Federer and Edberg Splits Up, Ljubicic Lands the Job

“Roger and I had a wonderful two years together. When he originally approached me at the end of 2013, I committed to work with him for only a year.

“It became very clear from the start that this was going to be a special partnership, working with the greatest ambassador tennis has ever seen. It was exciting for me to be back out on tour and to see that the sport has made so much progress.

“The quality of tennis today is stronger than it has ever been. After an amazing 2014, I decided to continue on for another year, but with a clear understanding that it would be my last year given the time commitment.

“I believe Roger still has a lot left to give to the sport of tennis and is capable of winning the big events. Roger and I will remain close friends and I will always feel part of the Federer team. I hope to try and come watch Roger play some tournaments in 2016.”

Hi, folks. It’s been a while since my last post and I hope you have all enjoyed the break from all the tennis. Today there was an interesting development when the news broke that Federer and Edberg decided to end their partnership.

It’s disappointing because you would have thought that the Fedberg partnership would have been good enough to win at least one slam together. That was certainly what Federer had in mind when he decided to bring Edberg on board.

When I first heard they would work together I thought here was the perfect partnership and Federer’s tennis improved almost immediately.

They started working together after Federer’s disappointing 2013 season and Federer quickly found himself in a slam final at Wimbledon again. But there he faced Djokovic who started a partnership with Becker at the start of 2014 as well.

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It’s been a good run

As opposed to Federer and Edberg, Djokovic and Becker had a rocky start. It was only in that Wimbledon final that the Djokovic/Becker partnership started paying off after I expected much of them.

They defeated Federer and Edberg in a very close final and since then defeated Fedberg in two more slam finals this year. So although I expected much of the Fedberg partnership no one could really foresee how dominant the Djocker partnership would be.

They dominated Fedberg in almost all the most important matches. So it’s not all that surprising that Fedberg decided to call it a day. I think there was much hope among Fedfans that Fedberg would end the slam drought for Federer but like I said no one knew how good Djocker would be.

Especially in 2015. They have gone from strength to strength and left only scraps for the rest. The three slam final losses for Fedberg must have taken its toll and you wonder if Federer made a desperate move now.

  • Federer Hires Old Friend Ljubicic

After 2 very successful years, I would like to thank Stefan Edberg, my childhood idol, for agreeing to join my team.  It was a dream come true. Although it was supposed to only be for 2014, Stefan was great and agreed to extend the partnership through this year which I really appreciated.  He taught me so much and his influence on my game will remain. He will always be a part of my team. Severin Luthi, who I have been working with since 2008, will continue to be my main coach and he will be joined by Ivan Ljubicic. Both Daniel Troxler, my physiotherapist and Pierre Paganini, my longtime fitness trainer, will remain part of my technical team.

It was quite a surprise to hear that Ivan Ljubicic would be Federer’s new coach, who had recently parted ways with Raonic. Federer and Ljubicic have always been good friends, but I have to wonder what the Croatian can add to Federer’s game.

Is this the beginning of the end for Federer? This hiring seems almost desperate. Edberg did a good job with Federer even though they didn’t ultimately achieve what they wanted to achieve.

He made Federer a better net and offensive player and gave him a certain calm on court. I don’t see what Ljubicic can add other than being an extra fan in the box. But what is Federer supposed to do anyway?

Edberg is as good as it could get for him as far as a coach goes and it didn’t pay off. So I don’t think he actually expects much from a coach at this point. Ljubicic is just someone to fill up the spot.

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Sound like a fan much? Lol

In the last couple of years, Federer made three slam finals which is actually great at his age. He played especially well in 2015 but unfortunately for him, Djokovic did the same. In many other eras, he would have won a slam if not multiple slams but Djokovic denied him every single time.

You just have to say to good and you can’t feel bad about it at his age. He still made a great resurrection of his career in 2014 and 2015 of which he can be very proud.

From here on it is difficult to see Federer winning a slam and I think he will start winding down towards the end of his career. But he is still playing very well and I’m sure he still has plenty of good tennis left in him.

What do you think of the Fedberg breakup?

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The is in your court.

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24 Comments

  1. I have an interesting thought though which not many people have mentioned. Although this may seem like a step back, I always thought that Federer’s backhand, though improved with the new racquet is still too easily broken down against Djokovic. Perhaps Ljubicic would be able to help him with that, as his groundstroke work from the baseline was excellent during his career, a very clean ball-striker similar to Davydenko.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ljubicic had a nice one-hander. Having thought about this a bit more, the change was a good thing. Fedberg was going nowhere after the slam final losses to Djocker. Maybe Ljubicic will be the guy that helps Federer finally bag #18.

