from Tribune de Genève
by Arnaud Cerutti
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
Stefan Edberg during Roger Federer's match against Tursunov
Coach and advisor of the player from Basel, he firmly believes in his protegé.
Former world No 1, now Roger Federer's coach-advisor, Stefan Edberg conceeded an interview with a smile on Saturday afternoon at Roland Garros. In front of a handful of Swiss reporters that he met again four months after the Australian Open, the Swede recalled his enthusiasm to work with the winner of 17 Grand Slam titles. Very friendly and available, he even appeared very optimistic on "RF".
Stefan Edberg, you return to Paris 25 years after having lost the final. What memories do you keep?
At the time, after losing the final against Michael Chang, I thought I would have another chance to win here. More than twenty years later, we must recognize that it never came. It's a shame, it is clear, but it is like that... However, I am very happy to be here, I met the old and new players in the locker room. I do not know them all, but I discovered a few...
Here you will find some of your former opponents on the Tour, including Boris Becker, now coach of Novak Djokovic or... Michael Chang, who takes care of Kei Nishikori. Knowing that the Serbian is one of Roger Federer's main opponents, do you feel like facing a rivalry again?
I do not see it that way. Boris alongside Djokovic is a good thing, but it's a kind of coincidence that we met at the same time on the Tour. However, this is actually a good story, but my only goal is to allow Roger to go further. And at the end of his tough 2013, he has started well.
What conclusions can you draw from your early months of collaboration?
Roger has played very good tennis since the beginning of the season. For me, the little "extra" compared to last year is that he is healthy, in full possession of his physical means. And, inevitably, it changes a lot, because he can be fully focused on his targets, his tennis. In short, he can focus on his game without worrying about potential back problems or other...
You have fun with him...
Of course. It is fantastic to see that he is still so motivated. It's something really important for me. I think, considered what he has done so far, he is quite able to win a Grand Slam this season. Then of course on Friday against Tursunov he struggled, but, from my experience, I know that, in a fortnight, the level of play can change very quickly. Better also have an "average" first week and then express your best tennis than the opposite.
What can you say of Ernests Gulbis, Federer's next opponent on Sunday?
He is currently a player in full confidence who can of course have a chance against Roger. But to beat Federer at the best of five sets, you need to play great tennis. So I think Roger is still the favorite of the fourth round.
Specifically, what can you bring to Federer?
Little things, details here and there. Probably some technical elements. Because he makes no mistake, Roger knows tennis better than any other player, probably better than me too. But hey, when you're a professional player, it's also good sometimes to talk about something else.
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