Pierre Paganini with Roger Federer
Athletic coach Pierre Paganini has been a key player in Roger Federer’s career, one of his secrets that led him to play beautiful tennis for more than 20 years, with relatively few injuries. A few days after his retirement from the upcoming Laver Cup in London (September 23-25, London, O2 Arena), Paganini made some statements to the Swiss magazine. Blake. Always very conservative, it is interesting to know the point of view of someone who in recent years has been the closest to the Swiss champion. Here are some excerpts from his interview.
“The decision to quit didn’t come overnight, he’s known this from us in his inner circle for a long time. In July, he started doing more intense sets of training, combining different elements, and realized that it took a lot of effort to get to a relatively low intensity, Not enough to be able to compete at the highest levels.I have worked with him for 22 years and feel very privileged to accompany him, one of the best athletes in history and an extraordinary person. It seems to me a miracle that it lasted until this age and what it achieved between 2017 and 2019 is incredible. Roger has put his body under severe and prolonged stress, so stopping now seems like a smart choice to me“.
What drove Federer to play for so long was just a love of the sport: “Roger has a great passion for tennis, and by stopping now I think it will ensure that he continues to enjoy the sport for the rest of his life, in whatever format you choose to do so in the future. His decision was a comfort to me because I was so afraid that his knee would be damaged again and there was a real danger of him getting injured so seriously that it would affect the rest of his life off the field.. As an outstanding athlete, you have to be smart enough to know where the boundaries cannot be crossed. He is a very sensitive and emotional person, so the moment he told us he was going to retire was emotional. An athlete decides this once in his life, which I know he thought about a lot before coming to that choice.”
The relationship between the two is very long. Paganini saw that the little boy had become a man, without losing his soul: “As someone who has matured a lot, but still that young man with a huge heart that I met at the age of 14. He hasn’t changed in that at all, he jokes, he’s always positive and takes things up a notch.. From a professional point of view, from a physical trainer’s point of view, he has never ceased to amaze me again and again for his ability to work hard and sacrifice. It was amazing to see the dedication he put into each training session. The most exciting thing about his career is that on the pitch he made everything seem simple, but people can’t imagine the work behind it.. He is talented, of course, but his successes are the result of tremendous work, backed by the passion that has always accompanied him over these long years.”
Those who were able to attend Federer’s training sessions, in the presence of Paganini, were able to note the details in which some specific motor phases were trained, such as sprinting in the first step, posture of the feet in response after impact, approaching the ball, such as “slipping” sideways to defend and then cutting the field to restore the center. Everyone admired Roger’s arm speed and class, but without that speed, anticipation and ability to get close to the ball, this amazingly fast tennis would have been impossible. In this, Paganini’s work was decisive, he refined and strengthened the innate motor qualities of the Swiss.