Retiring in 2012, Ivan Ljubicic had stayed around the tennis court for a couple of years before receiving an urgent call. The 17-time Major champion Roger Federer wanted to work with the Croat, settling everything for the beginning of 2016.
Roger lost the Brisbane final to Milos Raonic and the Australian Open semi-final to Novak Djokovic at the start of the season. He changed his schedule to undergo knee surgery on February 3 and skipped the next two months. Ljubicic had to wait until April to join Roger on the court again, and that was hardly a problem for him, eager to get Federer back to the winning way and with a clear vision of how to accomplish that.
The knee issues were more serious than they had previously thought, and Roger had to skip the rest of the season following the Wimbledon semi-final defeat. The Swiss dropped out from the top-10 for the first time in 15 years at the end of the season and started all over at the Australian Open 2017.
With enough time to prepare the right tactics, Ivan led Roger towards two Major crowns that year, conquering Melbourne after an epic victory over Rafael Nadal in five sets and adding the eighth Wimbledon to his tally! Federer won 54 out of 59 matches that year and finished second behind the Spaniard in the year-end ranking list.
The Swiss was pushing hard in 2018 again, defending the Melbourne crown for the 20th and so far the last Major title. Federer did enough to stay in the top-3 at the end of 2019 following the Miami title and Wimbledon final, hoping for more of the same in 2020.
Ivan Ljubicic says that Roger Federer is a genius.
Instead of that, the Swiss played only one tournament in the season behind us, undergoing two knee surgeries in February and May and staying away from the court for a year.
Roger and Ivan are currently in Dubai, with the Swiss preparing his comeback in March. Speaking about Roger, Ivan said he considers him a genius, both on and off the court. Ljubicic highlighted that part of Federer's legacy, calling it more important than a pure number of Major titles or weeks spent on the ATP throne.
"Roger is intelligent, both on and off the court. I think his brain is great, and it is underrated. He is a genius on and off the court, and that's what makes him the greatest in my opinion. His legacy goes way beyond Major titles and weeks as world no.
1. I think I played against him 16 times, and he was my biggest rival in that segment. That's also the best way to understand the player. Watching from the side gives you the least amount of information, and watching from behind the court gives you a lot.
Watching from inside the court provides you even more, but competing against the player gives you the most. When I started coaching Roger six years ago, there were many players with whom I played against. That also helped me in the coaching, the fact that they know that I know everything about their game," Ivan Ljubicic said.