Fedberg: A Match Made in Heaven?

“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.”

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/12/19/edberg-keen-coach-federer-if-asked

 

What do you think? To me it looks like a real possibility. Both sides seem interested. It is more a question of fitting it in. I don’t see that being much of a problem because we already know Roger said he can’t ask Luthi to travel with him all the time. So maybe it won’t be anything full time but he could have Edberg travel with him for a good part of the year and Luthi filling in the rest. You probably heard that Becker is the new head coach of Djokovic. I thought that was a smart move from Djokovic. Djokovic only won one slam last year and Nadal dominated him when it really mattered. Roger is not the only one looking to make fresh changes. These guys expect the very best from themselves and will make the necessary changes if they feel like it. I think Becker is ideal for Djokovic because of his expertise around the net and his overall power game.

Djokovic clearly needs to work on his volleys and transition game which is why I think Becker can be very valuable to him. Edberg can be of similar value to Roger, although Roger is already a very competent net player. We know Annacone has already worked with Roger to approach the net more and become a better volleyer. So it won’t be anything new, but surely Edberg can help him improve even more in that area. Edberg is after all the volley GOAT. No one understand the serve-and-volley game better than him. But more than that Fedberg just sounds right. Roger has never had someone coach him who was as good a player as Edberg and I can imagine just having him in his corner will already be a confidence boost. Not to mention Edberg was his idol growing up and they have similar personalities.

I was a big fan of Edberg myself growing up. I remember watching the Becker/Edberg rivalry at Wimbledon as a kid. Edberg was really the ultimate gentleman and sport. Truth be told he was a better sport than Roger. Roger is a good sport but Edberg was on another level. He never lost his cool or shook hands with his opponent in a cold way after losing. His self-control was exemplary. He did fist pump at times after a great shot but never showed emotion after losing a point. Brad Gilbert wrote in his book Winning Ugly that he could never understood how Edberg didn’t show any emotion. After he won a big point he was looking across the net to get some encouragement from Edberg’s body language, but he gave him absolutely nothing. Just unbelievable self-control and focus.

Doesn’t it just seem ‘right’?!

Of course Lendl is already coaching Murray, who was another guy who had immense self-control on court. It would be fitting if Edberg ends up coaching Roger, because Lendl, Edberg, and Becker all had big rivalries with each other, just like Murray, Roger, and Djokovic has. The Murray/Lendl partnership has already been very successful and I can see the same being the case for Fedberg and Becker/Djokovic. It’s interesting to see in the article that Edberg thinks Roger should avoid long rallies with the likes of Djokovic and Nadal. I have been saying that for a while now but Roger seems reluctant to go to the net especially against Nadal. I have also advised in the past that Roger play as attacking as possible when facing Nadal, to offset Nadal’s extreme defensive play.

Of course it’s easier said than done, but he doesn’t have much of an other option. He has tried to out rally Nadal from the base line since day one which is one of the reason the head-to-head stands at 22-10. Roger has wisened up a bit since then but the courts have been slowed down so much that it made approaching the net less effective. So I don’t know how much it will help to attack the net more against Nadal, but Roger has to try something. Anything. At the very least Edberg will boost Roger’s confidence with his presence and be another necessary change up. He can also help Roger to become an even more competent volleyer and help him to be a better serve-and-volley player especially. I have always felt that Roger can serve-and-volley a bit more. He does it at times but not enough in my opinion.

He must take the game to Nadal and Djokovic and ask the questions on the passing shot. Yes it is risky and he will get passed, but he must ask the question. He just can’t hang with them from the back much. When the rally goes past 5 shots Djokovic and Nadal comes out the winner probably something like 8/10 times. So in truth staying back is more of a risk than approaching the net and asking the question. A bigger racquet head could also help Roger on the volley. I think Fedberg may well happen. And hopefully sooner rather than later. It’s not a reality yet but I’ll allow myself to feel some excitement over it. I really think it could help Roger to have someone of the stature of Edberg in his corner, especially given how much mutual respect and admiration there is as well. It could be just what Roger needs to add that one or two more slam titles!

Thoughts?

