Stefan Edberg says he had a better backhand than Roger Federer does–and the man’s just being honest. Federer fans with short memories will be surprised by the statement, but Roger himself might not be. Hey, the 17-time grand slam champion hired Edberg as his coach last year for a reason–and things have been looking up for Federer ever since. Edberg sees the game pretty clearly. On a conference call this week Edberg said ““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.”
Federer’s graceful one-handed backhand (especially in our age of savage two-handed hammers) has drawn comparisons to Picasso’s line drawings, Stradivari’s violins and Edith Piaf’s voice. But Edberg may be right. He was a marvelous, stylish player who defeated the likes of Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Boris Becker in his heyday. Edberg was #1 in the world for 72 straight weeks and won six slams, including two Wimbledons and two US Opens. The backhand was his chief weapon.