Tennis-No backhanded compliments for Federer from Edberg

Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:18pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - Roger Federer's backhand has been described as a thing of beauty and perhaps the most exquisite stroke the tennis world has seen, but his coach Stefan Edberg feels his was a little better.

When asked on Tuesday who possessed the better backhand, the former world number one said he would have to give himself the edge in that category.

"A lot of the other strokes I think he does a lot better than I did but I'll give myself a bit of favor with my backhand," Edberg said on a conference call ahead of the Aug. 2-10 Rogers Cup in Toronto where Federer will launch his North American hardcourt season.

"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."

If Federer and Edberg were to debate the matter it would surely produce the ultimate gentlemen's argument.

Edberg was brought on board last December to help revive Federer's flagging career, and the stylish Swede has proven to be the ideal complement to the Swiss maestro, both men being of similar unflustered temperament and demeanor.

During a brilliant playing career Edberg used his graceful backhand to great effect helping him to six grand slam singles titles, two each at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and Australian Open.

The one-hander has also been a key weapon in Federer's arsenal of shots and no player has produced better results with it than the Swiss amassing a record 17 grand slam crowns.   Continued...

Roger Federer of Switzerland (L) speaks with his coach Stefan Edberg during a practice session at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London July 5, 2014.         REUTERS/Toby Melville