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Different strokes

Stefan Edberg believes his return to the Tour as a coach of Roger Federer can help the Swiss add to his record tally of 17 Grand Slam titles.

The Swede will be a part of Federer’s team for 10 weeks in 2014, including all four Grand Slam events.

“I am doing it because I really think I can make a little difference,” Edberg told a small group of reporters at Melbourne Park on Monday.

“If I can make a little difference, maybe that will take him back where he was.“Roger has to do the work on the court but it's maybe just a different voice, different opinions and obviously I've been in this situation before, in the big tournaments.“Tennis-wise he's such a great player but there are always many things you can work on, maybe minor things in his game.

“It's going to be a tough road but I still believe he's good enough on a given day to beat anybody. If he could win a Slam here this year, it would be great but it's a tough task, a lot of good players.” With Bor­is Becker having joined Novak Djokovic's team and Ivan Len­dl now in his thi­rd year as An­dy Murray’s coa­ch, Edberg's return has added to a buzz of excitement on the Tour.

The softly-spoken Swede quit the Tour in 1996 after winning six Grand Slam singles titles and still makes the occasional appearance on the Champions Tour.

Looking like he could still be out there himself, Edberg hinted that only Federer could have persuaded him to give up his “comfortable life”.

“I think Roger is such a special person both on and off the court, a person that I really respect and because it was him, at least I gave it a thought,” he said.

“I talked with my family because I live a pretty comfortable life now and this is a change.“But it's such a great opportunity to be around Roger and (maybe) I can have a good input in keeping him in this game as long as we can, because he's so great for tennis.”

‘Shun media glare’

Becker’s former Davis Cup coach Niki Pilic said the German great needs to change his lifestyle and step out of the media spotlight.

Becker has seen his public image suffer since his retirement in 1999 with personal stories replacing sporting success on the front pages and an autobiography causing another stir last year with revelatio­ns about his numerous affairs.

"This coaching job is his last chance to become a serious and established tennis coach," Pilic, who coached Becker to back-to-back Davis Cup victories with Germany in 1988 and 1989 and has also worked with a young Djokovic, told Focus magazine.

"If the project is successful then he can wipe away all the scratches to his image," said the 74-year-old Pilic.

"There is no doubt that Boris must change his lifestyle completely," he said of Becker, more likely to be seen on the red carpet than on the court these days.

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