There was an interview with Peter Lundgren in Swiss media and I thought it was worth to translate it
“It is only over when he retires”
By René Stauffer
48 years old tennis coach Peter Lundgren talks about Roger Federer with whom he won Wimbledon 10 years ago.
10 years ago Peter Lundgren was the coach of Roger Federer when he won the Wimbledon trophy for the first time. This year the 48 years old Svede saw the early loss of the title defender against Sergiy Stakhovsky as coach of American Michael Russell. The former tennis professional worked with Federer since August 1997 and led him to #2 in the ranking before they split at the end of 2003. He was also the coach of Marcelo Rios, Thomas Enqvist, Marat Safin and in 2010/11 Stanislas Wawrinka.
Meanwhile he works in Houston, Texas as a club coach.
Have you thought a lot in Wimbledon about the year 2003?
It is quite astonishing: Already 10 years… Can you believe how time flies?
Did many emotions come up?
Always when I’m in Wimbledon. This title, his first Grand Slam victory, is the biggest memory which I have with him. I’m a bit proud that I was present with him that time.
Which is the most defining memory you have of that?
Before the QF against Sjeng Schalken he had heavy back pain. Suddenly it started to rain and it kept raining. That was his chance to recover and to get fit again. That was important. Otherwise it would have become difficult for him to win that year.
You once said that with Federer the Ketchup-effect could occur: First nothing happens and then suddenly all. You were right with that. But could you imagine that he would win 7 Wimbledon titles?
The first big title is always important. People often asked me: Why doesn’t he win a Grand Slam tournament? I said: He is not ready for it. Everything takes it time. Just look at the players from today: They are 25 or 28 years old when they become really good. Wimbledon was always special for him. He had his breakthrough here in 2001 with the victory against Pete Sampras which made him famous. In the next year he lost in a brutal way against Ancic but one year later he got the title.
How do you rate the loss against Stakhovsky?
I haven’t seen everything, only parts of the match. Michael Russell, who I’m working with, practiced with Stakhovsky and I noticed that he was in a very good form. Of course in a normal case he shouldn’t win against Federer. He needed one of those days in which Roger doesn’t bring 100% of his performance. It is an incredible record that he reached 36 consecutive times the QF of a major tournament. It’s a pity for the tournament that he and Nadal are not there anymore. The tableau opened up in an astonishing way.
How do you rate Federer’s performance?
I don’t think he played that bad. He didn’t have his best day but Stakhovsky had great winners when he needed them. He had nothing to lose. He played against the best player of all time, just went out there on the court and played his match. It was the same with Dustin Brown who beat Lleyton Hewitt or with Steve Darcis who probably played the match of his life against Nadal.
What do you expect from Federer in the future?
I’m sure he will bounce back without any problems. Many people said to me in previous times: Now it is over with him. But it will only be over for him when he ends his career. Not before. As long as he plays the game he will always have chances to win a Grand Slam.
How long will he continue to play?
I hope for him and tennis for a very long time. He loves the game and I think he still feels fresh. He doesn’t play too much and looks fit. It only depends on him whether he still has the fire. When it goes out he should stop. But I think he still has a lot of tennis in him. He just won in Halle his 77th title. Together with Wawrinka he has the best fitness coach in the world in Pierre Paganini.
How has your relationship to him developed? Do you often have contact?
Yes. I met him in Wimbledon on the training grounds. He appears not so often these days, and it is difficult to meet him. But when we see each other everything is as it used to be. It is a wonderful feeling. He is still the same and I really like that. It has been a long time since we were working together. We are still good friends.
Did you talked with him about what happened 10 years ago?
No, not this time. We talked about the children, he asked about my ones and me about his ones. But I don’t want to take too much of his time as there are always many people around him who want something of him.
Can Federer get back to #1 again?
He surely tries to be ranked as good as possible. But when you drop behind it gets more and more difficult and you also get worse seedings. I think he will concentrate on the tournaments he wants to win but will also have a look at the rankings.
Do you travel as coach of Russell on the tennistour more regularly now?
No, no, that is over. I did it for many years. I help him sometimes because he is a nice guy, hard worker and practices in my club.
How does your new everyday life in Texas looks like?
I teach 5, 6 hours a day, work with good juniors, elderly people and members of the club. It is something different but a lot of fun. It is plesant to have your own basis and to sleep in your own bed. I also like the climate. Now it’s nearly 40 degrees. But there was enough coldness in my life. In two weeks my son Lukas is coming over. He is 15, wants to be a tennis professional and hopes to find a college team.