Tennisportalen met Fredrik ”Fidde” Rosengren at Wimbledon, the day before Edmunds encounter in the third round against former champion Novak Djokovic.
”Fidde” spoke openly about the ups and downs for Edmund, why winning can’t come at any price, how important it is to keep having fun and how to deal with the enormous pressure at the biggest tennis tournament in the world.
Talking to the Swedish tenniscoach ”Fidde”, as he is called in Sweden, is always interesting and insightful. Far from the standard clichéanswers that you might get too often from tennisplayers and coaches, ”Fidde” is not afraid to speak what’s on his mind. We met him just the day before his adepts biggest game in his career. Well, on home soil at least.
How is life now? We are here at Wimbledon, the sun is shining and Kyle Edmund, your player, is playing the third round in Wimbledon.
– Life is great! In my age, getting back to coaching a player on tour again, it’s all about enjoying every day because you never know when it’s over. I think it’s still a lot of fun, a lot of fun, to be a tennis coach. As long as I get up in the morning and think it’s incredibly fun, I will continue doing so.
We spoke earlier this year and you mentioned Edmund’s ups and downs for 2018. What are the expectations here before facing three-time Wimbledon Champion Novak Djokovic in the third round?
– You work both shortterm and long-term and on Saturday we will try to do as well as possible for him in getting ready to beat Djokovic. But still, all the things we work on will still be there no matter what the result turns out to be. The ups and downs, yes, most times when Kyle loses in a tournament, you see that he has the level needed to maybe win the tournament but then it ends quite abruptly on a rather boring road many times, Rosengren says and continues.
– The energy hasn’t been good enough and that’s the key that we try to find, the knot you might say that makes it happen more and more rarely that he actually loses the energy. Yes, we try to work a lot on that. At the same time, we are human too and myself, as an adult person, I want to see a young person, Kyle is 23 years old, I want to see him feeling good and enjoying playing tennis. It’s really more important than the results itself and sometimes you forget the fun of it. I say to Kyle: “I had loads of fun today, but you did not.” Then he’s having problems responding.
– It’s very important to keep having fun, I mean, you start playing tennis when you’re a little kid and you do it because it’s incredibly fun, and then you become quite good at it and then, one day, you may decide: “I want to be a professional tennis player.” Then you become a professional tennis player and it will only get more and more serious from that. Eventually it gets too serious on what really was a game from the beginning and you may not being able to handle it. It can get very hard, says ”Fidde” and continues.
– It’s so important to keeping it fun. That’s why we talk a lot about it and try to talk about things that are fun and laugh. We are dealing with professional athletes of course and winning matches is very important but it can’t come to any price. In our previous match against Bradley Klahn, and I could see that he was feeling good out there on the Centre Court, he immediately told us after the match: “I did not play well today.”
– Wait, what? I told him, straight away: “How you managed to pursue the match, on only your second match ever on Centre Court in Wimbledon, you were a great favorite, if you would have lost, they would probably haved booed at you.” It was a great performance. It’s the way you have to go as a coach and try to making him understand that it’s not about playing well, it’s about playing the right way, Fidde says and keeps elaborating.
– Yesterday Kyle played the right way as he was in his proper mental phase. He made us all in the team very proud. He should be damn proud of himself and how he handled the match against Klahn. I also liked that he was challenged in the in the second set with the tiebreaker.
– We keep working hard and the goal is that he is going to establish himself on this level, and have the confidence to feel that he is capable of winning tournaments. He is yet to win a 250-tournament on the ATP-tour. That’s a big goal for us because he hasn’t been able to maintain his mental level three days in a row, four days in a row. It’s been great for one day, two days but then, something occurs. You should be able to win when you are not playing well in the first round, and also win in the following round when the game is not there. When you then have to face the better ranked players, you switch on and raise your level. That’s what it should be.
With Andy Murray not playing this year, all eyes are on the 17th ranked Kyle Edmund to perform in his homecountry, in the biggest event there ever is in the sport. How does the 23 year-old handle the enormous pressure that comes with it?
