Roger Federer’s coach Stefan Edberg has sparked some banter with his player, claiming that he held a better backhand than the Swiss.
The Swedish coach, who has been working with the 17-time Grand Slam winner since the start of the year, holds a high opinion of his employer, but not to the extent that he holds the stronger backhand.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Rogers Cup in Toronto next week, the former world number one said: “A lot of the other strokes I think he does a lot better than I did but I'll give myself a bit of favour with my backhand.
"I had one of the better backhands in the game when I was playing. I could use it offensively or defensively, a lot of variations. It was a key shot for me."
Some have commented that there are similarities in the 32-year-old’s approach to his game this year, with Edberg’s renowned serve and volley tactics being frequently replicated in Federer’s new found attack-minded approach.
Edberg, who won six Grand Slam titles, has overseen a revival of sorts for Federer’s game this year, as his world ranking has risen three places from sixth to third, and he reached his first Grand Slam final in two years at Wimbledon earlier in July, where he lost in five sets to world number one Novak Djokovic.
The 48-year-old is pleased with the progress they have made in their first year of working together, citing an improvement in Federer’s physical condition that has seen him re-join the contenders for Grand Slam titles.
"As we all know Roger had a really tough season last year.
"It showed in Wimbledon, he was very, very close to winning Wimbledon.
"He's back playing some really good tennis. The way he is playing now it is as good as anyone out on the tennis court I believe."
Masters Series drought
Despite his improvement in majors this year, as Federer also reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January, he has not managed to win an ATP Masters 1000 Series title, and that is something he will be looking to address going into the second hard court season of the year.
Federer will be aiming to win the Rogers Cup (which alternates between Toronto and Montreal) for the third time, though he has not won the title since 2006.
Should he not win that tournament, there will be another chance for him to win his first Masters Series title since winning the Madrid Masters in May 2012 when he travels to Cincinnati the following week, which will be his final tournament before the US Open.
He will have an opportunity to close the gap to Rafael Nadal in the ATP world rankings over the next few weeks, as the Spaniard will lose 2000 ranking points after pulling out of both upcoming Masters Series tournaments with a wrist injury.
Federer will then go into the US Open looking to win the title for the sixth time, with his last tournament victory at Flushing Meadows coming in 2008, and he will be looking to improve upon a disappointing fourth round exit in New York last year, when he lost to Spain’s Tommy Robredo.