What to learn from Roger Federer’s parents

For parents, I’d (Peter) like to mention an example.

Roger Federer’s parents, they never got involved.

They helped us and asked us if we needed something.

They were there for me and Roger, if we could sleep overnight in their house in between tournaments, they would make a nice dinner and then we would leave for the next tournament.

Roger’s mom would wash our clothes and help us be ready for the next tournament.

That’s tennis parents, the real ones, in my opinion.

To me (Peter) being a tennis parents is not about how many tournaments you have to play and all that.

Why balls are good for spectators but bad for players

Q: So, playing on the on clay and that being good for you, do you also feel like the indoor courts that has been slowed down and also the balls that are bigger and slower now, do you think that’s good for the development of players?

Yes and no.

The balls are heavier, so that equals more injuries on arms, elbows and wrists.

Everybody’s hitting the ball so hard these days with the different string material compared to earlier.

On the other hand, I think it’s good for us to watch tennis on a slower court for sure.

It was boring to watch Stockholm open from 1980 in the Global Arena where basically we were playing on ice.

That was no fun for the spectators.

So, I think that’s much better for spectators now, but the balls I don’t think it’s so good for the players.

Why playing on clay is great

Clay is great for tennis players.

I wish I (Peter) would have played more on clay even if that had meant that I would have lost more matches.

Because when you go to hard court, from clay it’s so much easier to play tennis.

When you go from grass to hard court.

You are so bad afterwards on hard courts.

So as much as you can play on clay because it’s good for you.

What to remember as a tennis coach if you are a former player

First of all, if you have been a player, you have to cut the string, you’re done, it’s over. Your tennis career is over. I think a lot of coaches have a problem with that. They cannot see, “OK, it’s over”.

…but it is.

Use all the experiences and all the mistakes you did. That’s a good start. If you haven’t been a player, if you have another background to be a coach, then it’s totally different.

In my (Peter) case, I tried to listen a lot to the players. It’s an advantage having been a player at a certain level, because you can you think a little bit like them and that’s a good thing.

When that is said, when I (Peter) work with somebody, I don’t have a line that this is the way it should be. You always have to see who you work with. Some players need more practice, some need more quality and less practice.

How being a father has changed Peter Lundgren’s view on parents in tennis

Q: Have your viewpoint changed on how parents should be involved in their kid’s tennis journey after you’ve become a parent yourself?

Yeah, of course.

I get reminded every single day as a coach. It doesn’t matter what level it is.

I lived in the states 10 years and I worked with decent players, bad players, and then you see parents who want it more than the kids and that is very sad for me to see. It’s a problem that the parents want too much and want to get involved and tell the coach. I had so many times a parent come up to me and say: “My son needs to work on this and this.”

I said, “Listen, sit down and I’ll have a look and see what I think.”

Then the parents became quieter. But that’s how you have to act. You just have to say, hey. You took a lesson from me, so sit down. You know, it’s very common around the world that the parents are too involved.

Q: Have you found that changing over the years that the parents have become more involved or at least wanting to be more involved?

Yes, definitely. I believe a big reason is the money involved, which then makes the parents getting involved, too. They want their kid to be good and be making money. And, that’s the way it is. And it doesn’t matter what sport it is. Some money is always involved in the big sports, like tennis. So, parents are more involved. That’s just way it is.

Being a traveling coach as a father

It’s very hard. That was the hard part for me (Peter), especially with Roger (red. Federer), because we did so many weeks together. We did 40 weeks. So basically, I had a relationship with him because I spent so much time with him. Further he was a kid when I worked with him. He was going from being kind of young in his mind outside the court growing into a man. So, it was a lot of work outside the court and also on court of course.

It was easy with Marat (Red. Safin) because by then he was more a man, so I didn’t have to focus so much on him as a person. It was strictly business. I didn’t travel as extensively with him as I did with Roger, so I had some time with my family.

Q: If you could provide yourself with an advice with what you know now, what would that be?

Don’t do too many weeks in a row. It’s hard to be away from the family for 5-6 weeks. It’s very, very hard. I prefer going away for 3 weeks and then have a block of 2 weeks at home and then go away again. Leading up to Grand Slam, you have to do a month. But in between the slams you have to have some breaks. 1 week is not enough as you come home, and you land. You feel all right. It’s nice to be home and then you have to go again. If you have 2 or 3 weeks at home, then you feel more like you can relax a little bit and take care of the family and do things together, because 1 week it’s simply too little.

#99: Peter Lundgren – The good, bad & ugly part of being a traveling Tennis Coach


Hi guys, In this episode you are going to listen to Peter Lundgren. Peter might be best known for coaching 3 world number ones in Marcello Rios, Roger Federer and Marat Safin, but he was a great player himself with a ranking high of #25 ATP and 3 ATP titles to his name. Besides the previously mentioned players Peter has had coaching stints with the likes of Marcos Baghdatis, Francesca Schiavone, Grigor Dimitrov and Stanislas Wawrinka.

You’ll get to know:

  • How it is being a traveling tennis coach and a father
  • The differences between Federer and Safin
  • Why balls are good for spectators, but bad for players

Enjoy the show!


01:30 Dealing with different tennis players
03:00 The difference between Federer and Safin
05:30 Dealing with being a traveling tennis coach and a father
07:30 Deciding on the size of your entourage as a player
09:30 Dealing with tennis parents
11:00 Peter’s lessons from coaching in Houston for 10 years
13:30 The Francesca Schiavone story
16:40 Why you should play on clay
18:30 Why new balls are good for spectators and bad for players
19:30 The player-coach employment
21:00 The good bad and ugly part of being a traveling coach
23:00 Biggest lesson in tennis; be humble
23:15 Tribute to Bjorn Borg
24:30 Peter Lundgren’s tennis advice