He is humble and discreet. Very discreet even. Yet Severin Lüthi plays a vital role in Roger Federer's career. They met when the young Roger was 14 years old. He first helped him intermittently before becoming, in 2007, his regular trainer. And even if a second coach works by his side (now Ivan Ljubicic), Lüthi remains the centerpiece.
In twelve years of collaboration with the man in the twenty titles of the Grand Slam, he became his friend and his confidant. Tony Godsick, the agent, speaks of him as "an extension of the family, the one who keeps the team together" and believes that "Roger would not be here today without Severin".
Federer himself admits: "I owe Seve a lot of my victories, it's clear. What does the person think? Confidence before a semifinal dream, this Friday, against Rafael Nadal, his best enemy.
Everyone around Roger Federer continues to praise your importance. Are you aware of bringing him that much?
SEVERIN LÜHTI. It's a privilege to train him because he's a top guy. And it's true that I'm also trying to help her as a friend. On a professional level, I would say that it is mainly small tactical and technical tricks that I give him. People think that with a guy like Rog, there is no need to say anything. But I see that everyday, it's important to remind him of things.
You dare to tell him everything. It helps, right?
Yes it's clear. It's important to stay myself, to be able to say things, even unpleasant. And Roger gives me the opportunity. It gives me the opportunity to be the boss in certain situations, to make the decisions even when he might have done otherwise. He trusts. This is one of his qualities. He also has a lot of respect. Most of the time, we are friends, but when we have something to discuss, we do it. He knows when he can be stupid and when he has to be serious. Without this franchise relationship, I might not be here anymore.
In the box during games, you manifest more than a few years ago …
Yes because I feel he needs it more than before. He is more searching for our support.
At 38, he still wins titles and is in the semifinals of Wimbledon. He still surprises you?
He surprises me in his desire to constantly question himself and to continue to progress. He knew how to keep this freshness, and the child who is in him with this very emotional side to last.
His agent Tony Godsick says you're the locker room. But contrary to what people think, Federer is also a joker. Your humor very tongue-in-cheek must please him …
From this point of view, we are very similar. We spend lots of good times together joking, and that's very important for the balance of our relationship. But we also know when to stop bullshit. Even if it can go far, sometimes up to ten minutes before a match.
You get on well with Mirka, Federer's wife …
Yes very well. I've known her for even longer than Roger. I like spending time with family and children (four). I am married but do not have children myself. And I have the same feeling for them as if it were mine.
We feel moved!
I spent so much time with them … I love them!