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Robson needs stabilty, Roger needs confidence and Novak's looking relaxed, says Barry Cowan

Barry Cowan Posted 16th October 2013 view comments

If we look at Laura Robson's year on a whole - it's been good in the Grand Slams but it's been poor elsewhere.

It's been a stop-start year and I think what she needs is stability and in my opinion she had that in Miles Maclagan, he's someone with experience and who was in her corner and I'm surprised that it has ended in the way it has.

Roger Federer has parted ways with his coach of over three years, Paul Annacone

Roger Federer has parted ways with his coach of over three years, Paul Annacone

Whichever direction she decides to go next she can't afford to have a coach for four or five months; she's at a very important part of her career where she has to kick on. She obviously had a great run at Wimbledon, but outside of that has she really kicked on from last year? I'm not so sure, well certainly not as much as I thought she would do.

Whichever direction she decides to go next she can't afford to have a coach for four or five months; she's at a very important part of her career where she has to kick on.

Barry Cowan
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Some of it hasn't been within her control because she's had injuries here and there so she hasn't been able to build up momentum, but it needs to be a two, three or four year coach relationship plan.

FEDERER FACING RACE TO ATP FINALS

Another player who has parted ways with his coach is Roger Federer. I think making the decision to end his time with Paul Annacone is no slight of him as a coach. The coach is there is to help and guide and give little pointers here and there and help with motivation, but at the end of the day it's the player that's got to be the one who gets out there and makes the decisions under real pressure.

For me the main nuts and bolts of Roger's problems is confidence. He's been going on to court not sure what's going to happen. When he was dominating he knew if he played his best tennis he would win. Now, he's not sure if he can play his best tennis, so there's doubts going on in his mind - is that something that is terminal? - I don't think so, but it's worrying at the moment. This is not something that has been going on for two or three weeks, this has been going on since the start of Rotterdam, in fact you could almost pin-point it to the fifth set of the Australian Open against Andy Murray, because up until then he was playing really well and then he sort of collapsed in the Australian semi - I didn't think that was anything to worry about, but it has been.

I always come back and say: If you ask me to give you a definite answer to whether Roger Federer will win another Grand Slam, I'd go towards no, but I'm certainly not confident doing that. Federer is guy who is a serial winner and if he gets that feeling back then he knows how to get it done. The top three are a level ahead as it stands, but Andre Agassi was winning Grand Slams over the age of 32 , Goran Ivanisevic won a Grand Slam when no one expected him to and Pete Sampras won a Grand Slam in a worse slump of form - so why can't Federer?

At the moment he just needs to get a run of matches. If he's going to the Australian Open having lost in the quarter-finals of Basle and the quarter-finals of Paris and failing to reach the O2, then I don't see how he'll be able to flick a switch and win the Australian. But if he has a good next few weeks and off-season, then starts with a bang there's no reason why we can't see him in the semi-finals down in Melbourne.

It's a culmination of factors that have played a part in why Roger is where he is at the moment, but we know what a great competitor he is and it could be that more people that write him off, the more determined he could be to prove them wrong. I'm convinced that he's going to have a really good year next year. I'm not going to say he'll win a Grand Slam, but I think he'll be amongst the top four or five because I think he still enjoys what he's doing and he'll be motivated.

DJOKOVIC FIGHTS BACK

What an incredible couple of week for Novak and it's been the perfect response to Nadal taking the World No1 ranking. Djokovic has certainly put down a marker. I think in general he's looked more relaxed; you never want to lose the No1 ranking, but sometimes it can take a lot out of you because everyone is hunting you. He's now trying to track down Nadal, so Rafa will have to deal with a few of those pressures.

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