MONTE CARLO, April 25, 2008 (AFP)
Former French Open champion Michael Chang believes Roger Federer's decision to hire Jose Higueras as coach could
finally help the world number one lift an elusive Roland Garros title.
Spanish claycourt expert Higueras coached Chang to become the youngest ever French Open men's champion in 1989 before the tennis guru teamed-up with Jim Courier to claim back-to-back wins in Paris in 1991 and 1992.
"Jose is certainly one of the best coaches out there with clay being his specialty," Chang, who was just 17 years and three months old when he won the Grand Slam title in the French capital, told
"Jose's knowledge of the surface and Spanish tennis (Federer's losses in the finals were to Rafael Nadal) can bring a new understanding of clay court tennis to Roger's game."
Federer has 12 Grand Slam titles but has constantly come up short on clay with Nadal beating him in the last two French Open finals, a record which has prevented him from claiming a career Grand Slam.
In seven claycourt meetings with Nadal, Federer has won just one.
"A new voice in Jose certainly won't hurt and I believe it will help Roger understand even better some of the 'secrets' of playing in Paris, especially when it comes to conditions and how the courts and balls are playing because each year, it's always a bit different," added Chang.
"The coach can play a significant role, but Roger's health, stamina and overall play need to be there as well. I'm sure he will be eager though.
"Jose is very easy to work with and he works extremely hard. I think that's one reason why Courier and I did so well with him.
"We weren't afraid to work and we weren't afraid to implement new ideas that we knew could help us improve. On top of that, Jose is very professional, very low key and very personable too."



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