World number three 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 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.
Federer parts ways with Stefan Edberg after two resurgent years (but no Slam). Friend Ivan Ljubicic joins his team pic.twitter.com/tuts1wg2hm
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) December 8, 2015
“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 number three, 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 January 3.
World number 12 Kevin Anderson is hoping he can kick off 2016 in style at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship later this month off the back of a season that saw him smash an 18-year record and become the first South African since 1997 to break into the world’s top 10.
Anderson’s new season starts in Abu Dhabi on December 31st at the International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi where he will face some of the biggest names on the ATP Tour.
Anderson started 2015 ranked number 16 in the world and ended in his best results in terms of winning percentages since 2010, finishing the year on 46-24.
He also reached his first ever Grand Slam quarter-final in September when he knocked world number 2, Andy Murray, out of the US Open.
Anderson will open his Abu Dhabi campaign on Day 1 of the tournament when he takes on fellow debutant, Milos Raonic.
And Anderson is looking forward to making his Abu Dhabi bow, stating that Mubadala is a tournament he’s had his eye on for some time.
“I can’t wait to be competing at this year’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship and have always wanted to be a part of it,” said Anderson.
2015 was a great year. Will keep working hard to achieve my tennis dreams. Thank you to all the friends & fans who supported me this year!
— Kevin Anderson (@kevinanderson18) November 6, 2015
“I know all the players really give it their all in Abu Dhabi and I hear the crowds are pretty amazing, so I’m looking forward to experiencing it for the first time.
“When I turned pro, my aim was to make it into the top 100 in the world and this year I broke into the top 10 which was a massive moment for me.
“I hope to build on this in 2016 and the chance to play in Abu Dhabi against the top players in the world ahead of the new season will get me in the best possible shape to do so.”
Roger Federer is expected to play mixed doubles with fellow Swiss national Martina Hingis at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, Le Matin Dimanche newspaper reported, revealing what it called a “Dream Team”.
There had been widespread speculation that the two Swiss stars would team up. Hingis had reportedly made the offer to play with Federer and was waiting for a response from the winner of 17 Grand Slam titles.
“Federer will play with Hingis. It’s decided,” the newspaper said in a report that listed the composition of the Swiss “probable teams” for Rio.
Federer had reportedly promised to declare his openness to the prospective Hingis pairing by the end of the year. Federer is also set to play men’s doubles with Stan Wawrinka, the current world number four, with 11 ATP titles to his name, the publication added.
Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Luethi, who will also lead the tennis squad in Rio, was quoted by the paper saying the goal for the 2016 summer games was “to win all the gold medals”.
“Why not?… We can always dream,” he said. Hingis will play women’s doubles with Belinda Bencic, a rising star who cracked the women’s tour in 2011 and has already claimed more than $2 million (Dh7.3m) in career earnings.
Bencic will also play mixed doubles with Wawrinka, according to the report.