Roger Federer splits with coach Paul Annacone
Roger Federer is having his worst season on the tennis tour since he became a grand slam champion.
He suffered his earliest grand slam exit in a decade and has slipped to seventh in the world rankings. For the first time since 2002, he didn't reach a grand slam final.
His coach, Paul Annacone, appears to have paid the price for the slump as Federer announced Saturday that he had cut ties with the American who used to work with 14-time major winner Pete Sampras and ex British No. 1 Tim Henman.
Annacone's ties to Sampras and Henman contributed to Federer hiring him in the first place, since the 17-time grand slam winner is friends with both former players.
"When we started together we had a vision of a 3 year plan to win another grand slam title and get back to the number #1 ranking," Federer wrote on his website. "Along with many other goals and great memories, these 2 main goals were achieved.
"After numerous conversations culminating at the end of our most recent training block, we felt like this was the best time and path for both of us.
"Paul remains a dear friend, and we both look forward to continuing our friendship. I want to thank Paul for his help and the value he has added to me and my team."
It's likely that Federer will continue to work with Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Luethi, who often accompanies him to tournaments, as he tries to earn a spot at the year-end championships in London.
Federer is by no means guaranteed a berth in the eight-man field and his chances weren't helped when he lost to Gael Monfils in the third round of this week's Shanghai Masters.
Afterwards, Monfils said Federer's aura was fading.
"I think he (misses) a little bit more than he used to,'' he said. ''I know he will try and go for his shot, but maybe he is a bit less confident.''
Federer said on the eve of the tournament he was looking forward to a "great" 2014 and his decision to split with Annacone suggests he is indeed determined to win another major rather than simply linger in the top 10.
His next event is at home in Basel, Switzerland in a little over a week.
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