you repeatedly fail at the same thing, it should be a matter of great concern and one should do whatever's necessary to fix it. What we see instead is Federer trying the same things that he knows cannot work.

If his inner circle cannot or will not point this out to him at the risk of getting under his skin a bit, then they simply fail as an inner circle. If I were Mirka or Luthi -
1) I would comb through Fed's recent losses in agonizing detail with him, make a list of the tactical/execution errors he commits repeatedly.
2) Be honest with myself about whether I can be useful in solving these.
3) If not, persuade him that he needs someone else - if necessary, by re-adjusting his comfort zone. If a good fit is not keen on spending large amounts of time in Dubai, then the mountain just has to come to Mohammad.

Of course all of these things might've happened. Sorry about the long post.

Posted by FoT 03/11/2009 at 05:07 PM

Gee Pete...and you wonder why a lot of folks don't really place you high on their gift giving list!

All speculations yet just about all of your 'speculations' had Roger in a bad light. Amazing. It's almost like the mob mentality. When a person is down, everyone loves to jump on the guy. None of us know exactly what happened so until we do, why not give both of them the benefit of the doubt and just say it didn't work out and leave it at that? Or at least have something 'good or nice' to say about Roger. If I didn't follow him closely I surely couldn't stand the guy based on your story. Thank god I do follow him closely and I'll just leave it at that.
(as I now cover my head as all the fans here start throwing things at me for saying what I did)...

Posted by crazyone 03/11/2009 at 05:15 PM

I've asked Bissy to translate the German article, so we'll see what he says.

Posted by Pspace 03/11/2009 at 05:17 PM

Amit, Why do you feel that Federer is not trying new tactics? I noticed a lot of new tactics against Nadal last year especially on his bh. Even this year at Oz, he was trying the Simon strategy of trying to go flat to Nadal's fh. Of course, his tactical adjustment are more subtle than Rafa's, but I don't think a player as smart as Fed goes in without some new plan. Perhaps he's not found the right plan, or cannot execute it at a high-level. But, I'd be willing to bet my house that he goes in with a host of new patterns to try against Nadal (and Murray).

In the end, those guys are pretty awesome players, and there may be no solution that Fed can implement on a consistent basis. Back to "day form", which is so intricately woven with confidence and winning.

Posted by F_express 03/11/2009 at 05:19 PM

What about Justine Henin's coach, Carlos Rodríguez? I think he would be fantastic for Roger both tacticaly and emotionaly. I think when it comes to make a player believe in him/herself, no one comes even close to him. Just look what he did to a small and fragile girl, who ended up as a dominating force in women's tour.

Posted by Alexis 03/11/2009 at 05:19 PM

Here's what Cahill said (sounds like it was him) so


"With Roger being European and all those away weeks and the kids entrenched in school here in Las Vegas — the reality really hit in Dubai," Cahill said in a telephone interview. "It was 100 percent that. We couldn't get past that practical hurdle. Roger is an absolutely class act. I told him on Sunday, and it was a difficult decision, but I just couldn't do it. It's getting tougher and tougher for me pack the bags and leave the kids at this stage."

Cahill said he was the one to make contact this time. "They have reached out a couple of times over the years," Cahill said. "And this time I was about to sit down and talk about a role with adidas, but before I did that and put myself away for those two or three years, I sat down with Tony and said, 'We're forever having this conversation. There are a lot of hurdles to clear, but maybe we should try and sit down and at least have a chat."'

Federer invited Cahill for a nine-day trial run at his training base in Dubai that ended this month. "It went extremely well," Cahill said. "The first four or five days, we had to go pretty tentatively, because he was doing a lot of work with Pierre on the back and strengthening it. The last four or five days, it really picked up."

Godsick said he did not know if Federer would hire a full-time coach. "Severin is in Indian Wells with him; he's always going to be there," Godsick said. "Certainly there will be an onslaught of resumes coming in now. But Roger's not just looking for a coach. He's looking for the right person to help him."

Do I think he's going to go and find someone immediately? No, but I know he wants to continue to work hard and get better, and he's going to do everything he possibly can to make sure he does that."

