But it might not be as easy for Ljubicic to get to know the rest of Federer’s small army of family and advisors, an army that already has a general in Federer's longtime coach and friend, Severin Luthi. A decade ago, José Higueras was briefly brought on to counsel Federer, but apparently had trouble finding his niche on the team. And while another coach, Paul Annacone, did establish his place in the Federer universe, he told the New York Times this week that doing the same will take some finesse from Ljubicic.
— tennishead (@tennishead) December 9, 2015
“Ivan knows what’s going on,” Annacone said, “But the thing that makes it tricky is not even really the tennis knowledge. It’s the dynamics of the environment. And Roger’s environment is very complicated. It’s great, but it’s complicated.”
Let the Ljuberer era begin. It’s hard to imagine that it will look all that different from the Fedberg era. Why fix what isn’t broken? Why not continue to attack and make rallies shorter? Federer’s only show of weakness in 2015 came against Djokovic in the biggest finals, at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the ATP World Tour Finals. Those losses appeared to be as much as about Federer’s self-belief, and sudden lack thereof, as they were about his game; after all, he beat Djokovic on three smaller occasions. We’ll see if Ljubicic, who was 2-7 against Djokovic, has come up with any ideas on how to beat him. His last player, Raonic, has won just one set in five matches against the world No. 1.
How will we remember the Fedberg era? The Swiss and the Swede have a place together in tennis’s good-hair Hall of Fame, and they set a cool and polished standard for coach and player. Overall, they’re act was a success. What I’ll remember most, though, was the moment when Edberg briefly lost his cool at the end of this year’s U.S. Open final. When Federer mounted a last-ditch, fourth-set comeback, Edberg, who says he’ll “always be part of the Federer team,” stood with Federer’s wife, Mirka, to urge him on.
Whether you’re a player, a coach, a friend, or a family member, you can’t win them all.
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