After a decent playing career, Paul Annacone became Pete Sampras's coach in 1995 and guided his compatriot to tennis glory. In 2010, Annacone had the opportunity to work with another legend, Roger Federer. The pair became Wimbledon champions in 2012 and continued their collaboration until October 2013.
Sampras and Federer are among the best players in history, overall and on grass, sharing 15 Wimbledon trophies and dominating the cathedral of tennis in different times. Being familiar with the game and tactics of both players, Annacone stated that Sampras' strength stemmed primarily from his powerful opening punch.
The American was capable of executing his best serves when it mattered most and remaining calm in decisive moments. Instead, Federer has both the incredible serve and the ability to serve early from anywhere on the court and get to the net in the blink of an eye.
The coach explained the great confidence of Sampras and Federer, especially in decisive moments and under pressure, guaranteed ingredients on the fastest surface. Not wanting to compare eras, Annacone said they are both the top lawn tennis players of their generations and the ones who were prepared to settle down and deliver their best tennis on a regular basis.
"Pete's thing is the serve from him; he's probably the best server or serve holder I've ever seen."
Federer is a 20-time Grand Slam champion
Roger Federer is one of the greatest players of all time.
He is revered for his exploits on the court and the way he has conducted himself off the court. "I don't presume to know how he developed personally. I'm not his friend, not a family member. An interview is an interview.
Here he is very pleasant, very open. He hasn't changed at all in certain areas - even if he has become a billionaire in the meantime (laughs). He always asks questions. My first conversation in 2001 was less of an interview and more of a conversation.
And in 2019, the last time I spoke to him, it was the same," Clarey said. Clarey also spoke about how the Federer we see on television is different to the one that interacts with people. "What has changed is of course his knowledge, in general, but also about tennis history.
His sense of humor is also often underestimated, he always cracks a joke and likes to laugh. In conversation, he doesn't come across as elegant as in advertising, more like a normal person. He's a warm guy," he added.