Much has been made about the fact that Roger Federer invited a special guest to Dubai for a week: the noted serve-and-volleyer Stefan Edberg.
Would this turn into an actual thing? Could Edberg be Federer’s new guru?
Apparently, Edberg (who has never coached since his retirement from the game and said he has never before been interested), would be interested in developing something.
Well, it just doesn’t seem as though he attached quite as much importance to this visit as his fans and observers did.
Here are some relevant quotes from a story in Le Matin (in French), from a journalist who was in Dubai to write the newspaper’s annual piece on Federer’s South Africa charity work, and talked to him:
“He was my idol, and I wanted to get his look. He’s not a coach, but he still plays three times a week. He nearly came to see us at a tournament but we finally thought it was better to wait and have him come here, far from everything. It was interesting for me and for Seve (Lüthi), for whom he was also an idol. And for Michael Lammer, who is also here with us.”
“So who knows? Maybe there’s something to take out of that for next year. Maybe he can meet up with us somewhere … For inspiration, maybe. Seve is my coach and he does his job really well. He spends 35 weeks with me – almost more than a full-time coach. I’m very happy with him. But if we can add a little something, why not?
Those really don’t sound like the words of a man who is looking for any kind of a substantial commitment, but who wasn’t going to come out and actually say so out of respect for Edberg.
Maybe it was just what it appeared to be – Federer and his team getting to exchange ideas with their idol, who probably didn’t tell him anything too different from his former coach Paul Annacone, who was the ultimate chip-and-charge-get-to-the-net-or-die guy as a player.
The off-season is just the time to get a little fresh eye, a fresh perspective, especially with Lüthi having been around so much and so long in Federer’s career.
There is absolutely no downside to spending a week with the great Stefan Edberg. But in all likelihood, that’s probably all it was.