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Roger Federer still has the passion for the game & still wants to get better: Stefan Edberg

Stefan Edberg (L) and Roger Federer
Stefan Edberg (L) and Roger Federer
Modified 11 Nov 2020, 16:18 IST

Six-time Grand Slam winner and former coach of Roger Federer, Stefan Edberg, recently claimed that the Swiss legend is always looking for ways to improve his game. Edberg believes Federer will follow the same approach as he prepares for his latest comeback in 2021.

The 54-year-old made the comments on Andy Zodin's, where he also talked about his experience coaching Roger Federer. Edberg started working with Federer at the 2014 Australian Open, and their collaboration lasted two years.

The Swede believes Roger Federer will do whatever it takes to get back on top after his current hiatus from the circuit. The 39-year-old has not played since the Australian Open due to two knee surgeries, but has stated he is on track to return in January 2021.

"Working with Roger, he is very curious. He still has the passion for the game. He still wants to get better. Even as of today, I am sure he is working to get back into the game and give it another shot in 2021 to get back to the top of the game," Edberg said.

The six-time Slam champion provided a detailed insight into their time working together in 2014 and 2015. He revealed that Federer's decision to switch to a newer racket and become a more offensive player was vital in his 2017 resurgence.

"2013 was a tough year for Roger Federer," Edberg said. "He had back problems, maybe he had lost his way a little bit and maybe needed some inspiration. Maybe he had some thought about how he can develop his game. At the same time, he made a decision to switch rackets, which was very very important I think. That's when I came into the picture in 2014."
"Obviously, I had thought about how he could become a better player. I think he had in his own mind what he wanted to do. And that's how we got started - taking it on a day-to-day basis. I've been in the same situation as him. We had a a talk and we wanted to make some changes to his game and we did over the time," he added.

The Swede pointed out how his own aggressive playing style was a source of inspiration for Roger Federer. Edberg was renowned for his smooth serve-and-volley game in the late 80s and early 90s, which worked particularly well on quick surfaces.

"He wanted to become a more offensive player, which I was," Edberg said. "For him, it was more to have some more new inputs and some new ideas and maybe some inspiration. Again, switching that racket was very, very crucial. Going into new technologies. So that's how it all started."

Teaching Roger Federer is not a difficult thing: Stefan Edberg

Roger Federer at the 2020 Australian Open
Roger Federer at the 2020 Australian Open

Stefan Edberg went on to reveal that Roger Federer is a very quick learner. He observed that the Swiss always kept an open mind, which helped him develop a more attacking and offensive game as he got older.

"Teaching Roger Federer is not a difficult thing, he is a very good listener. He knows what to do and he learns very quickly. So that's a good start. Obviously, he needed to change his game as there was no way he could win matches form the baseline. As you get older, it gets harder," Edberg continued.

Edberg noted that Roger Federer already had a solid serve and good volley, which he has worked hard to fine tune in recent years. That has helped Federer finish points quicker, which in turn has helped him remain competitive into his late 30s.

"Roger Federer always had a great serve and he worked on taking a position a bit further into the court where he can take the ball on the rise and get into the net and finish the points. Because, he is a great volleyer. He always had been and will be. He had the skills to start with. In order to do it better, you need to do it in match situations and believe in yourself," Edberg said.
"Small details make the difference but he learns so quickly, he knows how to make the changes. One of the things that really made a difference, was when started hitting his backhand a bit flatter, took it a bit earlier. That's how he won the Australian Open in 2017," he added.
Published 11 Nov 2020, 14:49 IST
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