Posted by naughty T, Storming the Bastl with the wookie and Sherlock 03/11/2009 at 05:20 PM

The most important bit of that article says that it never even came around to concrete negotiations about money or conditions. Just that Cahill came to the realization that he could not offer Federer what he wanted in terms of commitment.

Posted by Ruth 03/11/2009 at 05:22 PM

I just read Pete's comment about not wanting to start a gender flame war by reporting what the ATP players think of Mirka as coach. Not likely, Pete. After all, what they say/feel sounds very much like what many people have said or felt about Richard Williams, a man, as a coach of Venus and Serena.

I guess with 29 or 30 single Slam titles between those 3 players (Roger, V&S), there must be something to be said for hanging around those non-coaches that some people like to think of as coaches. Right?

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!) 03/11/2009 at 05:23 PM

"They have reached out a couple of times over the years," Cahill said. "

Who knew that Killer was such a coquette?

Posted by Pspace 03/11/2009 at 05:26 PM

Ruth, people had a problem with Richard Williams coaching V&S because he was a guy? I thot it was 'cos he was craaaaaazy. Most (or many) of the women are coached by guys who double as hitting partners. So, it may be his deficiencies as a player that led to that criticism.

But, I agree with your latter bit that both Mirka and Richard have had a positive influence in those 31 slams.

Posted by crazyone 03/11/2009 at 05:27 PM

I hope the non-Fed fans here read that article as well, gives a different light to things.

Posted by FoT 03/11/2009 at 05:28 PM

I was just about the post that article but I see you beat me to it. Good job Alexis!

Posted by benny 03/11/2009 at 05:28 PM

What kind of management is godsick providing to federer? Why on god's green earth would he expect an onslaught of resume's because cahill didn't work out. This is not IBM. There must be an inner circle of a handful of people who can possibly work as fed's coach.

Posted by Pspace 03/11/2009 at 05:29 PM

"With Roger being European and all those away weeks and the kids entrenched in school here in Las Vegas — the reality really hit in Dubai,"

jeje...I think the bit about the kids is just fluff. They prolly unveiled the new RF Wimby outfit, and Cahill just ran! I guess being "European" is one way to put it.

Posted by j6_strings 03/11/2009 at 05:29 PM

Amit - my point in putting out those numbers was simply to suggest that when things are so close between Fed and Nadal, there might not be much need to panic. You used the word desparate, I believe.

These are bothersome times, but I don't know about desparate.

True, Nadal did win the last points in those matches, but if you could tell me I'd be within a point or 5 of the other guy over a 5-set match, I would feel pretty good about my chances of winning somewhere along the line.

Posted by Alexis 03/11/2009 at 05:29 PM

See...sometimes things are really as they appear to be and people do really tell the truth. Maybe you'll remember that the next time you set aside what someone says and instead write a speculative article. Perhaps spending more than 40 minutes might have helped this time.

Posted by Alexis 03/11/2009 at 05:32 PM

Benny, it has been reported many times that coaching resumes from all over come to Tony whenever there are reports about Roger and looking for a coach. So Godsick is probably right...he'll receive a bunch again.

Posted by 1fortheroad 03/11/2009 at 05:32 PM

All Roger has to do is look up the Stefan Edberg v. Darren Cahill h-2-h results at the ATP site and then he'll realize which of the two men would be a better fit for him. Hands down Edberg. If the h-2-h stats don't convince you then think about how well the two personalities would match. The Cahill departure is yet another great opportunity for Roger.

Posted by Antoinette 03/11/2009 at 05:32 PM



Posted by jhurwi 03/11/2009 at 05:32 PM

LadyJulia: here is my translation of the Stauffer article from the Tages-Anzeiger:

Darren Cahill will not become Roger Federer’s coach
By René Stauffer
Tages-Anzeiger 11.03.2009 2l:39

An Australian agency already announced on Tuesday that Darren Cahill, the former coach of Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi was Roger Federer’s new coach. They spoke too soon, as it turns out: the 43-year-old Australian will not become the successor to Tony Roche and José Higueras. Roger Federer will explain today, on the eve of the Indian Wells tournament, that last week’s test phase in Dubai will not have a continuation.

