Tennis: Federer splits with childhood idol and coach Edberg, hires Ljubicic

Stefan Edberg (right) will be leaving Roger Federer's coaching team in 2016. Croatian Ivan Ljubicic will be replacing him.
Stefan Edberg (right) will be leaving Roger Federer's coaching team in 2016. Croatian Ivan Ljubicic will be replacing him. PHOTO: REUTERS/AFP

PARIS 2015 (AFP) - World No. 3 Roger Federer has shaken up his 2016 coaching team with six-time Grand Slam champion Stefan Edberg leaving and Croatian Ivan Ljubicic drafted in to replace the Swede.

Federer, the 17-time Grand Slam winner, issued a statement on his website on Tuesday saying that "his childhood idol" Edberg had originally signed up as an assistant coach only for 2014.

"After two very successful years, I would like to thank Stefan Edberg, my childhood idol, for agreeing to join my team," Federer said on www.rogerfederer.com.

"It was a dream come true. Although it was supposed to only be for 2014, Stefan was great and agreed to extend the partnership through this year which I really appreciated.

"He taught me so much and his influence on my game will remain. He will always be a part of my team."

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.

Federer said that Severin Luthi will continue to be his main coach, continuing a partnership that began in 2008.

Edberg said he had a "wonderful two years" with Federer but made it clear that he always planned to walk away at the end of this season.

"After an amazing 2014, I decided to continue on for another year, but with a clear understanding that it would be my last year given the time commitment," he said in a statement on the ATP website.

"I believe Roger still has a lot left to give to the sport of tennis and is capable of winning the big events... I will always feel part of the Federer team."

Ljubicic, a former world No. 3, had been working as Canadian Milos Raonic's coach since 2013 but will now be a key part of Federer's travelling back-room entourage.

Federer will make his 2016 ATP Tour debut at the Brisbane International which begins on Jan 3.