Ps. Forgot to mention I passed a million blog views after my last post. How cool is that? Thanks!

Posted in Uncategorized.

31 Comments

  1. This is exciting! I think Fed has so much pride that he just can’t stand coming to net on Nadal and watching demoralizing incredible passing shots blaze by him. I think he gets too embarrassed. But maybe his personal hero can convince Roger that even of couple dozen nasty passing shots are worth it, because Roger can win the match with great serving and volleying. My other wish list for Fedberg is to work on the approach shot. The big 3 can handle Rogers short slice without hitting up for him. Roger needs a much better DEEP backhand slice approach so he can mix them up and keep them off guard while he rushes in. I loved the Roger’s greatest rallies video you posted for us last week. The thing that stood out for me most was the great depth of his shots – keeping opponents peddling back on their heels, ad of course his tremendous speed and persistence. As always Ru-an, thanks for keeping us in the know and for all of your fantastic insight. On a side note, I just came back from the trip of my life in Thailand and am so happy to hear that you’re planning to live there for a while. The most beautiful natured. loving people I’ve ever met in my life. You can get into a relationship with someone while stopped at a traffic light on a scooter. Amazing :-) Congratulations on your newest adventure!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well what a coincidence. That’s awesome! Sounds like like I chose the right place to go then :-)

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  2. Congratulations Ruan on your million views!! This blog was so upbeat and I am excited about his first tournament. Fedberg sounds great! Do you know what size racket he plans to use?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Pat. No idea about the racquet but if he changes it will be to a bigger head I’m sure. Something like the 98 sq in head he was testing before.

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  3. One million! Gosh, I can’t imagine 1 million people clicking on your blog! It’s certainly very cool, Ru-an! Haha! Congratulations! Btw, I just love the vid you posted in last post. Isn’t Roger in his prime just glorious to watch?!! Like Eric said, his shots were much deeper in the early days. And his athleticism in those days….aawww!! He seems stiffer nowadays. Anyway, no surprise with Edberg there. Roger prefers gentleman kinda personality; first Anacone, now Edberg. And yes, I agree completely with Eric that Roger doesn’t like the embarassment of being passed. He needs to be more relentless about it and uses it more often. He often serves and volleys only when he is in the lead; or when he has run out of ideas and tries a volley to get out of trouble – it often doesn’t work in the latter as it’s done out of desperation and his approach shots were not good enough. His decision making on when to come in and when to stay back needs to be sharpened too. I think Edberg would be the best person to help him hone these skills. But aren’t things getting juicier and juicier?!! Lendl, Becker, now Edberg?! Who’s next? McEnroe, Wilander, even….Borg?!! Will there be a renewal of rivalries between the old champions trying to outdo each other?! I’m sure Becker has been brought in to improve Nole’s net play. Nole said so this year that he is trying to play shorter points and improve his net play. It’s scary what “perfection” Nole could reach…..

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I personally think Becker can make a great impact on Djokovic and make him an even better player. It is indeed scary how good he can be, and I’d like to see it so he can stop Nadal from winning any more slams.

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  4. Have been a reader of your blog for the last few months. Decided to post here as this one blog deserves more comments. Federer and Edberg. 2 of my all time favourites. I saw a lot of comments indicating that I am not alone. I guess we Fed fans are a distinct lot. We value class, elegance and style as much as winning. Edberg was the player who hooked me to the game. The 1st tennis match I remember watching was Edberg vs Chang French open final. My uncle was rooting for Edberg. I started following Edberg and tennis. US open 1992 was the highlight as I watched matches all night. After Edberg’s decline (which was clearly pemature in early to mid90s), I supported Agassi, but only because he was different player than most, on courts which did not really suit his style. but there was a void until I saw Federer play. The Wimbledon 2001 4th round vs Sampras. It is difficult to explain, I felt a connect straightaway. Now I can’t be happier if Edberg joins Federer, even if it is limited to periodic consultation. Here is hoping for a great 2014!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for the comment Amit. Edberg was indeed a very likable player and I remember well the FO you speak of. To think he came so close to winning the career slam with a serve-and-volley game. Another very talented player with unbelievable volley skills. I also remember a match against Chang at the USO that went 5 sets and took longer than 5 hours. And that was after 5 setters in his previous 2 rounds against Krajicek and Lendl which both took over 4 hours. He then won the title in 4 sets over Sampras in the final. I mean just unbelievable fitness. Serve-and-volley is tough on the body which is why you think his decline was premature.

