Higueras will add value to Federer’s clay-court play


New Delhi : World No. 1 Roger Federer, who is going through a poor patch, has turned to Spanish coach Jose Higueras to overcome his mounting problems.

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Federer has been without a coach since splitting with Australian Tony Roche last May and is yet to win a title this year.

With the French Open round the corner, the only title the Swiss hasn’t been able to lay his hands on, the move to hire Higueras is significant, considering his reputation as a clay-court specialist.

Higueras, 55, was a semi-finalist at the French Open in 1982 and 1983 when he reached his best World No. 6 singles ranking. He was also a member of the Spanish team that won the inaugural World Team Cup in 1978 and in 1983.

In his two decades of coaching, Higueras has helped the former American No 1 Michael Chang to win the French Open at the age of 17 and also coached another American Jim Courier who has won seven Grand Slam titles.

Higueras has also been on the court side for other Grand Slam winners Pete Sampras, Carlos Moya and Jennifer Capriati and Chanda Rubin to name a few.

Higueras starts working with Federer from the Estoril Open in Portugal where the Swiss plays his first match Tuesday.

After Estoril Open, Federer is scheduled to play Masters Series events on clay at Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg before heading for the French Open.