Roger Federer on Stefan Edberg: ‘I’ll miss you’

Following the biggest upset in the U.S. Open final since Serena Williams went down to Naomi Osaka in 2014, tennis legend Roger Federer was all smiles Monday night and did so by paying tribute to his late coach, Stefan Edberg.

Eighteen years after leading him to the breakthrough of his career in consecutive Grand Slam titles — in 1997 and 1998 — Edberg passed away earlier this month at 61.

A tearful Federer recalled the pair’s relationship on a court one December in Stockholm last year, when Federer and his father were given Edberg’s personal autograph, while Edberg was watching Federer and his father’s tennis match from the stands.

The Swiss superstar was a ball boy that night and Edberg, who won 13 Grand Slam titles, gave Federer the purple shirt he wore to that night’s game.

The 34-year-old Federer paid tribute to Edberg after his three-set win over American Kevin Anderson that ended Anderson’s surprise run in Flushing Meadows that also included a career-defining victory over Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.

“I miss you Stefan now,” Federer said Monday night. “You were there for me so much. For 17 years, you were my coach and friend. I will miss you.”

Federer won the Australian Open earlier this year with Edberg as his coach and will defend his Wimbledon title later this summer before embarking on a season-long endeavor that he’s nicknamed “The Master Plan.”

His greatest rivals, however, would like to see the 17-time Grand Slam champion skip at least one Grand Slam event and focus on winning the Australian Open, where he won the first of his 17 major titles in 2003.

Djokovic, who won the Australian Open in 2011 and 2015, was scheduled to speak at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center ahead of the Open men’s final. He was forced to withdraw from the event with an elbow injury.

“Dear Jimmy (Connors), Today I arrived in NY for @usopen… Please be here for me in the finals for your year-long promise….I love you Jimmy,” Djokovic tweeted to his late rival at the start of his swing-and-miss season.

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