It would be incorrect to speak of a breakdown in negotiations, continued the Tages-Anzeiger, based on reliable sources. It did not come to concrete talks about details such as money, etc. Cahill realized that he could not offer Federer what the latter had envisaged from such a collaboraton.

Federer was apparently not terribly disappointed. After all, it is said that it was Cahill who came to him, called him up and expressed his interest. Above all, geographical considerations argued against a lasting partnership: Cahill is firmly anchored in North America, also works for ESPN television, and lives in Las Vegas with his wife and children, aged 8 and 4. Federer, on the other hand, lives in Switzerland and trains almost exclusively n Dubai—practically the other side of the world, from the perspective of Las Vegas.

Posted by Pspace 03/11/2009 at 05:33 PM

Alexis, Cahill saying that doesn't make the speculation false. He could be lying after all. Would you really expect him to air his grievances with Roger or Mirka? There is no truth in these situations, only statements and opinions.

Posted by crazyone 03/11/2009 at 05:34 PM

so, it seems that Darren went to Dubai after initiating this process , realized he couldn't do anything full time, and nowadays Federer wants only a full time coach if there is to be a coach at all so they both shook hands and decided it wouldn't work out.

Posted by lurker 03/11/2009 at 05:36 PM

That's lurker with a small "l"--
Thank you Alexis for posting that. Hopefully Cahill's own words will be believed.

Posted by Benny 03/11/2009 at 05:36 PM

thanks for clarifying alexis - I guess i'm surprised that roger's coaching position is handled as if it were an opening for a VP of sales at Proctor & Gamble.

Posted by Or 03/11/2009 at 05:40 PM

Well, I believe that settles it - that sounds very genuine and real - suddenly Dubai felt very far away.

Good time as any to find another place to train in, Rogi.

Sad to think that it did go well, but won't continue.

I'm a bit annoyed with Cahill, should have thought of that before. However, it seems like Roger next coach would have to be a European.

Posted by Master Ace 03/11/2009 at 05:41 PM

Since Cahill was the one who ended the trial run, it will be interesting to see how Federer answered all coaching questions in his press conference that should be happening right now.

Posted by Lleytsie 03/11/2009 at 05:43 PM

Great post mate - but i gotta say, am GUTTED !

I dont know what Killer could ve added - but may be he could have tried

you are right about he having his own life


its s cost benefit analysis at the end of the day. and for Killer the cost probably outweighed the benefits

Pete - i know we cannot curse in here ...

but like Beckham

F F F !

Posted by Alexis 03/11/2009 at 05:43 PM

Pspace...yeah, everyone is lying. Roger, Darren, Tony, everybody...because there just has to be something more, right? There just has to be tons of bad things that went on to prevent this.

Posted by Tennis player 03/11/2009 at 05:43 PM

I wouldn't pay too much attention to all the speculation. This is what the press do to sell copy; create intrigue and sensation if there is none. Also, the only insiders who know what's what are Federer's actual inner circle, everyone else is just speculating, which fuels a process of Chinese whispers and before you know it the gossip becomes fact in their minds. Either the press are telling us Federer is depressed and in some sort of crisis or Mirka is pregnant or she has some sort of Svengali grip over him or some other unsubstantiated claim. Throughout all of this Federer will just be his laid back self, without a hint of drama or concern as he goes about is business. He's also clearly very independent and single minded, so I doubt it's Mirka who wears the trousers in that relationship. Federer just does'nt seem to sweat the small stuff and seems to have a lot more perspective than the 'journalists' who write about him. He sure he is also intelligent and confident enough to make his own decisions.

You hear a lot of nonsense even from the mouths of people like McEnroe, Pat Cash and Wilander, who are paid to talk and have opinions. Mostly what they do is project and guess. They may be able to recall some of their own experiences in similar situations, but each individual is unique so the only people who will really know about Federer's business are those who are closest to him. Of all the pros, Pat Cash probably talks the most dodo, and these stories about Mirka sound like just more of the stuff that was being peddled 5 years ago. If some falsehood is repeated enough, people will start to believe it. Does anyone remember this article?