– You have to put the cards on the table as they are and talk about it, but in a relaxed environment. Be there for him and offer him help, should I maybe call someone that has been in the same position before? Should I talk to Andy? Like just talking relaxed about it. The pressure is certainly huge on Kyle but he has been dealing with it excellent so far and I can see that when he is on court. I see it in the morning and I see it when he’s off the grounds in the afternoon. Take Federer as an exempel, he loves to be the favorite and loves the fact that everyone is thinking he’s going to win. You turn the pressure into something positive instead of being scared of it. He’s also a superstar in that manner, Federer, as how he is handling the pressure.
You help him along the way too I assume. What’s your tip there?
I try to use my experience of all the players I have been coaching before. I’ve been coaching 6 players who were better ranked than Kyle (#17) so yes, I have some experience to deal with this kind of pressure. All these players, they are incredibly different. They all have different personalities and as a coach, your job is to find the right way to approach them. You start with nothing, a white paper if you can say that, you make a diagnosis and afterwards you see what you need to do to in order to achieve certain goals. What does Kyle need to do to get better? In our case, it has been a lot about trying to grow as a human being and about having fun as I mentioned before.
The media coverage for ”Fidde” the last couple of days has been intense, not because he is the coach of Britains biggest hope in the tournament, but also for the upcoming match between Sweden and England in the quarterfinals of the World Cup that is taking place the same day as the match against Djokovic. If ”Fidde” likes the attention?
– It’s alright but that’s it really. It can’t and must not be too much because then it will turn into a circus. I’m not really into that. I do want Sweden to beat England but if I can choose, I rather would have Sweden losing 10-0 as long as Kyle wins.
They took a very cool picture on both of you. (Image below)
– Yes, you can have that but then the focus must be on what Kyle needs to do on Center Court. As I know Kyle, it’s all about tennis and I’m not worried that it’s going to bother him. At the same time, it may be a good “distraction” to throw a few glances when you warm up, talk about it, take away your thoughts for a moment so that you are not only thinking hysterically of what you’re going to do out there on court. It goes both ways really. For me, it’s a lot about in which mood he will be at that certain day. Sometimes we can talk about girls just minutes before matches and joking and laughing, and sometimes it’s the complete opposite. Or it’s even more convenient to go in and say something really twisted!
Yes, a little bit like that. That’s probably the biggest challenge I’ve had on that manner. If it’s about the forehand or the serve, you can just go out on the court and work on it directly. If there are other things, well, then you have to find other solutions.
When Novak Djokovic was asked on the pressconference after his solid win in the second round (W. Zeballos, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3) about the capability of Edmund and the Brits development the recent year, ”Nole” started with complementing the coach behind the player – “Fidde”.
– Everyone needs to hear some flattery from time to time and it’s very cool to hear that. I’ve known “Nole” for so long and if he thinks I’m doing a great job, that’s just incredibly fun. When it comes from the guys who’ve been there over the years and seeing me working hard, screaming, shouting on court with Mario Ancic, and Robin Soderling during a period of time, it’s special to hear, for sure.
– He knows for how many hours I have put in just as I know how hard he has been working over the years. When it comes from those guys at the top, it’s amazing but it’s not because you work either to hear it in any way. You try to do your best every day and sometimes you’ll get a little bit better, sometimes it’s worse. That’s how it is. I think it’s about standing with both feet on the ground and knowing that it’s an incredibly thin line between the good and the bad days. I mean look, we are sitting here right now, Kyle has won two matches here at Wimbledon, and there all sunny days, ”Fidde” says, as he is actually staring at the glaring sun.
– It was not so fun in Estoril after 6-0 against Joao Sousa in the last set (Finals, Estoril 250 ATP) or how last week turned out in Eastbourne. Nobody wanted to interview me back then of how good it was. Then it’s also the stuff that hurts badly when you have to say, and make demands and show that you are disappointed in a certain way.
It tears you down when you have to set demands because you are disappointed on a certain behaviour. It tears me down and it has been doing so for a lot of years.
– I don’t care if he loses. Really. As long as he’s left it all out on the court. A loss can only happen because of two reasons: Either you play really bad, or your opponent is the better player. That’s alright, as long as you can walk out straight from the court, be proud of yourself and look into the mirror afterwards. If not, then I’m going to get disappointed, angry and I might even wonder about why i’m doing what I’m doing. Why am I doing this? That’s really the small things you can really demand from your player I think.