Thanks Francesca Sarzetto in Toronto for the transcript
THE MODERATOR: Stefan Edberg is one of our 2014 inductees into the Rogers Cup Hall of Fame. He will be inducted in a center court ceremony that has actually just been changed to tomorrow night. He is a six‑time Grand Slam singles champion and a two‑time finalist in singles here at the Rogers Cup and also the 1987 doubles champion. First question, please?
Q. Why didn't you play the hockey game yesterday? You're a Swede.
STEFAN EDBERG: I'm a Swede, so I should have been out there. I had Roger playing, so I think that was the main attraction. But I had a little look at it when they were playing.
Q. Were you ever a hockey player?
STEFAN EDBERG: No, I was not. I played from seven to eight years of age and then I stopped. I think most of the guys in Sweden have been on skates, I'm not one of the best ones, that's for sure.
Q. Is there anything either on or off the court that has surprised you since you have started coaching in regards to Roger Federer? What has been the most rewarding aspect of your partnership thus far with him?
STEFAN EDBERG: Well, I've said it in the past, what is great is he still has the determination to go out there and work hard and still have the motivation, which I think is something that's really, really important as he sort of gets towards the end of this stage. And the way he is as a person, you know, on and off court, it's been a great experience.
Q. Are you enjoying being a coach more than you thought you would?
STEFAN EDBERG: Let's say it's nothing that I thought that I ever would do, but obviously being around Roger and the way he is as a person on and off court has actually been a very, very good journey so far. The great thing is that he had a lot of troubles with injuries last year, and he's been healthy. I think that's really been a key factor why he's playing so much better than he did last year. So it's been good to see him making some progress this year. As we all know, he was very, very close to winning at Wimbledon. There was one or two points that made a difference in that final, which was one of the better finals I have watched in the past, in many, many years. But that's the way it is in tennis. But I still believe the way he's playing, and if he can keep working and stay healthy, he's got a shot of doing very well here going forward. But it's an important week this week as well here.
Q. You mentioned as well that Roger had injuries last year. Of course yourself taking over as his coach, what do you feel has been your biggest contribution to Roger's game as his coach?
STEFAN EDBERG: Well, I would say I'm sort of part of a team. He has Severin that does most of the work. I would say that he is really the main coach that he is the one who is with him, and I step in a few weeks where we're together. I'm here on my own this week, and I think I'm coming in probably with the few ideas how he can handle different things, you know, maybe technically and a few small things. But, you know, I can't make that much of a difference, but a little bit of a difference I think I can make. You know, it's been good so far.
Q. We are seeing that tennis is such a mental game. Is there anything on the mental side that you help him out with?
STEFAN EDBERG: Well, I think through experience there are certain things, and sometimes they can be things you don't think about. And it's also about improving at this stage of your career. There is still room for improvements. There are certain things that we have sort of been talking about within the group that we have sort of been working on and the way he plays. So there are certain things still to work on, which is always keep things in check, so to say.
Q. When you played in the '90s, you had a lot of Swedish players that were traveling as a group and played as a group. Can you make any parallels to Canadian tennis at this time as to the '90s?
STEFAN EDBERG: Well, we were a lot more (smiling). But I think looking back I think we had a great time, you know, during the '80s and '90s, and it was really easy traveling being a lot of Swedes around. As a group, I think we're pretty tight. We practiced a lot together, we are supporting each other, so I think it's very unique time. I think there is a chance now with the guys in Canada here that they can do the same journey, and hopefully you can fill in with some new youngsters taking up the game of tennis. It should be a very exciting time for Canadian tennis going forward now and get some momentum, and usually it feeds on. It should be good.video by Mai D. Chan / Meniscus Magazine
Q. Was Borg your idol growing up?
STEFAN EDBERG: Yes, he was, definitely. There couldn't be anybody else (smiling). I think what he did for Swedish tennis is quite incredible. He really was the one that broke through, and then obviously that made us play tennis. He sort of was the idol of many of us and he was a hero, and he was somebody that you could look up to. He was of great importance for Swedish tennis. And then we all know about the generation that came after him, which was quite incredible if you think back, because I have had that question so many times, why we were so good at the time in the '80s, and I didn't really have the answers back then. But now, when I think back, I think it had a lot to do with the fact that we had great coaches at home, we had a great environment, we had a lot of indoor facilities being built.
It was just a lot of momentum at the moment doing the right things and maybe working a bit harder than other nations. I didn't realize it at the time when it was happening, but now, when I think back, it was the best of all times.
Those things probably are never gonna come back in a hundred years. We're still going to produce some great players but not to the extent. It was just a unique period of time.
Q. I think tennis fans from the 1980s find it really something to see you and Boris coaching two of the top players in today's era.
STEFAN EDBERG: And who would have believed that? (Laughter.)
Q. What are your thoughts on resuming that sort of rivalry with Boris? And what was it like to be back at Wimbledon but from a coach's perspective against him?
STEFAN EDBERG: Well, I think it's been good to be back on the tour in many ways, to work with Roger, which is fantastic, and be part of the game which I have sort of been away from, and at the same time having some of the former players doing a job out there, and obviously Boris. It was quite a day when you think about it, you know, being on Centre Court again in the player's box, sitting in the final and Boris on the opposite side. It was a good feeling to be back in the final again, but it's so much different now because, you know, I don't feel it like a rivalry when you did at the time when you were playing. It's very different this time around.
Q. In your career, the Davis Cup was very important, too, and I think it is in most players' careers. Are you really happy that Roger is giving it a shot now again this year? Did you encourage him to do so? What can that bring for him?
STEFAN EDBERG: Yeah, definitely. At least to us Davis Cup has been a lot of importance. Obviously maybe things are a little bit different today, but I have been all for it for him to play Davis Cup, because it's a great competition. You're being part of a team.
They have a chance to win it this year with Stan and Roger together, so it's a great opportunity. But I think to give it a chance to win it at least once ‑‑ and I think Stan feels the same way. I think it's been a very good year. I think it's been good for his tennis. It's been good for a lot of things, and it's always great to have the best players playing in Davis Cup. Because if Davis Cup is going to grow and be there for the future, you need the best to play and enjoy playing, and I think they both have enjoyed it. I know they definitely want to win it.
Q. You talked a little bit about the rise in Canadian tennis. Of course you're there with Roger, and you saw Milos on center court. I wanted to get your assessment on Milos, how he did at Wimbledon and your thoughts on his game.
STEFAN EDBERG: Well, I think he's been doing better each year. First time I actually saw him was in Stockholm Open many, many years ago, and obviously I was quite astonished the way he served at that particular time.
I saw he had potential at the time many years ago. But obviously I have been following him more closely now on the tour, and he's really improved quite a bit now and he's still probably got more room to improve. He's definitely on the rise, and the way he's playing now is he's a threat to anybody. I think he showed that at Wimbledon and, you know, over the last few weeks here. He's got some momentum at the moment. You know, I think the only thing that can stop things is an injury. So if he stays injury‑free, I think he's going to have a good run. He's got a lot of potential.
Q. What's more nerve‑wracking for you? You mentioned being Roger's coach. Sitting in the box during a Grand Slam final when he's on the court or when you yourself are playing in a Grand Slam final?
STEFAN EDBERG: I think for many ways it's worse sitting in the stands, because you can't really do anything sometimes. You wish you could. But it's actually been okay, but I think the final there was a lot of feelings there because it is a Wimbledon final. But it's okay. I think sometimes because I have my son playing tennis, that's been even tougher (smiling). But apart from that, it's quite good, but you want him to do well and so it's a different feeling, but it's good so far.
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