Behind the ‘raw’ photo of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal that captures their enduring friendship, a deeper love story is a part of their love story – between Federer and his tennis coach, Stefan Edberg.
The story of their relationship comes in part from Edberg.
At times, Federer has said that Edberg is the only person in his life who has truly understood him – a man whose tennis skills, physical attributes and intellect are simply second to none.
Federer, 32, says Edberg has become a part of his family, and a confidant and source of advice he trusts.
In a world flooded with high-profile celebrity breakups, Federer’s tennis coach has had a relatively low-profile journey to get to where he is today.
He says Edberg has been a pillar of support and guidance. He says he’s an inspiration and role model, as well as an unselfish and humble tennis coach who has helped Federer through some of the hard moments in his life.
Federer’s relationship with Edberg began when the two men were 15, when Federer’s father, Fred, invited him to play some tennis in his country of Sweden. Edberg recalls the experience as a very positive step in his tennis journey.
“At the time we decided to move to Stockholm, we were a very ambitious young boy. We wanted to make Sweden a tennis country where no one had ever been. One of our friends had become a professional coach, and he knew tennis and told us about it. That day the idea came to me what we wanted to do. I remember our friends used to ask us questions about what we were planning to do. It was a really great day for me.
He says it’s a unique relationship.
“We had a very good relationship after that day, but it was not the same as it is today. I had my own family, and when I travelled to Stockholm, I was not the only coach in the group of five. I had my tennis friends in Stockholm and a lot of guys my age I started traveling with, who were just like me in tennis.
“I learned a lot from working with him