In a recent interview, Roger Federer's coach Severin Luthi recalled when he first saw the Swiss player live. The Basel native was just 11 years old at the time. "It was in Kloten, in 1992, at the junior Swiss Championships.
I have the image of a very skin and small kid who already had a one-handed backhand. Then I saw him at the National Center in Ecublens", said Luthi. Has he ever thought Federer would become a legend? "Never, I have to be honest.
Who would have thought it? It was difficult to even think he would be on the top 100. Many players are talented, but with the talent you do nothing. Having said that, he quickly improved and people started speaking of him. I remember against the Argentine Agustin Garizzio on the Satellite circuit in Nyon.
All of a sudden, in some games, Federer looked very impressive. I think he realized he really wanted to have success. He took the right decisions. For his coaches, for example. And his parents gave him a very good education. They were not pushy.
Roger could get back to school if it did not work." How did Luthi approach Federer? "I helped him for the first time when he split with Peter Lundgren. I was his training mate. Then in 2007, he split with Tony Roche.
Roger then asked me to follow him in the French Open. Then I was in his summer preparation in Dubai, I followed him in Basel and in the US Open, then in Dubai again. But it was not full time. The year after I was more often with him."