Six-time Grand Slam champion Stefan Edberg said on Monday he never imagined he would be sitting in the stands as a lone coach this week to Roger Federer at the Toronto Masters.
The 48-year-old Swede is in charge of coaching arrangements in Canada, with Federer’s main coach, Severin Luthi, not attending the ATP event that begins the serious buildup to the US Open in three weeks’ time.
Edberg said that after receiving the call from Federer in December last year inviting him to join the Swiss player’s coaching team, life has changed more than he could have imagined.
“It’s nothing that I thought that I ever would do, but obviously being around Roger and the way he is as a person on and off court has actually been a very, very good journey so far,” Edberg said. “It’s been good to see him making some progress this year.”
Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam winner, dropped a five-set final to Novak Djokovic last month at Wimbledon.
“He was very, very close to winning at Wimbledon. There was one or two points that made a difference in that final, which was one of the better finals I have watched in the past in the many, many years,” Edberg said.
“But that’s the way it is in tennis. But I still believe the way he’s playing, and if he can keep working and stay healthy, he’s got a shot of doing very well here going forward, but it’s an important week this week as well here,” he added.
Edberg said that while longtime coach Luthi heads the coaching side, he will get his chance to put some ideas into action in Toronto.
“I’m here on my own this week and I think I’m coming with the few ideas how he can handle different things, maybe technically and a few small things,” Edberg said.
“I can’t make that much of a difference, but a little bit of a difference I think I can make. It has been good so far,” he added.
The stoic Swede said that sitting in the stands and analyzing feels much tougher than actually playing.
“In many ways it’s worse sitting in the stands, because you can’t really do anything sometimes,” he said.
“You wish you could. Actually it has been OK. You want him to do well and so it’s a different feeling, but it’s good so far,” Edberg said.