I am not wrecking Federer, says Mirka

By Chris Jones, Evening Standard, in Melbourne Last updated at
00:00am on 21.01.04

Meddlesome parents have long been a fixture on the tennis circuit. Now, if Pat Cash is to be believed, we are entering the era of an equally unwanted hanger-on - the interfering girlfriend.

The former Wimbledon champion has caused a stir after writing a newspaper column in Australia that questioned the influence that Roger Federer's partner of four years has exerted on his career.

Cash accused 23-year-old former player Miroslava Vavrinec, known as Mirka, of having a Svengali-like grip over the Wimbledon champion, whom he claimed had turned up in Melbourne in poor shape.

The Australian also wrote that Vavrinec had assumed the roles of not only Federer's business manager and agent but also his playing advisor after he ditched coach Peter Lundgren soon after the couple returned from a holiday in Mauritius last month.

But Vavrinec hit back at those claims today, saying Cash "should shut up".

The public spat traces back to Federer's decision to part ways with Lundgren, who helped him win ?2.5 million in 2003.

Federer insists the decision was his alone. But Cash hinted otherwise: "Clearly a few decisions were made as they sat on a beach with the Indian Ocean lapping at their toes.

"The first thing Federer must do is ensure that his girlfriend returns to being just that. It is a simple matter of common sense. The whole thing could end in tears. He is too talented to let his career fall apart."

Vavrinec was equally forthright when she spoke to Standard Sport at the Australian Open. She said: "I think that Cash should just shut up.

"No one can understand what his problem is and

I don't know why he is writing this stuff. It hurts when someone says things like this and I don't know where he got these ideas because I don't know him and I haven't met him.

"I have been with Roger for four years. Maybe if I was a crazy, disco-dancing girl who dragged him away to go shopping all the time after having known him for just a year then Cash's comments may have been understood. But I am the complete opposite of that."

Vavrinec said Federer's parents managed his affairs and her responsibilities revolved around publicity, travel arrangements and handling the perfume that Federer launched after his Wimbledon triumph called "RF - Roger Federer".

She said: "I book the hotels and flights and look after the perfume business but his parents manage his affairs. Having played tennis I know what it means to be fit and well for the game and I can be a help for him. "Maybe Cash had some bad people around him during his career and that's why he is saying these things. I think he is just jealous and that's why these comments have been made.

"He has also said things about Greg Rusedski and Lleyton Hewitt, yet he still goes into the players' zone.

"He must be unhappy with his own life to say these things. It shows so little respect.

"Roger is only at the beginning of his career and you would have thought that someone like Cash, who has achieved a lot, would want to give young players help and advice, not these kind of comments.

"I would not like to be in Cash's position in the media when he comes up to Roger and asks for an interview."

Federer has also been riled by Cash's comments. He said: "People have told me what Cash said and I cannot believe it. Everything he said is not true. I don't even know Cash and, as long as that's the case, I cannot take it seriously.

"I know what is true and what he is saying is definitely not right. It's not fair.

"I am looking for a coach and I am trying to make the right decision and it is probably going to take a few weeks and months.

"I think it would be a good challenge for any coach to work with me. I am, maybe, different to the other guys on tour.

"It was difficult to start the year without a coach but that was my decision and something I had thought about for a long time. It's not something that came up after Houston (where he won the Tennis Masters Cup in November). It was already going on for half a year or something."

Posted by Or 03/11/2009 at 05:44 PM

BTW, there had been an Roger sighting on the mothership - they said he signed tones of authographs, and that the curles were growing back.

Patience for authographs (a testement of Roger's good mood and serenity, I guess) - check.

Curles - check.

Coach - who the hell cares.


Posted by Alexis 03/11/2009 at 05:45 PM

lurker wrote: "Thank you Alexis for posting that. Hopefully Cahill's own words will be believed."

Not if all posters are like Pete Bodo and 'pspace'. They choose to question what people say and look for the bad stuff.

Posted by crazyone 03/11/2009 at 05:46 PM

I didn't know about that Pat Cash statement. That's hilarious given what Federer did not only at the AO but in 2004 in general.

Posted by Or 03/11/2009 at 05:48 PM

WOW, I never read that article.

Mirka can snipe back, that's good to know.

