Abu Dhabi: These are “interesting days for tennis,” felt former Wimbledon Champion Pat Cash, with Roger Federer becoming the latest big name to turn to a legend for help.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer has added his childhood hero Stefan Edberg to his coaching team for the upcoming season.
Edberg thus became the third legendary player to join the bandwagon after Ivan Lendl, who is already managing Andy Murray and six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker, who will help Djokovic regain his top billing.
Cash felt it is a masterstroke from the Swiss ace to get Edberg on board as there is still room for improvement in his “volley”.
“I think it is a good move because I feel one area in Federer’s game that has not continued to improve is his volleys. In my opinion, Edburg was the best volleyer I have played with so; it is a great move,” said Cash, who has coached Mark Philippoussis and Greg Rusedski before.
The moves from the top-ranked players to opt for former greats would have surprised many, but not Cash. He felt it is a trend that he has seen before. “Most things come around they say. In my time too, we had a lot of ex-Davis Cup captains travelling around. Tony Roche was on the circuit. These players have so much knowledge that no other coach can get. You cannot learn that in the coaching manual or in the tennis academy,” said Cash, adding, “You cannot learn what these players know; it is priceless. And if these two-three players can have these greats as coach, it can certainly improve that one or two per cent edge, they are looking for.”
Cash, who has gone through this drill before, felt that the challenge of being a coach of a top player would be immense and one will be tested time and again.
“A coach has to do a lot of things. He has to be a tactician; he has to know about the technique. He has to look at your movement and have your mind focused. I mean it’s really tough.
“I know some coaches who are overrated and the players have to do it on their own. A good player can assess himself better and will try and improve all the time.”
Cash, however, chose not to dwell on which of these three renowned coaches would come out trumps and he had valid reasons for it.
“It will really be a guess and I don’t want to do that. See, it says a lot of things; the players’ attitude and whether they are ready to work or no. A lot of work has to be put in.
“Sometimes the personalities don’t work even if the knowledge does. Sometimes it clicks and sometimes it doesn’t. So we will have to wait and see who emerges as a better coach.”
Cash was all praise for Rafael Nadal who has stayed out of this chopping and changing.
“I think Nadal is the one that put the barrier up very high. He kept working on his volleys, kept improving his serves, on all-round play and became very dominant. Djokovic and Murray also have done that in the last couple of years but Nadal has been up there. ”