Former World No. 1 tennis player Roger Federer has split with his coach Paul Annacone after failing to reach the final of any of the four Grand Slam tournaments for the first time since 2002.
“After a terrific 3 1/2 years working together, Paul and I have decided to move on to the next chapter in our professional lives,” the 32-year-old Swiss player said on his website.
Federer made his earliest exit from the U.S. Open in 10 years in September when the seventh seed was beaten 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-4 by 19th-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain in a fourth-round match. He also lost this year in the second round of Wimbledon, a tournament where he has previously triumphed seven times, and was defeated in the quarterfinals of the French Open and the semifinals of the Australian Open.
Federer, who has won a record 17 major men’s singles titles, has spent a record 302 weeks as the world’s top player, including 237 consecutive weeks from Feb. 2, 2004 to Aug. 18, 2008. He reclaimed the top spot in 2009 before sliding as low as No. 3 in 2010.
The Swiss player hired Annacone, who had previously coached former No. 1 Pete Sampras, on a trial basis in 2010 after he lost in the quarterfinals of both the French Open and Wimbledon. He won another Wimbledon title last year and once again rose to the top of the rankings in 2012, but has fallen to seventh this year with no major titles to his credit.
“When we started together we had a vision of a three-year plan to win another Grand Slam title and get back to the number one ranking,” Federer said of his relationship with Annacone. “Along with many other goals and great memories, these two 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.”
Annacone left his previous job as head coach of the U.K.’s Lawn Tennis Association to work with Federer. He took up the LTA job in 2006 and before that the American coached both 14-time major winner Sampras and Tim Henman, formerly Britain’s top player.
Federer had been guided by Australian coaches Peter Carter, who died in 2002, and Tony Roche. After splitting from Roche in 2007, he worked with his nation’s Davis Cup captain Severin Luthi.
In addition to his record-equaling seven Wimbledon wins, Federer has won four Australian Opens, one French Open and five U.S. Opens. The 2012 Wimbledon championship was his most recent Grand Slam victory.