translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
Edberg and Federer in Rome (picture contributed by Chiara Penso)
In an exclusive interview Stefan Edberg talks with Eurosport about his cooperation with Roger Federer, the Swiss' potential and the importance of the French Open. Since the beginning of the year, the Swede is now, next to Severin Lüthi, the coach of the 17-time Grand Slam champion. With Edberg, Federer flourished again and seems ready to aim at the big titles.
Mr. Edberg, how satisfied were you with the collaboration with Roger Federer at the Australian Open, the first Major of the year?
Stefan Edberg: We are both very happy with our collaboration in Australia. Certainly, the hope was to go all the way there (Federer was eliminated in the semifinals, editor's note) . But when one considers the last year, it must be said that Roger has played a good tournament.
What is the secret behind Federer's good performance?
Edberg: This is actually easy to explain. Last year he had a lot of injuries. The most important for him is that he is pain free for a long time and this also can improve his training. Thus he plays again more and also has more self-confidence. I joined the team to inspire him and to show a new angle.
What were you talking exactly?
Edberg: One of the things we talked about was that he wants to develop his game. Roger is 32 years old and I think he needs to attack a little more. I think he has realized that himself and so he has probably wondered if he needed new influences and that worked quite well.
It is impressive how frequently now Federer goes to the net.
Edberg: That's part of his game, he can still improve. He's a pretty complete tennis player. To go through with his play on the court, he needs time and space. In the past he has played from too far back. The tactics to push and play aggressive is of tremendous importance in order to improve and ultimately get back to successes. I think most people would agree with me that Roger can not beat the best players in the world from the baseline. They are too good. He should use the weapons that he has got. He has a good serve, a good forehand and is good at the net.
You yourself are a great idol for Federer. Is this a blessing or a curse for your cooperation?
Edberg: I think we both have great respect for each other. I was a little model for him as he grew up and Bjorn Borg was mine. I have very great respect for Roger, both as a tennis player as well as an ambassador for the sport. I think we understand each other very well and that makes me positive.
Have there been discussions about a longer-term?
Edberg: We work together until the end of the year. I will travel about ten to 15 weeks. Everything else we will keep it open, depending on the results. I will be with him, but if I do not travel with him, then I will follow the tour with a very different interest than I did before.
Has Federer got the potential to win a Grand Slam once again?
Edberg: I really think that he can still make it. That's what I told him. By the way he has developed and the way he has played this season, he has improved again. The French Open may not be the highest priority, but with a bit of luck in the draw he has the chance to win Wimbledon or the U.S. Open.
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