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  5. H Ru-an, many congratulations on a well deserved millionth views and beyond. Also wishing you great success in your move to Thailand.

    This was a timely piece on Roger’s next move and I quite like the idea of a Fedberg. More than a coach, Roger would need a fresh pair of eyes and a reassuring presence, plus someone he can talk to who’s been there before.

    We are witnessing a trend where past champions are being hired by their present counterparts and it’s thrilling to think of old competitive fires being stoked in tactical roles. Already we have Lendl-Murray to counter Becker-Djokovic and the prospect of Edberg-Federer will underline 2014-15 as probably the greatest trendsetting year in tennis history. Imagine Roger coaching Dimitrov or one of the unknowns in 8-10 years, Novak behind Raonic and Hewitt pushing Tomic. Before we can even speculate, just imagine the madness if Borg or McEnroe team up with Nadal. Hoo boy!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Grumpy.

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  6. Dear Ru-an, Congratulations on the million hits! The knowledgeable readers of your blog have already said what I had to offer. I am sure all your readers clamoring for a bigger racquet use by Fed will be interested in the following video

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152090709644941&set=vb.64760994940&type=2&theater

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I saw the video but thanks for posting it here. Here’s a screenshot of my blog stats too:

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  7. Hi Ruan,

    Congratulation on 1 Million hits.
    As I read this post, I looked for some Edberg’s video on youtube and got this one – “Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Pete Sampras explain why they had a hard time at the French Open”. Sampras’s explanation is interesting one.

    Mery Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!!
    _
    Here’s the link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LBgnyQsvf4

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Girish good video.

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  8. Great post Ru-an and congratulations on the million mark. I sure hope this match up happens, think it’s just what Roger may need. Becker has a lot of knowledge but his personality is so quirky. Like you i really want Novak to take number 1 from Nadal. Well man of the World, another move, i wish you the very best and Merry Christmas Ru-an.I can’t wait for the new season and to see Roger and many others play.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Susan and Merry Christmas!

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  9. Hi Ruan,

    I hope Federer and Edberg find an agreement in ways like it used to be in the Tony Roche-Federer era (so as to work together in certain periods of a season).
    Roger’s chances for another slam title are best at Wimbledon I think.
    Few move as naturally on grass as Federer and no one uses the backhand slice as Roger does, knifed short and floated long, to gain court position or to fracture the rhythm of his opponents.
    This natural talent to play on grass allows him to put himself in a certain rhythm, which he actually finds quite pleasant, and allowed him to win 7 Wimbledon titles.
    But his instincts have become in essence a back-court player’s, finding rhythm by moving essentially sideway steps whilst his movement forward and backward conversely has become less natural and adequate.
    Roger lacks now a bit of ‘finesse’ and ‘sang-froid’ at the net as a skill doesn’t stay sharp unless it is repetitively honed.
    This shortcoming may have contributed to Roger’s refusal to change tactics and react in an appropriate way to Sergei Stakhovsky aggressive and relentless rushing to the net, and cost him in my eyes his second round loss this year.
    Roger needs to overcome this fear to come up to the net and especially be more effective in coming forward, and become simultaneously less predictable in his playing patterns and more effective in the execution of it.
    I think Edberg, with his expertise and personality, could be a help in achieving that goal.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Agreed Wilfried Roger is not that confident at the net, even though he is quite competent in that area. It clearly shows when he plays the likes of Nadal, and Stakhovsky out-volleyed him even though Roger has better volleys. I mean just look how he volleyed when he beat Sampras.

    Edberg can definitely help him in that respect. He can help him to feel at home at the net again. I mean if players like Stakhovsky can S & V then Roger can too. It’s just a matter of getting comfortable with it and like you say through repetition.

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  10. Hi guys, just wanted to share the wonderful news that the Federers are expecting a third child in 2014!

