Coach Ivan Ljubicic suggests Roger Federer's highly-impressive win over Rafael Nadal in the 2017 Australian Open also led to the success that followed in the next 12 months. After undergoing knee surgery in the summer of 2016, Federer returned to action at the start of the 2017 season in Australia.
At the 2017 Australian Open, Federer won his first Grand Slam title since 2012 after recovering from a break down in the fifth set to beat Nadal 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3. After winning his first Grand Slam title in five years, Federer also won the 2017 Wimbledon title and defended his Australian Open title in 2018.
Ljubicic on Federer's win over Nadal in the 2017 AO final: Can't top that
"2017 was wonderful, everything came together. When he hired me, his goal was pretty simple: to win Grand Slams again. We didn't know if that would be possible.
It's one thing to believe in it, but quite another to do it. How he beat Rafa (Nadal) in the final of the Australian Open after falling behind with a break in the fifth set, you can't top that. This is Mount Everest. He took that momentum with him.
His dominance at Indian Wells and Miami, winning Wimbledon without dropping a set, the Australian Open again in 2018, returning to No. 1, he rode that wave. There were phases in which I felt: He can't lose at all. But we also had very difficult moments like the 2019 final here or his last Wimbledon in 2021.
Unfortunately, a lot revolved around his knees," Ljubicic told Tages Anzeiger. After Federer suffered a defeat to Milos Raonic in the 2016 Wimbledon semifinal and announced knee surgery, some feared that was it for the Swiss.
But when Federer returned to tennis six months later, he captured his first Grand Slam title in five years and also returned to the world No 1 spot.