BRISBANE, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Roger Federer’s new alliance with Stefan Edberg appears to be a sign he will be adopt a more aggressive game in 2014 but the Swiss believes it will be tough to make changes in time for this month’s Australian Open.
Federer’s decision to bring Swede Edberg in to work alongside head coach Severin Luethi, along with a switch to a bigger racket, illustrates an unwillingness to accept the trend of the world’s top pair Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic pounding him into submission from the baseline.
The former world number one has spoken about Edberg, renowned as one of the best volleyers of all-time, helping him create angles to get to the net but the fast pace of the courts at Melbourne Park may make him less inclined to use that ploy.
There was little sign of a more pronounced net-game in Federer’s 6-4 6-2 victory over Jarkko Nieminen at the Brisbane International on Wednesday and the Finn was able to blast passing shots wide of him when the Swiss did come forward.
“I‘m really trying to get used to conditions here because it’s quite fast,” top seed Federer told reporters after winning at the Pat Rafter Arena.
”It’s actually hard when somebody hits deep into the court, when you’re half-volleying, to really come into the net so you want to almost do it on your terms.
“With your serve would be an idea, or with a second-serve chip and charge, or within the first couple shots of a point,” said four-times Australian Open winner Federer.
“On a slower court it’s almost easier to tell yourself. ‘I‘m going to make my way to the net’.”
Federer’s childhood hero Edberg, also a former world number one, will accompany the 17-times major winner on an occasional basis this year after agreeing to work with him earlier this month.
“I’ve been practising so much so it’s really about learning what’s been going well and not so well in the matches,” said Federer.
The Australian Open, the first of the year’s four grand slam events, begins on Jan. 13. (Editing by Tony Jimenez)