Luthi: Federer tapped Ljubicic as coach because of Croatian's history against Djokovic, Nadal

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Roger Federer
Obi UAE Royals' Roger Federer hits a return to OUE Singapore Slammers' Andy Murray during their match at the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) in Dubai December 15, 2015. Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

Roger Federer replaced previous coach Stefan Edberg and hired Ivan Ljubicic as coach at the end of the 2015 ATP season. The change is expected to help the former World No. 1’s aim to add another Grand Slam title at this point of his career but one of Federer’s co-coaches believe that the Swiss Maestro will not change much in his game under Ljubicic.

"I spoke to [Ljubicic] a lot in Dubai. I told him about my collaboration with Federer and listened to his ideas. It is important that as a team we pull in the same direction,” Severin Luthi, who has been part of Federer’s team since 2007, said in German via Berner Zeitung with regards to the Swiss' decision to tap the Croatian coach. 

“Roger chose Ljubicic because he has played against most of his opponents himself. Roger is to attack intelligently, but he does not just have to rush to net, especially as he is very good on defense. We aim for Roger to have even more variety in specific positions, for example on return.”

Luthi is referring to Ljubicic’s experience during his pro career, which netted the latter 10 ATP titles and a World No. 3 ranking in 2006.

Ljubicic has fought the likes of World No. 1 Novak Djokovic nine times, winning 2 of 9 matches against the Serbian. Ljubicic has exactly the same record against another Federer rival in Rafael Nadal, 2-7 in his career head-to-head meetings with the clay court expert.

The 34-year-old Federer remains one of the elite players in tennis but the Swiss has failed to add to his Grand Slam total of 17 majors championships, the tour’s record for most in men’s singles competition. Federer’s last Grand Slam title came at the 2012 Wimbledon Championships.

The Swiss came close to adding his 18th Grand Slam title the last two seasons when he made the final of Wimbledon (2014 and 2015) and US Open (2015) but lost all matches to Djokovic.