Roger Federer will surely get his money’s worth when he picks the brain of his new coaching advisor Stefan Edberg for tips on how to play — and beat — Rafael Nadal in Friday’s Australian Open men’s semifinal.
The 48-year-old legend joined Federer’s team in time for the Australian Open and already looks to be refining the Swiss's game, with Federer now attacking the net with more frequency and success than anytime since his unbeatable period in middle of last decade.
The 17-time grand slam champion will be keen to keep up the chase for a fifth Melbourne title after winning his last major at 2012 Wimbledon.
His first order of business will be Nadal, whose left hand is being troubled by an inconvenient blister which has his camp worried.
“I’m looking forward to speaking to Stefan, because when he came to Dubai and we spoke about the game, we clearly spoke about playing Rafa,” said Federer, who beat Andy Murray in four sets to move into his 11th straight Melbourne semifinal.
“He thought he had some good ideas, so I’m looking forward to what he has to say. I’m looking forward to hear what the boys have to say.
We’ll prepare. I hope I can get a win. We’ll see.” Federer trails the career series with the Spaniard 10-22, with his last victory nearly two years ago at Indian Wells. Since then, Nadal has won four more, all in 2013 when the Swiss was wrestling with back pain.
Nadal is having trouble on serve due to the blister — images of which have been flashed around the world and are causing concerns in Spain.
Even the world number one admits that it’s not perfect for him at the moment.
“With the forehand, it is not a big issue. With the serve, a little bit. I feel that with the tape I can lose (feel of) the racquet when I’m serving,” Nadal said.
“That’s a terrible feeling for a serve, because then when you have this feeling you are not able to accelerate at the right moment. You lose a little bit the coordination.” Nadal knows that there can be no excuses when he takes to the court against a revitalised Federer.
“We’ve played a lot of times. We don’t need to talk about matches. I need to play my best and I’m going to try,” he said.
Nadal is still in the chase to win each of the four grand slams for a second time, with only Melbourne missing from his list.