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Time for Federer to seek outside help

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With the ability to conjure magical shots at will, the Swiss master is probably the most gifted player the sport has ever seen. Winning 13 Grand Slam titles in just over five years bears testimony to his talent.

But since Nadal has now beaten him in five of their seven Grand Slam final meetings, Federer needs to explore new avenues.

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    Whereas most top players have a small army of people to turn to when the going gets tough, Federer travels with a tiny support group led by girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec, whose many roles include media manager, business adviser and occasional hitting partner.

    Since parting ways with Swede Peter Lundgren in December 2003, Federer has opted not to work with a full-time trainer.

    He hired Tony Roche and Jose Higueras on a part-time basis, mainly to draw on their claycourt expertise, but those relationships fizzled out when Federer failed to capture the French Open trophy.

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