"I have been with Roger for four years. Maybe if I was a crazy, disco-dancing girl who dragged him away to go shopping all the time after having known him for just a year then Cash's comments may have been understood. But I am the complete opposite of that."

ROTFLOL - you go girl!

Posted by Ginger 03/11/2009 at 05:54 PM

Thank you for not only getting the post up in 40 minutes but also for writing (yet again) a very though provoking post. I found it very entertaining to "speculate" the various reasons for this very high profile event. Keep up the great writing

Posted by Lurker Lib 03/11/2009 at 05:55 PM

Hey Pete, hope you don't mind a note of support from a lurker. I don't always agree with everything you write, but I do appreciate your knowledge of the sport/tour and the insights you offer, as well as the speculations.

As for Mirka -- Roger's success is nothing but good for her, and she and Roger must be long past any jealousy/possessive issues. It's tough to imagine Mirka having an agenda that doesn't involve Roger reaching his career tennis goals, or being too in love with her "gatekeeper" role to allow Roger to develop a good coaching relationship with someone else.

Posted by naughty T, Storming the Bastl with the wookie and Sherlock 03/11/2009 at 05:56 PM

I had never seen that article either. Cool Mirka, can dish when she needs to.

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 03/11/2009 at 05:57 PM

So, we have the official reason straight from Cahill's mouth. It's a simple explanation, and, it rings true. "It's 100 percent that. We couldn't get past that practical hurdle". Maybe he was hoping to persuade Federer to be more flexible on his demands, hoped that he could make the schedule and time on the job work around his needs to be with his family. Cahill made it clear that it was he who reached out to Federer this time, intending to see if the collaboration was even a possibility, before signing on to the 2 or 3 year Adidas deal ! Well, one player who will be very happy is Fernando Verdasco. Federer's loss is his gain - he will have access to Cahill's coaching services, and, judging by his progress this year, it's already made an impact. The explanation sounds plausible. I see no reason to speculate any more.

Posted by Ruth 03/11/2009 at 05:58 PM

Pspace: You missed the point I was making, which is that Pete shouldn't worry about a GENDER based flame war because some players said that the idea of Mirka as a coach of a top player was absolute nonsense since the same players(and fans) are, I am sure, quite capable of thinking the same thing (not possible! ridiculous! etc etc) about a MAN coaching top players. Am I clear now? Hope so.

Posted by Gern 03/11/2009 at 05:59 PM

Are you people kidding about this Mirka business? Get over it, please. A) I don't think Pete was trying to demonize Mirka; B) It is almost expected, given their long time together and her experience as a tennis player, that she would have a huge say/lots of control in Roger's affairs; why are you taking offense just because Pete pointed this out? C) Pete said that his theory was just that - a THEORY (so whoever is implying that he is claiming fact needs to be quiet); and D) have you never heard of "Where there's smoke, there's fire?" Obviously, and unless Pete has no journalistic credibility or integrity, which of course he DOES, the Mirka claims come from somewhere. He didn't just make them up, which seems to be what some of you are implying. I have no doubt that in his line of work he hears things and gets told things that it would be wrong of him to tell us because it would break confidences. And obviously, to claim these Mirka comments, he didn't just have one or two measly sources. Implying fabrication of this one thing means you don't have faith in Pete's journalistic integrity. And I doubt many of you feel that way.

PS - how exactly does that article Alexis posted make Pete wrong in any way?

"Well, it seems like it's official - Chris Clarey is reporting that the coaching relationship between Roger Federer and Darren Cahill is dead in the water. Apparently, Cahill had second thoughts about the degree-of-commitment involved, especially in terms of international travel for at least 20 weeks of the year.......

......Wouldn't it make far more sense to let Cahill be the one to scotch the deal?  In so doing, it takes significant pressure - and attention - off Federer's shoulders........In other words, everybody wins.
That narrative might not be honest, but it's painless."

I'm not saying that Cahill is lying of course, but this would fit with Pete's theory, obviously. And why would this article be proof that "sometimes things are really as they appear to be and people do really tell the truth". Why is Darren automatically telling the truth just because /he said it in an interview/??? Again, I'm not saying that he's lying, but why does just his saying it make it true? Pete said that this is how they would say it happened even if it had happened another way. He also said his theory was just a theory. Obviously, he could be wrong, but he already knows that!

