Tennis: Federer heralds his new-generation coaching team

Roger Federer hits a return to Rafael Nadal during their men's doubles match in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) in New Delhi.
Roger Federer hits a return to Rafael Nadal during their men's doubles match in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) in New Delhi. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (AFP) - World No. 3 Roger Federer says he is looking forward to working with his new-generation coaching team, after parting with 1980s champion Stefan Edberg.

Federer announced last week that he was shaking up his coaching team for 2016, with "childhood idol" Edberg leaving after two years of working as assistant coach to the 17-time Grand Slam winner.

"The idea was only to do one year. I couldn't believe it when he (Edberg) said yes in the first place," Federer said in New Delhi on Saturday, after taking part in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL). "We had a great split in (the) sense that we've known for 10 months that it was going to end at the end of the year."

Federer said Edberg's replacement, Croatian Ivan Ljubicic, a former world No. 3, would offer a new perspective as part of the current generation of players.

"It's the first time that I've had someone within my team whose actually played on tour against the players that I've played against," he said. "My coaches in the past have all been players from a different generation. I think Ivan can bring something very exciting to my team, (including) motivation."

Sweden's Edberg, a former world No. 1, won his six Grand Slam titles in the 1980s and early 1990s.

The change constitutes another throw of the dice for Federer, 34, as he bids to prolong his stay at the top of men's tennis and add to his all-time record haul of Grand Slam titles.

The Swiss champion has said Severin Luthi will continue to be his main coach, continuing a partnership that began in 2008.

Federer lost 5-6 to Rafael Nadal in the Delhi IPTL leg on Saturday night, with the Spaniard seemingly in top form in front of a roaring Indian crowd.

The IPTL promotes a shortened, speeded-up version of the game that organisers say is more television-friendly than the traditional format.

The IPTL, which began in Japan this month, was held in Manila last week and will also have stops in Dubai and Singapore this week.