Before he watches the US Open semifinal match between Roger Federer and fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka, trainer Pierre Paganini might want to talk to Richard Williams, father of Serena and Venus. The senior Williams might have a little advice for Paganini about how to watch a match that you want both players to win. Williams might also have a word about how to stay professionally mum about each player’s weaknesses when talking to the other. Paganini knows things about Roger he can’t tell Stan, and vice-versa. But what all three men know is that two of the most fit athletes on the planet will take the court at Flushing Meadows for the semifinal — and that those two players have Paganini to thank.
So who is this fitness hero, a man who trains Grand Slam winning machines in their thirties? Paganini, like his charges, is also a Swiss — a former European footballer. But you’d have to be one of his intimates to know more. Paganini doesn’t seek the spotlight, only the results. Wawrinka attributed his French Open victory to having reached a new fitness level, designed by Paganini. Federer has long been full of praise for the trainer. Paganini’s secret is simple, but requires vigilance: “In sport, as in life,” Paganini says, “you look at the details.”