    Congrats to Ru-an on one million hits and happy holidays to everyone here!

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  11. Hey Ru-an, once again congrats on a million views.
    A million. Wow. Ru-an, did you have the time to even understand what that means?? I mean, My God, a million views?? I think some major companies and major blogs and websites would be jealous of you to have that !!!And that is all because of your hardwork, your writing (which, again, is still the best Roger-writing out there). You can be very proud of that. Although this is about Roger, you always are honest and deservingly harsh about him. You see, that is why people come to your blog. No matter how Roger plays, they know you will always be honest about his playingstyle. For all of this you deserve a “schouderklopje” !!! Pat on the back??? Hope you understood it in Dutch.

    Anyway, I am so happy for Roger. A real Baby Fed. Maybe that is why his 2014 schedule was not out yet. But I do hope him beeing a father will be a extra motivation and not something else. What do you think?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    That’s very nice of you to say Katyani. Thanks. I try to call it as I see it instead of just saying what a lot of people want to hear. I just have to be honest. It’s just how I am. And I appreciate the ones who can handle the truth which is why I like my readers. And I do understand schouderklopje. In Afrikaans it would be skouer klop haha. It’s true that telling it like it is has been more important to me than blindly worshiping Roger and having way more readers. If you have too many readers you can’t keep up with them all anyway. I like it the way it is now where I can still interact with all of you. I hope the kid doesn’t distract Roger from tennis. May have been a good idea to wait a little longer. 2014 is gonna be a busy and important year.

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    Jiten Reply:

    First of all, a belated Merry Christmas to all the family members of Ru-an’s blog. Well, Ru-an, the year Fed became father for the first time, he won two grand-slams. If he achieves half of that on the year he becomes father again, I will be more than happy. The baby could be an extra incentive for Fed (and of course Mirka) to win more. I am sure Mirka and Fed have already worked out their strategy for 2014 and they won’t let their Swiss Precision take a dent.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Merry Christmas to you too Jiten. The new kid is interesting. I’m still very optimistic about 2014. I will see if I can make a post tonight.

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  12. Hey guys and girls, to all the readers and commentators on this wonderfull blog, a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday !!! May all your wishes come true and may you all celebrate it with your loved ones.
    Thank God, Roger is playing next week. Is anyone going to watch the Abu Dhabi matches??

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  13. Merry Christmas to you Ruan! Thanks for all the hard work and dedication to this blog and Merry Christmas to all the great fedfans that frequent here.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Dave and Merry Christmas to you! It hasn’t been much hard work to be honest. It’s just a joy to write about tennis and Roger and having you guys as my readers!

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  14. I doubt that the question is to come more or less to the net but rather when to do it and how to do it. Roger has such a good ground game and his Nadal-problem is at least as mental as it is strategic/tactic.
    Personally, I would like Roger to sharpen his BH down the line. This shot opens up so much for him. It is just as much worthwhile risk to take as going to the net. I do like Roger at the net, no doubt about that, but it is not one size fits all out there, not with the top 4-5 guys and Roger know that better than anybody.
    I’m really happy that Roger has used his time of tour training and I hope that he finds a lot of joy on the court because the mental recharge would be the most valuable addition to his ascent in rankings during 2014.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    You’re absolutely right when you say that you doubt that the question for Roger is not to come more or less to the net but rather when to do it and how to do it. Roger says (see hyperlink below) himself that those who think he’ll be rushing to the net now all the time because of being coached by Edberg, are wrong and don’t get it. A player is never a copy of his coach or coaches and can’t be a copy. Every player is unique, says Roger.
    And he adds to this that he’ll be never as good at the net as Stefan Edberg was, because Stefan’s game was completely based on it whilst Roger’s game is more the all court type of game.
    Stefan’s positive attitude will certainly have a positive psychological influence to Roger, as Ruan wrote somewhere in one of his posts.
    Roger’s interview confirms that view.
    Roger doesn’t talk about Nadal by the way.
    http://bazonline.ch/sport/tennis/Ich-bin-ein-interessanter-Spieler-zum-Coachen/story/20766569

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