Roger Federer Reveals Master Plan for Success Ahead of 2014

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2013

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 30:  Roger Federer of Switzerland speaks to media during a press conference during day two of the 2014 Brisbane International at Queensland Tennis Centre on December 30, 2013 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Chris Hyde/Getty Images

It looks like we'll be seeing a different Roger Federer in 2014.

In an interview with Sky Sports, the former world No. 1 spoke of his decision to hire the services of six-time Grand Slam winner Stefan Edberg, one of the world's best serve-and-volley specialists.

Federer, who is widely known as one of the best pure stroke-makers the game has ever seen, plans to spend more time attacking the net in order to shorten points during the twilight years of his career.

The serve-and-volley works particularly well on faster courts, where players have less time to line up passing shots from the baseline, a prime example being the lawns of Wimbledon. According to Federer, that's where his best chances of success in 2014 lay.

Let's say I play my best, probably I always feel that Wimbledon is going to be my best chance.

Then the US Open, Australian Open, and then the French Open.

Wimbledon has been kind to Federer in the past. The Swiss has won the most prestigious of Grand Slams seven times, a record he shares with Pete Sampras.

But 2013 was not Federer's best, as he failed to win a single Grand Slam and suffered an embarrassing second-round defeat at Wimbledon at the hands of Sergiy Stakhovsky.

Federer's career has been in steady decline ever since 2012, the last time he held the top spot on the ATP World Tour ranking.

The emergence of physically impressive players such as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal haven't made things easier for the graceful Swiss.

Federer acknowledged this when he made his predictions for 2014.

I think Rafa (Nadal) and Novak (Djokovic) are going to be the ones to beat this season, particularly in the beginning.

Then, as we move forward, you have to see if they stay injury-free and keep on winning.

I kind of expect them to go deep in most of the tournaments they'll enter, of course.

While some people might object to an all-time great like Federer altering his game like this towards the tail end of his career, the move makes sense. Nadal is a defensive specialist who thrives on long rallies from the baseline, and Djokovic is an athletic freak who has the pure power to end battles with a single stroke.

Neither player particularly suits Federer's playing style at this point in his career. At the age of 32, he's starting to lose that extra gear that made him so dangerous when playing from the baseline.

A more offensive approach might hide some of the physical limitations old age brings with it, and it will give Federer the best chance to win one more title, whether it is at Wimbledon or elsewhere.

But with the added competition of players like Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray, it might not matter.

Federer will open his season at the Brisbane International with a match against Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.