Reinforcing the pervasive sense of grief at Wimbledon, following the shock news that the greatest tennis player of all time, Roger Federer, would be missing the tournament because of a knee injury, the Swiss tennis star used his farewell appearance at the All England Club, on Monday, to honor the life of his long-time coach, Severin Luthi. The latter died on Saturday aged 85, of lung cancer, leaving Roger Federer in a state of shock. Here are excerpts from the speech, as told to Agence France-Presse by Federer at his news conference on Monday.
The Honorable Robert Ayling
I’m going to do a tribute to Severin Luthi who is not here. I really want to thank him for helping me all these years. He went through a lot personally, and he was very brave. We lost him this past week, Severin was a fighter. He was fighting for my whole career. He was fighting really hard, and for all the team, and to try to support me. He came around to the last couple of tournaments, and in Montreal and Cincinnati and Rome. Thank you so much.
I wouldn’t say this is a message in my life and what you are seeing is a tennis speech. Since the moment I realized how much I wanted to win the gold medal in Montreal, I knew I wanted my coach on the court, with me.
Severin Luthi (circled in 2009) was one of the influences on Federer, being his coach for 18 years.
I started back in 1995, at the age of 14, with the best of Richard Williams. I saw you turn out the way you did. You were always here, but we never thought we would coach each other. We never thought we would be teammates. You are the first coach I ever got. We were two kids together, and I feel like I never had an “A” coach, but we had a “B” coach. He was the person that I would go to if I had a question.