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Monday, August 2, 2010
Updated: August 3, 1:48 PM ET
Change of scenery help these players?


Given there's a three-week dead zone, at least, for most of the top players after Wimbledon, it's not a bad time to tweak entourages. For those struggling, call it a chance to get things right heading into the season's final major, the U.S. Open.

However, this year has seen more alterations than in the past among the elite, led by none other than Roger Federer.

Note these five changes:

Roger Federer

Move: Adding Paul Annacone, on a trial basis

Synopsis: Annacone seems to be a good fit, for a number of reasons. He has ample experience, a laid-back, calm demeanor that Federer favors (see Severin Luthi, Jose Higueras and Darren Cahill) and worked with two of Fed's buddies, Pete Sampras and Tim Henman.

As Federer nears his 29th birthday, he's lost half a step. Annacone, good at tactics and a net rusher in his time, might get Federer to go forward more instead of lingering on the baseline. If Federer's back continues to worsen, all the more reason. Shorten the points.

The message from Federer, obviously, is that he's not content to sit on 16 Grand Slam titles. Even with two kids and achieving everything possible in the game, he still wants more.

How impressive is that?

Andy Murray

Move: Axing Miles Maclagan

Synopsis: The British press reported Maclagan and Murray's consultant, former Grand Slam finalist Alex Corretja, weren't getting along. Murray didn't discuss specifics in a conference call last week, saying only that he and Maclagan differed in their view on how Murray should evolve.

Maclagan won't be saying much. He was under a gag order while working with Murray and probably still is now.

Cahill was quickly linked, unrealistically, with Murray. Cahill has a great gig as an analyst and roving instructor with Murray's clothing sponsor, adidas. He can maintain some sort of family life.

And if he didn't sacrifice that to coach Federer last year, why would he do it for Murray? (Cahill confirmed his stance over the weekend.)

Does it really matter who comes in after the U.S. Open? One of Murray's first coaches, Mark Petchey, urged the Scot to become more aggressive. It didn't happen. Years later, not much has changed.

Murray is a stubborn guy.

Nikolay Davydenko

Move: Spending less time with his bro

Synopsis: When Davydenko said at the Australian Open his bubbly wife, Irina, could probably teach him a few things about tennis, he wasn't joking.

It appears Irina will indeed spend at least some time guiding her husband as Davydenko's longtime coach, brother Eduard, works more closely with his own 17-year-old son, Philip. Imagine Irina in a tracksuit feeding balls to Davydenko in practice.

Irina, according to Davydenko, did a good job motivating the baseliner on the final day of Russia's Davis Cup quarterfinal against Argentina last month.

However, winning the year-end championships in London, when he downed Rafa and Roger, seems like ages ago. Back from a broken wrist, Davydenko is 5-6 in his past 11 matches. All six losses came against foes outside the top 50.

Time is running out to claim a maiden major.

Svetlana Kuznetsova

Move: Teaming with Loic Courteau

Synopsis: Courteau didn't exactly unlock Amelie Mauresmo. Yes, Mauresmo won two majors under Courteau, but, on ability, she should won many more.

Still, Mauresmo is full of praise for Courteau and probably had a word or two with Kuznetsova, her friend and former doubles partner. Courteau thus returns to the women's ranks following indifferent stints with Paul-Henri Mathieu and Julien Benneteau.

There's only one way to go for Kuznetsova, and that's up. Surely the two-time Grand Slam champ, an underachiever like Mauresmo, can't continue to plummet. She's down to 21st in the rankings and hasn't reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal since winning the 2009 French Open.

Marcos Baghdatis

Move: Cutting ties with Eduardo Infantino

Synopsis: It had to happen.

Baghdatis, the serial coach-swapper, ended his roughly 15-month association with Infantino and reunited with Guillaume Peyre, the man in his corner when the Cypriot reached the 2006 Australian Open final.

Baghdatis, complex and talented, had this to say about Peyre on his website: "He is a sort of guardian angel and a friend as much as a coach. Guillaume and I have the same goal, and he always puts me back on course. When I play, I know that I will meet his trusting and confident gaze."

Deep.

Baghdatis re-established himself under Infantino but had a stinker of a grass-court season. Questions remain about his work ethic and weight.