Posted by Bev 03/11/2009 at 06:00 PM

Hearing all the comments about RF being a control freak,stubborn, and surrounded by yes men, how do we know that the problem was not Cahill. Did he not make remarks about Nadal winnng the AO? Did he not say Rog. could not afford him?
We don't know anything, everything is pure speculation.
I can't see someone hopping on a flight fron LV to Dubai on a whim, and not discussing some particulars. Seems highly suspect he found out at last minute that extensive travel was involved as a coach.
I also believe there are other good coaches available.I believe if RF wants a coach he will get one.
I can't say that I am entirely unhappy about Cahill.He seemed somewhat arrogant to me.
What about Don Drysdale? I believed he said during the AO that he thought RF was the GOAT.I saw him on the tennis channel the other day, and he looked impressive as a past coach, and player.

Posted by embug 03/11/2009 at 06:03 PM

WOW... lively comments, today.

Two of my work buddies have lived and taught tennis in Dubai. Both men have nothing good to say about Dubai. They say men dominate the culture, which is true given their religion and the fact that women are subservient. Some Arabs drink heavily and then lie about it - for it is forbidden, but not if you have enough money. They gawk at women sun bathing on the beaches. They are demanding and callous.

All the features of Dubai that would tend to make it comfortable for visitors and residents have been built with oil money, which isn't bad - but really it is. My buddies just say it is a God forsaken place that makes most people raised in a democracy, or something close to it, run away, like leave it all behind.

Maybe Darren Cahill couldn't stand the atmosphere of Dubai. Roger might not have to deal with anything outside his realm, which could make the south side of Chicago a decent place, if you had lots of dough. But I'd guess that Darren would have had to interact with the nitty-gritty that makes Dubai perk and that could've been enough to say good-bye, even with a better travel schedule and even with a big fat salary.

Roger is a very proud man. I doubt he has the willingness to learn or be taught. I'm afraid he thinks he knows most of the answers. However, with that attitude creative interaction dies.

Posted by Jenn 03/11/2009 at 06:04 PM

Alexis, why don't you get off Pete's back. Despite Cahill's statements, which could just as easily be a decided attempt at spin as not, it is perfectly legitimate to question this situation. As Pete points out, the reason why this raises eyebrows is not that Cahill would simply choose not to take the engagement (perfectly legitimate), but that he would do so for such obvious and known reasons AFTER he went to Dubai and spent time with Roger. Cahill knew well before agreeing to go there for a "tryout" that he lives in Las Vegas, that his children are "entrenched in school" there, that Roger lives across the globe, and that - news flash - coaching a top player requires at least 20 weeks per year of travelling all over the place, requiring him to be away from kids and home. Cahill may not want to do that and that is FINE. But the point is that he would have known all of those facts BEFORE he went to Dubai. Why even go there if you are not willing to accept the basic parameters of what a position like that would entail.

Of course, it is possible that Cahill thought he would want to do all of that and simply had a change of heart. But Pete raises a legitimate series of questions about why such a change of heart may have come about. Just because Cahill did not choose to air all of his reasons in the press does not mean there were not other reasons. Speculation about it is fair game.

This makes me think of pretty much every politician and other top officials who resign to "spend more time with family." Just because that is the stated reason doesn't mean it is the REAL reason.

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 03/11/2009 at 06:07 PM

I honestly believe Cahill's explanation. If he were lying or, if there were other reasons (such as Mirka, money, or Federer being too stubborn to accept his ideas), he would have either remained silent on the issue (and let Federer and his agent make the official statement), or, his own statement would have been terse and brief. But the extended explanation actually gives him credibility, and, I think we can all stop speculating now. Also, the fact that Cahill was the one to reach out should mean that Federer is far from devastated ... he wasn't even actively seeking him out, or any coach for that matter. Not that I find much comfort in that thought !

Posted by FoT 03/11/2009 at 06:08 PM

Or, there are a few pictures over at the 'mothership'. Not many (yet), but you know they are coming and I'll be over there to see all of them!

