PARIS: Roger Federer yesterday announced that his “childhood hero” Stefan Edberg will become part of his coaching team for ten weeks at the Australian Open, the season’s first Grand Slam.
Edberg, a former world number one and a six-time major winner, had been hitting with Federer over the winter as the Swiss gears up for what could be a make-or-break season.
“I am happy to announce that beginning in Melbourne, Stefan Edberg will join Severin Luthi on my coaching team,” said Federer, the 17-time major winner but whose ranking is now down at six in the world.
“Severin, who has been part of my team for the last seven years, will do most of the weeks and Stefan has agreed to work with us for at least 10 weeks start ing at the Australian Open in Melbourne. “Stefan was my childhood hero, and I am really looking forward to spending time and learning from him.”
Edberg, 47, won the Australian Open in 1985 and 1987, Wimbledon in 1988 and 1990 and back-to-back US Opens in 1991 and 1992.
“I’m really excited to be part of Roger’s team and I hope together we can bring out his best tennis,” said Edberg.
Federer, who announced on Christmas Eve that he and wife Mirka are to become parents for a third time, split with longtime coach Paual Annacone in October.
The 32-year-old becomes the latest top player to hire a former Grand Slam title-winning player as coach.
Novak Djokovic has hired Boris Becker, Richard Gasquet has taken on Sergi Bruguera, Marin Cilic has renewed his partnership with Goran Ivanisevic while Kei Nishikori signed up Michael Chang.
Undoubtedly, they were moves inspired by Andy Murray’s success with Ivan Lendl which has yielded the 2012 US Open title and 2013 Wimbledon triumph.
The only man not interested in changing is world number one Rafael Nadal who has been coached by his uncle Toni since childhood.
“I will stick to my team. I always feel when I play bad, it is my fault and when I’m winning I’m doing the right things. I had success in my career with the same team,” said Nadal.
“I had good and worst moments with the same team. I understand if anything goes wrong, nobody is responsible more than me.”
Luthi said he was looking forward to working with Edberg.
“Roger will play a full schedule next year so we both wanted to make sure we had a solid team in place,” he said.
“I want to continue to improve and innovate Roger’s game and I really look forward to be working with Stefan. Like Roger, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Stefan and I am sure he will bring a lot to our team as Roger continues to chase titles in 2014.”
Federer, whose last Grand Slam title came at Wimbledon in 2012 and did not feature in any of the four major championship finals in 2013, begins his season next week in Brisbane.