Roger Federer is probably the best tennis player ever to take to the courts.
He has the most complete game, and is the most technically sound we have ever seen.
The problem? He knows it.
Combine this knowledge with the stubbornness of a champion, and a fierce denial that he is no longer the best, and the problem is bigger than it should be.
I think it is unanimous within the tennis community—Roger Federer needs a coach.
Lets face it—with the world's best ever player, there isn't really a whole lot of "coaching" as such that can be done.
As the saying goes, "a little goes a long way". A tweak here, a tweak there—it could be all it takes.
I never thought the following would be applicable to Roger Federer—but his current mental strength is probably one of the most fragile on tour.
He has become prone to final set meltdowns. He was reduced to tears by Rafael Nadal. He smashed a racket when playing against Novak Djokovic.
A coach would be able to share in these problems with him. Moral support, or something of the sort. A fresh pair of ears to run his strategies by, some new tactical suggestions.
A reinforcement of the obvious—like getting your first serves in.
Generally, just somebody to shoulder some of the burden of knowing that, while you may be the best ever, you aren't the best right now.
Okay—you can take the "Darren Cahill" episode as an admittance that he needs help. Whatever. It didn't happen.
And no matter what either of them says, I don't buy that Cahill's problem was the distance. He has already coached on tour—he knew the requirements.
We shall never know if Cahill honestly hadn't thought it through with regards to the extent of his travelling, if it was just Fed saying "I'm here, I'm not going anywhere, I'm trying to do something," or if it was something else entirely.
Frankly it doesn't matter.
What matters is, Roger Federer is still without a coach, and that is something which needs to change.
When you are dominating the entire tennis world, when you rarely lose matches, when your mental strength is virtually indestructable—that is when you can say, there's no real point in paying a coach. (The fact that you shouldn't say that, because there are always ways to improve, is irrelevant.)
You do not say that when you have lost five consecutive times to Rafael Nadal, four consecutive times to Andy Murray, broken a winning streak against Novak Djokovic, and self-destructed in the final set of any tough match.
If that is what is happening, it's more than time you say enough's enough—I need help. I can't do this alone. Somebody needs to tell me what to do, so I can start winning again.
John McEnroe has offered his services to Roger Federer. So far, I've heard nothing as to what Roger's response has been.
I hope—for Roger's own sake, and for the sake of tennis—that he accepts the help.
Because the greatest player ever needs to prove that he can stand up to adversity, after five virtually unchallenged years at the top.
He needs to cement his status, and to do so, he will need a coach.