It was a disappointing 2013 season for Roger Federer. The 17-time Grand Slam champion fell to No. 7 in the world and failed to make a Grand Slam final for the first time in 11 years. Apparently, this marked the time for a change.
Federer announced via Facebook on Friday that six-time Grand Slam champion and childhood hero Stefan Edberg would be joining his coaching team for the upcoming Australian Open. Said Federer:
I am happy to announce that beginning in Melbourne, Stefan Edberg will join Severin Luthi on my coaching team. Severin, who has been part of my team for the last 7 years, will do most of the weeks and Stefan has agreed to work with us for at least 10 weeks starting at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Stefan was my childhood hero, and I am really looking forward to spending time and learning from him.
It appears as though the feeling was mutual between both parties before forming this new partnership. On Dec. 20, Edberg told SBS.com that he would be open to coaching Federer after spending some time training with him in Dubai:
It's a matter for us to find time to fit it in. If we can, I would be more than happy. The idea of the camp was that I would give my views and come up with some feedback. He wants to try some new things.
I was very surprised (that Federer asked) because it's so long since I left tennis. But I was also very flattered. I've never really thought about coaching and if it had not been Federer doing the asking, honestly, I would not have been interested.
Of course I have some comments as to what needs to change and evolve, but it's not the done thing that I sit here and talk about it. I think he will be coming back. He's a great player and all the pieces are in place, he can definitely win some more grand slam titles.
If Edberg can apply necessary changes to Federer's game, it would be a catalyst for a bounce-back season.
After all, Edberg is noted as one of the finest serve-and-volley players of all time. Federer has always been known to have a smooth, flowing serve; however, he saw increased fluctuation in his serve's success rate in 2013.
There came times when Federer took some speed off of his serves over the course of the season. Being that Edberg was a master of the slice serve, it could be speculated that his presence on Federer's coaching team could afford the veteran a few new tricks if Federer plans to continue this trend.
This type of serve would allow Federer increased time to get to the net and gain control over the volley on the return. Federer and Edberg have similar athletic abilities in this regard, which means that such a change is not a far-fetched idea.
Both Federer and Edberg have a similar approach to the game. Edberg understands what Federer is looking to accomplish, and Federer has a great respect for Edberg.
All things taken into consideration, Edberg is just the man to return Federer to prominence.