By Mike McIntyre
Roger Federer announced today that he will add his childhood idol Stefan Edberg to his coaching staff for the 2014 season.
The 47 year old Edberg who hoisted six Grand Slam singles titles during his playing career will join Federer at the Australian Open beginning January 13th in Melbourne.
The Edberg/Federer pairing first surfaced earlier in December with a week of training in Dubai. At the time Edberg said, "If we can, I would be more than happy. The idea of the (training) camp was that I would give my views and come up with some feedback. He wants to try some new things."
Trying new things is a must for Federer as last season proved his old routine was no longer getting the job done. He lost in the second round at Wimbledon and at the U.S. Open failed to move past the fourth round. He closed out the year ranked sixth in the world, his lowest year-end ranking since 2003.
After parting ways with coach Paul Annacone in October, Federer was in no rush to bring on fresh blood. He kept long-time advisor and Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Luthi who will remain the constant on his team in 2014.
Edberg will join the Federer camp for a minimum of ten weeks according to a post by Federer on his official website.
Andy Murray proved in recent years that hiring a former great can pay immediate dividends. After taking on former world number-one Ivan Lendl as his coach in 2012, Murray went on to win his first Grand Slam title that summer along with an Olympic gold medal. He continued his successful partnership with Lendl last year by becoming the first Brit in 77 years to win Wimbledon.
After losing his number-one ranking in October, Novak Djokovic approached another legend from the 1980s, Boris Becker, to be his new coach. Becker is best known for making the finals at Wimbledon seven times, capturing the title on three occasions.
Regardless of the immediate results of these two new coaching partnerships, watching some of the great tennis rivalries from the 1980s take on new form today should be something to keep tennis fans and pundits alike enthralled this coming season.
For the record, Becker held a 25-10 career head-to-head record against Edberg, while to date, Federer narrowly leads Djokovic 16-15.
If you combine player/coach career statistics the Federer/Edberg team leads the Djokovic/Becker duo in terms of win-loss ratio, career titles and earnings.