from The Sydney Morning Herald
by Greg Baum
Roger Federer has a major championship in him yet, says one of the few qualified to make that judgment and the man who will be in Federer's corner as his Australian Open mission begins on Tuesday with a centre-court match against Australian James Duckworth.
Sweden's Stefan Edberg won six major titles, including the 1985 and 1987 Australian Opens, and was Federer's childhood hero, and clocked on for Federer on Monday.
"It's great to be back in Melbourne," he said after inspecting Federer's game in practice session. "I haven't been here since I played in 1996. It's great to be out there again - and on the same court as Roger.
"Roger's been around for a long time, but there's always room for improvement. You need to improve your game every year, because everybody is improving. There are certain areas I can see, but the main thing is to stay healthy and be motivated. Wanting to be out there, that's the main thing."
It was also Edberg's biggest consideration when Federer came knocking. The pair had worked together at a tournament in Dubai last year, but this was a further step. "I had a call in October. He needed someone else around the court. They asked me whether I was prepared to help," Edberg said. "I really had to put my mind to it, because it changes your life."
Edberg spoke to Swedish contemporaries, also Briton Tony Pickard, his career long coach. "Because it's Roger, he's such a great player, and a great ambassador, after a few weeks I'm thinking: why not? Let's go for it. Now I'm really glad I'm here."
Edberg does not envisage himself as a swing coach for Federer, winner of 17 major championships. "He's got a good team around him. I'm part of the team," he said. "Hopefully I can get some thoughts into his mind, and also can be a bit of an inspiration. Roger needs to be motivated. He's still got a great game, and if he's motivated, he can still play some great tennis. I really want to see him move forward here and win a grand slam this year, because I think he's still capable if he's playing his best tennis."
Realistically, Edberg agrees with the general sentiment that this tournamnent is between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djkokovic. They dominated last year, and Federer did it hard. "2013 was a tough year," said Edberg. "But we've got a new year here. It's always great to come to Australia for the first tournament of the year. Everybody's been away. It creates an opportunity."
Edberg completes an old-home-week set of coaches at the Australian Open. Andy Murray has Ivan Lendl in his corner, and Djokovic has conscripted Boris Becker. Lendl and Becker are contemporaries of Edberg, who is looking forward to catching up with both, but does not forsee any sort of rekindled rivalry by proxy.
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