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"People talk much more about Lend and Becker, but I can sneak up from behind and that's a position I like. I would like to reach that No. 1 spot at least once in my career. Just to see how it feels" - Stefan Edberg on his targets. Read the interview

"I am a happy person"

from RP Online
by Gianni Costa
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello

Six Grand Slam titles, two Olympic medals and numerous individual successes: Stefan Edberg (52) has achieved almost everything in his career. The Swede is one of the legends of tennis sports. We met him.

Stefan Edberg is tired of traveling. If it can somehow be avoided, then the 52-year-old spends most of his time with his wife and two children in a farm near Växjö in the south of Sweden. He makes an exception for his outfitter Wilson. We meet him at Tennis Point. Edberg was the number one player in the tennis world ranking for 72 weeks, winning 42 titles, and from the beginning of 2014 to the end of 2015 he was the so-called super coach of Roger Federer.

Mr Edberg, your former protégé Roger Federer is again in the final of the Australian Open. Are you wondering how long he has been in the world class?

Stefan Edberg: It's not a coincidence. Roger is sure to be blessed with an incredible talent. But he understands like no other that he needs to reinvent his game again and again. A few years ago everybody thought that the changing of the guard would be imminent. And? Nothing happened - last year Rafael Nadal and Roger shared all Grand Slam titles among themselves. And now he has another chance for a big triumph.

Why was your collaboration over after two years, did you tell him everything you knew?

Edberg: (laughs) Then it would have been over after one day... You know, playing on Roger’s level is not about basic things. There are many small details. It's all about motivation and health. He was looking for new impulses at that time, maybe he needed a voice to prepare him for his tasks. It was a very exciting, intense collaboration.

Do you still have regular contact with Federer?

Edberg: Not every day. If it turns out, then we eschange messages. But he has so many people on the tour around him that he does not need my comments.

Hasn’t it tempted you to continue working as a coach?

Edberg: Believe me, my phone rang very often and I listened to exciting projects. But in the end, I was just not ready to sacrifice so much for tennis again. I've been traveling all my life, now a new phase of life has begun. I'm doing a bit of sport, working in finance and spending a lot of time with my family. I am a happy person.

Boris Becker, your eternal rival, has accepted a job with the German Tennis Association (DTB). Would not that be something for you in Sweden? After all, currently no player from your home country is among the top 100.

Edberg: This is actually a regrettable development. It has a lot to do with a lack of financial resources, Sweden is currently stagnating. But I really would not be anyone who could make any changes in a federation. That's too much politics for me. I follow what Boris is doing (laughs). He annoyed me pretty much back then. He was a maniac on court. But I admired him, as he tried again and again. He also made me better.

When it comes to the time after Federer, in Germany we hope for a further rise of Alexander Zverev. Do you believe in him?

Edberg: Look, there are really some good players currently on the tour with huge potential. It's hard to say who brings all this in the end to play in the world class. Zverev has all the right credentials. It's going to be a tough year for him, he has a lot to defend.

Tennis is desperately looking for new faces to market the sport globally. Are you worried when Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic are missing out on the tour?

Edberg: Their dominance has been enormous. It will take time for a new generation to move forward. But tennis is strong enough to handle this change.

The ATP is concerned about the attractiveness of the game and experimenting new rules.

Edberg: They are supposed to experiment, but they must not forget the essentials of the game. I understand the motivation, the audience wants quick decisions. But tennis also lives from its tradition. And you should be careful when you turn on any screws.

When was the last time you visited Ikea?

Edberg: (thinks for a long time) With the question you caught me. Damn, when was that? It must have been at least 20 to 25 years ago. I can not remember ever building a shelf.

 

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