14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras made a rare appearance at the Australian Open, on the 20th anniversary of his title win in Melbourne, to present the trophy to the winner of the men’s final on Sunday night. During his stay in Melbourne, he stopped by the media room to discuss a variety of tennis-related topics, one of which was his opinion on the new partnership between 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg.
The former No. 1 thinks that the two champions’ respective characters will lead to a strong partnership. He believes Federer simply needed a “different voice” and not necessarily a drastic coaching change.
“I think it’s a good match.” Sampras said. “Stefan is a great guy, first of all. He knows the game. He’s very relaxed. He’s not one of those personalities that is so upbeat. He’ll be good for Roger. And he knows the game.
Roger’s obviously a great player, won 17 majors, doing pretty well with his coaches and stuff. Sometimes you just get to a point where you need to hear a different voice. Like I said, Stefan knows the game, he’s a smart guy. It’s a good match.” he added.
The American would later reflect on the importance of coaches to top tennis stars, admitting that tennis is ultimately a “one on one” sport but a coaches comments and advice, before and after a match, can be invaluable during times of crises on court.
“Well, you are out there alone. You really are. It’s the ultimate one on one sport. You can’t hide. There’s certain things that a coach can say before you walk out there that you can think about. I remember Paul used to tell me before I walked out about my ball toss. Sometimes it gets a little low. When I’m not serving well, I think about that.
It’s those moments when you get a little nervous, you draw on these things that he might say.”