After we got word that tennis superstar Roger Federer had split ways with longtime coach Paul Annacone, there was a lot of speculation as to who was going to fill the coaching position for the Federer camp.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a list of potential coaches; the majority of my visitors chose Andre Agassi as the person to fill in the blank. Agassi would have been the ideal choice in my book, instead Roger Federer employed Stefan Edberg as his new coach moving into the 2014 tennis season. Roger Federer recently announced on Facebook:
Stefan Edberg as Roger Federer’s new coach
Stefan Edberg, also a former world #1, is no stranger to winning and competing. Edberg, not only was a skilled singles player by winning 6 major titles; he also was a very accomplished doubles player, reaching world #1 and winning 3 major doubles titles.
Edberg’s style of play was classic serve and volley, a style of play that we don’t see often (unfortunately). Stefan wasn’t much of a big server like many players on tour; however, Edberg used spin and placement while serving. This should translate well in the Roger Federer game, as Federer don’t use a big serve as part of his game (he can crank it up to the 130 mph mark if he needs to), so the use of placement and spin followed with a finishing volley at the net might work well for Federer. We’ll see though.
The only thing I don’t like about this partnership is that Edberg may not bring much intensity to the Federer game. I feel that Federer needs more work on his attitude during matches; Roger has his moments of getting fired up but it’s seldom. In order for him to find wins in 2014, he’s going to have to be an animal in every match, he gets a little too complacent when he’s winning or losing. I would love to see Stefan try and turn that around but I think this key element will be a challenge for both of them.
Here’s a sample of Edberg’s game from his prime:
Roger Federer claims a switch of tennis racquets (again?)
I don’t know if I can take another tennis racquet switch from the Swiss legend. Late last season, we saw Roger testing and then competing with a blacked-out Wilson tennis racquet; this racquet change didn’t help his game at all…in fact, it was an awful move; a first round loss in Gstaad. After playing poorly with the prototype 98 square inch headed tennis racquet, he immediately switched back to his trusty Wilson ProStaff BLX Six.One 90 and played pretty well.
Recently, in an interview with Swiss news wire, Federer confirmed he will be again playing with a new racquet in the 2014 season (roughly translated),
In the summer you broke a first attempt with a larger racquet after the early exit in Gstaad again. Now you have again tested the new bat model in preparation. Go therefore also on the tour?
Yeah, I’m going to play in Australia with a similar model as in my first attempt. Actually, I wanted to take the test right after the U.S. Open again. But then I had so much to do with myself and my game, that I let it stay. Now I had more time to still make further small changes and to file with my outfitter company Wilson on the details.
This new tennis racquet is different than the frame he was testing late last season:
It’s hard to see in this picture that I’ve put together; but these are the two racquets that Roger Federer has tested, the smaller picture is from late 2013 in Gstaad and the bigger one is from practice sessions in Australia.
If you look closely, you can see 4 power pads in the throat of the top picture, which means there are 8 main strings weaving through the throat; where in the bottom picture, you see there are 3 power pads, meaning there are only 6 main strings weaved in. This doesn’t mean that Roger Federer is playing with a new string pattern (16×19 or 18×20), all this means is that Wilson has a different drill pattern for the same string pattern. The distance may be different between each grommet.
Will a new coach and tennis racquet help Roger Federer in 2014?
Who knows. Seriously, it’s so hard to tell at that level. I can only speculate as I’m not in any way close to the Federer camp. Though, I think that only change he’s made that could help him is switching to a new racquet. The time of small head sizes is long gone; just the way the game is played now and how much movement players create on the tennis ball requires large racquets.
Ultimately, I think that for Roger Federer to succeed, he’s going to need a lesson his attitude and intensity.