Today’s pic brings us three Swiss men on a practice court. At the left, Swiss Davis Cup captain and coach Severin Lüthi. To his right, Swiss players Stanislas Wawrinka and Roger Federer. During their tennis workout sessions, the three regularly pause for a chat at the net. Sometimes they’ll just congregate for a rest, a drink, and some taunting about whoever hit that last shot straight into the net, but this convo seems a bit more serious.
One of the endlessly fascinating things about tennis is how each player goes about the exact same game in their own unique way–with his/her own style, patterns, and quirks. I liked this photo because you can see a bit of each guy’s personality just in the way that they’re standing. How they plant their feet. Where they put their hands. The arch of their bodies.
We can also have a bit of fun reading stories into this photo. The relationship between Stan and Roger is an especially complicated one, and while there still seems to be plenty of mutual appreciation and affection, things occasionally get a bit tense between the two Olympic-gold-winning doubles partners. So, it is a bit amusing to zoom in on the photo and see that Stan is giving Rog a bit of side-eye here.
Or, erm, maybe it would be more like: “C’est quoi ce bordel?”
Read what you will into it, with dramatic narratives about Davis Cup grievances, Roger hinting that Stan should try a Wilson racquet, or Stan wondering why the hell Rog has suggested getting Chinese food for the third night in a row. Let your imagination run wild!
Aside from that conversational land mine, Davis Cup, the three men have been intertwined professionally for years. Roger asked Sev to help him out in Paris in 2007, when he was sans coach, and that turned out to be the beginning of a beautiful coach/player relationship. With Paul Annacone now on board, the two pros share coaching duties so Roger is never without someone to advise him. Sev has been with Rog for five of the Maestro’s Slam wins.
Sev doesn’t confine his consulting to Federer. In 2012, he started sharing his tennis knowledge with Stan. Asked recently about his increasingly impressive play, including the epic five-setter against Novak Djokovic at the AO13 and his subsequent Monte Carlo victory over Andy Murray, Stan replied:
“I have more experience, have grown older and calmer. I have also worked well in the past few months – and was also lucky that Severin (Luthi) helped me.”
Now that Stan has his own coach, Magnus Norman, we’re left to wonder if the three Swiss men above will appear together on a practice court again.
PHOTO: c2012 Valerie David at TennisInsideOut.com