One thing Pete or someone said earlier... Just write about Roger (anything about Roger) and your site will be jumping! Love him or hate him - you know he's good for the sport as far as interest goes. No one - not Nadal, not Murray, not Djokovic - no one else makes an internet site hop as much when you write something about Federer. That name brings all the fans, and non-fans out in force. So with that, I guess Pete knew what he was doing when he wrote that article. lol! You go Pete! lol! (still mad at it but I understand as a writer, what you were trying to do). *wink*

Posted by Pspace 03/11/2009 at 06:08 PM

Ruth, yeah, I see your point. Though, I didn't think that anyone was of the opinion that a man couldn't coach a top woman. Given all the evidence to the contrary.

Posted by Or 03/11/2009 at 06:08 PM

I think it is impossible to contest the fact that at this point of Roger's career and mutual life with Mirka, Roger's dependency on her to run everything smoothly for him must be very great.

But how is that different from the dependency Rafa must have on uncle Tony, for example? Or does this make more sense/more acceptable because Tony is a man, and Rafa's uncle, and Rafa's not expected to dump him.

Posted by FoT 03/11/2009 at 06:10 PM

Alexis - hang in there girl! I'm with ya!

Posted by naughty T, Storming the Bastl with the wookie and Sherlock 03/11/2009 at 06:11 PM

Jenn this is not a criticism of you.... but have you never been in a situation where you have made a decision and then in the midst of carrying it out thought, "oh god no, I was so wrong, I thought I could do this. But no. This is not what I want at all"?
I sure have. And it has even involved travelling to foreign countries to join "famous" dance companies and then just sayin.. "nope. I got it wrong"

Posted by Antoinette 03/11/2009 at 06:15 PM

I love the quotes from Mirka in that 2004 article...the lady can stand up for herself if she needs to. It would be intersting to have a more current interview from her as it seems that their relationship is now part of the debate. Unfortunately that is unlikely to happen as having seen her man thrown under the bus by the media she is hardly likely to sit down for a tete a tete with anyone any time soon. As Roger would say, it is a pity.

Posted by Or 03/11/2009 at 06:15 PM

Jenn -

Pete's statements were made before the interview with Cahill, which strikes me as a real explanation, especially given that he sought THEM out, after they approached him a couple of times in the past and he refused.

Maybe, due to the whole Australia situation he decided to go ahead and give it a go against his better judgement, and after what? 20 hours flight to Dubai, realized it's just not going work.

I mean, I doubt he would lie to the degree of saying that practice went VERY WELL if that wasn't the case. I think he would have just said they didn't get to do too much, or something like that, and won't go out of his way of calling Roger a class act if they had a severe clash of personality.

I just really believe that article, and what I would hate most is for all testimonies to be pointing to one direction (distance made it too difficult) while all speculation talk about something completely unsupported by evidence.

Posted by Rosangel 03/11/2009 at 06:17 PM

Alexis: in case you didn't see it, I left you a response at the end of the "Home Again" post.

Posted by 03/11/2009 at 06:17 PM

"we couldn't get past that practical hurdle" yeah, and the easter bunny is real. I guarantee that cahill did something to tick mirka off in dubai. Hopefully, it will come out in the wash - Mirka is a larger problem for Fed, than cahill turning down the role.

Posted by naughty T, Storming the Bastl with the wookie and Sherlock 03/11/2009 at 06:20 PM

Mirka reveals her true colours

Posted by Syd 03/11/2009 at 06:21 PM


Juicy column. Lurve this sort of thing myself, it's loads of fun. Think you likely hit pay dirt here when you spoke of Annacome:

" But Pete was a fellow American (living, as Annacone did, on the east coast) and, significantly, something of a lone wolf. There were none of the kinds of complications cited above. '

I imagine that Cahill is quite Americanized at this juncture—actually Ozzie culture isn't that much different from American. Cahill might have felt like a fish out of water with all those Europeans swanking around Fed in Dubai... I wouldn't be surprised if it was a whole lifestyle 'not feeling at ease' thing that finally put the nail in the deal for Cahill.

Just speculation. But the more I hear about the wife and the kids, the less inclined I am to believe it anything more than flak talk.

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