from OK Tennis
by Rossana Capobianco
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
Roger Federer's thousand win milestone gave the ATP and his fans the opportunity to celebrate a champion who seems to be ageless: but the Swiss has not won a Major since 2012 and his main goal for 2015 is clearly to get his 18th. Then, number one. Through the technical changes Stefan Edberg has made... but will the Swede be there?
Those who had the opportunity to watch Federer play in Brisbane could not only admire the speed of his tennis, but also those small technical details that a player of such completeness continues to add to his repertoire: a slightly accelerated service action from the left, an earlier backhand swing, while the sliced backhand return, too conservative for a currently confident player like him, has almost vanished from his game.
Roger reached 1000 wins, a figure that perfectly proves his longevity and the quantity and quality of what Federer has done: interestingly, 737 of these thousand matches were won in straight sets. The umpteenth confirmation, in short, that the Swiss was born and established himself as a front-runner, a dominator, who has learned how to fight and carry off battles, but still prefers to win his own way: quick and safe.
And this is the path he's walking with Stefan Edberg, seen with skepticism at the start of last season by almost everyone, a sponsored partnership, marketing and little more. The Swede, instead, was able to convince a stubborn guy like Roger to gradually revolutionize his tennis, remaining an all-court player, with a clear offensive attitude, thanks to solutions rarely used before like chip & charge, sliced down-the-line backhand, with short but quick steps to the net, hours and hours of practice to find the best position. The difference with 2013 was plain to see, especially thanks to the Swiss' much better health; but, even though Federer went close at Wimbledon, the Slam has not arrived.
The trial stage is natural, though, even and especially at 33, and this should be the year of the real opportunity for Roger, who did not say anything about Stefan's possible confirmation in his staff: with Severin Lüthi always by his side, Roger changed his physiotherapist, relying on a respected professional Swiss as Troxler, who has already shown considerable skills in the days of the Davis Cup final. Still, no one talked about Edberg.Edberg was in Dubai during the off-season, captured in the snapshots of some fans, but didn't say anything on the extension of his agreement with the Swiss, taken for granted by everyone. We will know more in Melbourne, where Stefan, compatibly with his commitments, is likely to be present. And we suggest Roger to hold him tight. For that "#18" and that number one at 34 that would be yet another confirmation of his unmatched greatness.
Pitfalls? More than best of five matches, still affordable if healthy and with one day of rest in between, mental intensity and no lapse during long fights against stars like Djokovic, Nadal and others. The last step the "Federer 3.0" needs to take to prove himself to be endless.
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