translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
On the eve of Wimbledon, we had the opportunity to hear the opinion of two-time champion Stefan Edberg, in collaboration with Sky Sports. According to the former number 1, it could be a good year for Roger Federer's eighth title.
Stefan Edberg with Roger Federer during one of their hitting sessions at Wimbledon
Wimbledon is coming up. Rafael Nadal is no longer frightening, Novak Djokovic was downsized by Stan Wawrinka at Roland Garros, Andy Murray is playing well but is an eternal unknown.
Can it be the year of an eighth title for Roger Federer? We addressed the question to his coach Stefan Edberg, another man who was pretty familiar with the Church Road grass courts. We had the opportunity to hear him, in collaboration with Sky Sports, during the launch of the new Sony Smart Sensor.
Federer is back to better shape thanks to the change of racket. Do you think he should have done it before? Would he have won more?
It is not an easy question, and especially it changes from player to player. The top players do not like changes, it's hard to believe that with a different tool you can achieve better results. And then there are so many aspects that have an impact, among which the presence of the right people in the entourage.
In fact, since he started training with you, Roger is more aggressive. Is it only something related to age or is there really your influence?
You have to remember that in 2013 Roger has had some serious back issues, which have forced him to change his tennis. He thought of how he could do to put less effort on his back, and the solution has been to change his game. It's the right way, Roger is more creative and unpredictable. In tennis you can always improve, you can always introduce something different in your game, although we are talking of Roger Federer.
In percentage, how much credit can be given you?
Hard to say. Surely I'm glad he plays well, I told him from the beginning, but in the end it’s a combination of several factors. It’s Roger who goes on court and decides what to do. For now he is doing well. I think the most important thing is his great love for tennis, which translates into motivation.
Trivia: when you train with Roger, do you ever win a few tie-breaks?
Actually we mostly play as warm-up, so not counting points. But I think I would win few points. He’s too good.
Talking to Stefan Edberg, it is impossible not to touch the Wimbledon topic. Why is it different from the other Grand Slam tournaments?
It has his own history, the traditions remained intact over the years and will remain so in the future, or at least I hope so. When a player sets foot at Wimbledon he sees that there is something different from the other Majors. He can feel it in the air. It is no coincidence that the dream of most players is to win at Wimbledon. It is a unique place in the world.
But compared to your time it has slightly changed. Or at least, the grass is much slower...
I think it's the game of tennis that has changed a lot in the last two decades. There have been changes to the grass, that's true, but it's the way to play that has diversified. Tennis has become very physical, and that's the best way to win. Obviously you like to see more variations, more aggressive players, a clash of styles. Especially against those who defend a lot, it would be nice to see people who go to the net. But I realize that it is not easy, and there's still a great generation of players.
Do you think that the Wimbledon title will be a deal between the usual suspects, or there may be some surprises?
Wimbledon is the most difficult tournament to win for an outsider. The first reason is that it is played on grass, a surface that requires a few years of experience and a lot of matches to achieve your best performance. I gave a look at the seeding, I think one of the top 4 or 5 in the ranking will win. Many think there can be a great surprise, while I have the opposite opinion.
You're in Roger Federer’s team, can he do it?
Roger is still one of the best players in the world. He is number 2, he has returned to be a top contender and on those courts he has won seven times, something incredible. I think he has a chance to win the tournament. Of course, it is very difficult, there are so many great players, and to aim at success he will also need a little luck, a decent draw and to play his best tennis.
So, who will win Wimbledon?
I think Roger can do it, I believe in him.
To close, two questions on the Sony Smart Sensor. What does Stefan Edberg think of that?
I think it's a great thing: you can analyze the game, the shots, the speed, the spin. It can be very useful both for professionals and for amateurs. It brought something new in the world of tennis, everyone can learn more of his own game. These technologies can be important for tennis.
You're still an icon for tennis fans of the ‘80s and ‘90s. It is hard to think of you connected to a computer, what is your relationship with technology?
I think everyone should get used to technology. Back when I played there was nothing like this, but now there is and can be helpful. It is very important to be familiar with the various innovations that the market offers tennis. In order to improve your game there are many ways, and in the last few years technology has been one of these.
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