Former player Ivan Ljubicic will face his first big test as a member of Roger Federer’s coaching team at this week’s Brisbane International.
The Swiss 17-time grand slam winner hired the Croatian to work alongside head coach Severin Luthi in 2016 after former great Stefan Edberg opted not to continue with a third year in Federer’s camp.
Luthi won’t arrive in Australian until after the Brisbane tournament, meaning Ljubicic will be flying solo as Federer tries to defend the title he won last year.
Regardless of how Federer’s Australian campaign goes, Ljubicic’s appointment is a long-term one in the 34-year-old’s opinion.
The former world No.3 – whose biggest asset in Federer’s opinion is his ability to analyse current players as well his own game – retired in 2012.
“What I like about him, he’s very direct – he lets you know what he sees and thinks,” Federer said.
“We train very well together.
“He’s got good insight. He’s played against a bunch of players that I’ve played against. We played against each other over 15 times as well so he knows my game very well and that also can be very helpful down the stretch.”
Federer has also batted away talk that Brisbane is merely a warm-up for the Australian Open later this year.
The world No.3 only plays a limited number of tournaments each year and says he takes each event on its own merits, not as a preparation to something in the future.
“I know people always like to talk about it as a preparation tournament for bigger things,” Federer said.
“I don’t see it that way … every tournament I play is important to me.
“It was one of six I won last year, it was an important one because it got the year going.”