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    universal123 Reply:

    Yeah Federer needs to get back to what Agassi used to say about him, that there was quote: “no place to hide on the court with him, and I don’t play well when there’s nowhere to hide”. Unfortunately for Federer, there is now a very obvious place for opponents to hide, where he cannot attack effectively: high backhands. If Ljubicic can eliminate that issue, or at least reduce it a bit, it will massively improve Federer’s chances of another slam.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    High backhands are a problem against Nadal. Not so much against anyone else. Against Djokovic is just the Djoker’s baseline consistency. I think it’s hard for Federer to beat either of them in a slam. It’s not gonna help his cause that Nadal is back.

    I expect a big year from Nadal in 2016. I can see the big battles being between him and Djokovic in 2016 as opposed to 2015 when it was between Djokovic and Federer. Sorry, don’t mean to a messenger of bad news for Fedfans. Just the way I see it.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    Yeah its mainly against Nadal but that entire shot seems vulnerable these days. I have seen Djokovic expose the high backhand of Federer, and even players who he would normally beat pretty easily such as Simon and Monfils are finding it easier to exploit these days.

    As for your suggestion about Nadal, you could be right, but I’m holding my judgement on it until after the FO (unless of course he wins AO, which would mean he is definitely back). If he loses again at the FO, particularly if it were to Djokovic (most likely) or Federer (I wish lol) then I think he would be finished. On the other hand, if he wins at the FO being that close to Federer’s record (just 2 slams behind), might motivate him to play better, but whether he actually would get the record in that situation is another matter. Nevertheless, 2016 FO is probably one of the most important tournaments Nadal will play in terms of his career and future prospects.

    As far as Federer goes, I have a feeling that he will eventually be rewarded for his consistency. Remember people rubbishing his 2009 FO win? He thoroughly deserved that, because he kept making the final, and he knew that even if he couldn’t beat Rafa something had to give eventually. Same goes for Murray in 2013, with people saying he only won WB because he didn’t have to play Federer or Nadal, but again he had been in the semis so many times, and finals once, it was pretty much bound to happen that eventually some upsets would strike. I think Federer is about due for one of those rewards for being consistent again. Djokovic is an amazing player, but you can’t possibly shut out all opposition and never lose to anyone in the early rounds, even peak Federer and Nadal lost matches occasionally in the first few rounds. Particularly for Djokovic. Not saying that it is necessarily going to happen, just that probability dictates that given enough time it will happen. The other possibility is an absolutely amazing performance from Federer, in line with something like his Wimbledon 2007 semifinal form, where he destroyed Bjorkman 6-2 6-0 6-2, or RG 2011 SF, or AO 2010 F. In those matches there was just a sense that nothing could possibly derail Federer. That is the kind of match it would take to defeat Djokovic in a slam at the moment, and the keys to achieving it are:

    1. Consistent serving – if Roger can keep his 1st serve % above 65 and win at least 70-80% of those, and win at least 50% of second serves, the chance of Djokovic breaking him is low, meaning he can swing with much more freedom on returns.
    2. Break point conversion – Roger needs to be more aggressive on break points, particularly when he has 0-40 or 15-40, as he has a couple of chances. I would agree with not being too aggressive at 30-40 or 40-AD, but at 15-40 or 0-40 it is worth the risk to go for an extra-powerful or accurate shot.
    3. No letdowns – Roger has, in far too many matches with Djokovic, started playing extraordinarily well and then gradually been worn down and let Djokovic back in. To beat him in a slam, IMO he has to win at least 2 out of the first 3 sets, if he goes 2-1 down he may still take it to a fifth but will most likely lose.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nadal doesn’t have to win a slam to be back in my view. Federer was back since 2014, but he didn’t win a slam. Nadal is already back far as I’m concerned. He just had one of his best fall seasons. You better believe he will come out firing on all cylinders in 2016. And that isn’t good news for Federer.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    When I meant back I meant in terms of beating Federer’s slam record. Obviously in terms of playing well and being a top 5 player I don’t think there are any question marks at all based on his play in the last few months.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, that will never happen. Not unless Djokovic goes parachuting and his parachute fails to open.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    With how good he is at the moment I don’t think that would be good enough. I mean sure he might be injured a bit but he’d be back on the tour within a month or two. Maybe exposure to space without a spacesuit would be slightly more effective, but I still don’t think that would allow Nadal to pass Federer.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Incidentally, I saw The Martian last night which also happens to be a terrific movie. One way Nadal could pass Federer is if Djokovic becomes stranded on Mars for a few years. It would have to be around ten years if Nadal wants to keep the record, though. Anything inside ten years and Djokovic would still come back and break the record whatever it is :))

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    Reuters: Today Novak Djokovic, aged 45, returned after being stranded on Mars for almost 20 years. Today, he made his triumphant return. “I had to keep practicing my tennis, so I built a tennis court on Mars. The surface was interesting, much faster than clay. The French Open should be renamed the Martian Open and played on Mars. Anyway I will continue to work hard to challenge Federer and Nadal’s joint record of 30 slams over the next few years.” Federer, now aged 51 and still playing singles and recently ranked at no.1 on the ATP Tour, has no doubts about Djokovic’s ability to continue playing. “Well I’m 51 now, he’s what 45? To be honest it would be disgraceful if he didn’t play until he’s at least 60.”. Nadal, aged 46, said “I can no do anything about this. I need to take a few years’ break from the tour with dozens of different injuries, no?”

