Nick Matthew Column: chatting with the great Stefan Edberg

Stefan Edberg
Stefan Edberg
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It was really interesting chatting to tennis legend Stefan Edberg at the Swedish Open.

He’s really knowledgeable about squash and was very complimentary on how well I am doing at this stage of my career. That was nice to hear from somebody who was one of my favourite tennis players when I was growing up. I absolutely adored him and Boris Becker.

I spoke to Stefan a little bit about the Australian Open and Roger Federer, who he now coaches. It was fascinating to chat to Stefan about Federer, who is 33-years-old, a year younger than me.

His two keys to prolonging your career which he’s trying to work on with Federer is keeping that freshness but also keeping the speed.

Stefan retired at the age of 30. He didn’t really have much of an off season during his career. He pretty much had a couple of weeks off every year and then went straight into the next season. After playing on tour for 10 years, that caught up with him.

You need your rest and that is particularly important for me at the moment having recently played in New York and Sweden. I’ve got the British National Championships and a tournament in Chicago coming up so it’s important to relax between tournaments, stay fresh and spend time with my family.

One of the other big pieces of advice Stefan gave me was to keep working on speed. They say as you get older you can keep that aerobic fitness but the speed is the thing that can drop off. When somebody like Stefan Edberg, who has played a racquet sport at the highest level, is saying speed is one of the keys to longevity, that’s what I need to be working on and it’s as simple as that!

The good thing is Mark Campbell, my trainer at the EIS, has always said to me that I need to stay on top of my speed but it was reassuring to hear Stefan say he’s working on the same things with Federer. It shows I’m on the right lines with my team.

n I was delighted to win my fifth title in seven years in Sweden last week. As you get older, you realise you have to enjoy the success you have because you don’t know how many more tour titles you will win. I play a qualifier in the first round of the British National Championships tonight so it’s a quick turnaround. You have to stay level headed because things can change very quickly in sport.