A DEFIANT Roger Federer says critics of his ability to challenge for future grand slam titles will not drive him out of the game as he embarks on a season of truth in Brisbane.
Federer, who arrived Saturday for his first appearances at the Brisbane International, said he was “energised” and renewed in confidence by a four-week training block in Dubai to prepare for his two Australian tournaments.
Federer, 32, said Stefan Edberg, Sweden’s former Wimbledon and Australian Open winner, would travel with him as a member of his coaching team for about 10 weeks next year.
But he said Swiss coach Severin Luthi would be remain his head coach and Edberg’s first tournament with them would be the Australian Open, which starts on January 13.
The winner of more grand slam titles than any other man dropped in the rankings to No. 6 in 2013, with a 45-17 win-loss record.
“Critics are part of the tennis game and they will be the last ones to put me out of the game,” Federer said.
“I still have a lot to do. Considering everything (including a back injury in mid-2013), I finished the season sixth, which was unbelivable.
“I want to make a smooth start in Australia. I am looking forward to getting to know the city a little bit and then have a light hit later at the stadium to get used to the conditions.”
Edberg, 47, won the Australian Open in 1985 and 1987 as well as Wimbledon and the US Open both twice.
“I don’t see Edberg in a coaching role, more as an inspiration,” Federer said.
“I didn’t quite think Edberg was going to be available because he hasn’t been around for 15 years really.
“I thought I might as well contact him. He needed a lot of time to think about it. He wasn’t sure at all.
“There’s a bit excitement from him that he’s back in the game and he didn’t see himself doing it. I am sure he can bring a different angle to my game, which is interesting.”
The four-time Australian Open champion said he would play as long as he was healthy and felt he could beat the top players.
“I always had a good perspective for things and it’s why, as crazy as it sounds, I enjoyed the year considering the setbacks I had,” Federer said.
“I wanted to find a way out of it.”
Federer’s recruitment of Edberg comes in the same month than world No.2 Novak Djokovic announced he had hired Edberg’s great on-court rival Boris Becker as his head coach, and on the back of Andy Murray’s successful partnership with Ivan Lendl.
How great is it to have all these legends of the game coaching?! Absolutely loving it.. #mycoachisbetterthanyoursnanananana
mdash; Andy Murray (@andy_murray) December 27, 2013
“It’s an interesting one. I never thought Boris would come out and do something like this,” Federer said.
“Maybe Boris was waiting for a call, like he (Edberg) was. It’s great they are open for it and think it’s exciting to be part of the tour.”
Federer announced on Christmas Day that he and his wife Mirka are expecting their third child.
The 32-year-old father of four-year-old twins Charlene and Myla deflected a question about whether the due date, which he did not want to name, would impact on his tournament plans next year.
“It’s not in our power really,” he said.
“But Mirka is feeling very well and that’s very important.”
Federer’s family joined him on the flight to Brisbane, where he is men’s top seed for the Brisbane International, which starts Saturday.