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha, nice. How many knee replacements has Nadal had at age 46?

    Ps. I think the surface of Mars would be pretty slow unless the air is really thin there. If there was one guy who could probably find a way to improve his game on Mars that would be Djokovic :))

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    The air is about 1/100 the thickness of earth, but the tennis balls would have to be made of something special, it can get down to about -100 ish Celsius, and I don’t think the tennis balls would react very well. Also the gravity is less which would make for amazing jumping smashes.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Interesting. I did not know that. Apart from the fact that it got very cold as portrayed by the movie. He’d have to build an indoor court with its own atmosphere like the guy did in the movie. Won’t say more in case someone still wants to watch the movie.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    Yeah the air is much thinner, it’s why there’s very little if any water. Because the pressure is so low, even if it gets above 0 Celsius (which does happen quite often in summer on Mars), water just immediately turns to a gas, and skips over the liquid phase completely. If you put a solid cube of ice on Mars at say 5 Celsius it would just boil off into steam, just like dry ice does here on Earth.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ha, that would explain why it looks like a desert and yet it’s so cold! Amazing how conditions on earth is exactly right for life. Even a plant quite similar to earth compared to the others can’t sustain life.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    Yeah we humans really are quite picky when it comes to what we call livable conditions, here is just some of the things we need:

    Correct temperature (say between about 0-40 Celsius on average, colder we get hypothermia, hotter we get dehydrated and die if it continues for too long).

    Breathable atmosphere (thick enough with enough oxygen)

    Pressurisation (otherwise we die because your body would expand as your blood turned into a gas, not exactly good for your health)

    Gravity (otherwise our muscles waste away, on the space station they have to exercise two hours a day to prevent this)

    Protection from radiation (or we get cancer and eventually die)

    Liquid water (otherwise we have nothing to drink and die)

    Adequate food (self-explanatory)

    The list goes on and on and on. Bacteria would fare a bit better, and it is thought that Mars was much warmer and wetter billions of years ago, and if bacteria were buried deep enough they could have survived by lying dormant.

    There is something quite strange about Mars, in winter its ice caps get bigger when carbon dioxide (dry ice) freezes out of the atmosphere into ice, so the pressure actually varies quite a bit.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, life is very fragile. And so are we. All that makes the difference between life and death is a single breath. Miss the next breath and it’s all over.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    Lol how we got from tennis to deep philosophical questions in the space of a few comments. To get back to tennis, Federer is just bombing at the IPTL, he’s losing to just about everyone: Nadal, Murray and Karlovic. I don’t really see the point of the IPTL any more. It was good as a one-off event, but now it has been done for a second year it seems a bit gimmicky now to me, just too many weird rules. For me at least, nothing will ever replace a 5-set Wimbledon, FO or AO match going deep into the 5th set past 6-6. The only change I would support is maybe a tiebreak at 12-12 or 15-15 to prevent another Isner-Mahut fiasco. Even as a fan of long 5-setters that was ridiculous.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, I see Federer is losing to everyone. Not that I have watched any IPTL tennis. Good job from Djokovic to skip it. It’s stupid. That’s pretty much what I expected from Federer anyway. With Nadal back I can see him going only one way really.

    Nadal has been poor for most of 2014 and 2015 which gave Federer a window of opportunity. He couldn’t take advantage of three slam finals and now he’s with Ljubicic. It’s tough to see him winning a slam from here on, but I guess you never know.

    As for Isner/Mahut, I thought that was epic.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    Yeah but it was a one-off thing for me. If it started happening again and again it would get tiresome is my point. Maybe even 15-15 is too soon, perhaps something like a tiebreak at 30-30? Just to prevent that from happening again as I don’t think many people would want to see it again. Also, it is thought to have shortened the careers of both Isner and Mahut by about six months, so it’s not necessarily great for the sport to have matches that long.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I know what you mean. Still fun to see it go on for that long, though.

    [Reply]

    universal123 Reply:

    By the way, what are your ideal semifinals at the AO? In terms of quality of the matches (not in terms of Federer (in my case) or Djokovic (in your case) and their chances of winning, I would like to see Federer vs Nadal and Djokovic vs Wawrinka. Whoever wins out of those we have a good match in the final:

    Federer v Djokovic: always high quality, though there have been a lot of them lately
    Federer v Wawrinka: can Wawrinka overcome his countryman in a GS Final?
    Nadal vs Djokovic: can Djokovic finally take the lead in the H2H and potentially stop Nadal from winning any more slams?
    Nadal vs Wawrinka: can Nadal get revenge for AO 2014?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a Fedrinka match at the AO, but I don’t feel great about Federer’s form so I’m not discounting another early exit for him. I wouldn’t mind another Fedal match at the AO either.

    [Reply]

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