Poll: Why did Soderling become a different player after beating Rafa? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Poll: Why did Soderling become a different player after beating Rafa?

2003
04-24-2010, 07:57 PM
2009 FO 4th found was seen as Sodas coming of age, a 24 yearold who had had reasonable sucess but nothing like what he had in 2009 FO and beyond.

Why is it he couldn't play this well prior to beating Rafa? Other players who have made GS finals out of nowhere usually go back to sucking afterward..but not Robin..he has backed it up consistantly including beating Folex wearing Federer. Apart from the loss to Gran annoying ers in AO (whos a very good player), hes been solid.

Is it just conifdence he was always lacking?

Aaric
04-24-2010, 08:00 PM
Magnus Norman is the answer for me.
Rafa´s upset just rushed the process imo.

Certinfy
04-24-2010, 08:01 PM
Probably to do with his confidence but like said above by Aaric, Magnus Norman is a huge part to it as well.

Filo V.
04-24-2010, 08:02 PM
Just an overall upgrade in self-belief.

GugaF1
04-24-2010, 08:05 PM
I honestly don`t know to this day what particularly makes Soderling a very good player. His strokes are some of the ugly within the top players, to me he rarely strikes the ball cleanly with those strokes. His mental side is not that great, he can get vulnerable easily still.

So Soderling is sort of a puzzle to me, the main strenght that I can really see on him is that he can smack the ball hard and overcome with power a lot of opponents and that he can play well in all surfaces. I think that huge win on Rafa in RG 2009, something that even problably Fed had plenty of wet dreams about it. Made a nice boost for him to go from a pretty good player to a top one, so I think he is surfing on the wave, but I don`t expect really great things from him, could be wrong.

andy neyer
04-24-2010, 08:07 PM
He had a good bbq.

duong
04-24-2010, 08:19 PM
Jenni Moström and Magnus Norman, he was better before meeting Nadal, if not he would not have won :lol:

tangerine_dream
04-24-2010, 08:20 PM
Why is it he couldn't play this well prior to beating Rafa?
Hate was the main driving force. Soderling played over and above himself when he beat Rafa. That's not his normal everyday game. To play like that all the time would be too physically and emotionally draining.

Certinfy
04-24-2010, 08:25 PM
Actually come to think of it, did the Rome match have any influence on their match at RG? I mean surely Soderling wanted revenge, so did that potentially make him play better?

ApproachShot
04-24-2010, 08:29 PM
Magnus Norman is the answer for me.
Rafa´s upset just rushed the process imo.

I think this is pretty much it in a nutshell. In my opinion the single biggest change from the pre-2009 Soderling to the current one is the mental side - such that he has to some extent been able to change many spectators' perceptions that were previously against him. Of course it is easy to overstate Magnus Norman's role in his newfound mental fortitude, but surely the two are more than just a coincidence. Also as duong mentioned, Jenni may have also been a strong influence.

Not meaning to be deriding in any way here but in a predominantly baseline era his height, strong serve and powerful, flat forehand were always indicative of potential success. I think adopting an improved mental approach to his game enabled him to pull improve his results, which in turn fed back to increase his confidence and most probably his desire to practice and improve.

As far as the Nadal match at the French Open is concerned, I agree with Aaric that it just made the above process happen a lot quicker than anyone could foresee. But the way he has been able to self-perpetuate this cycle and achieve very consistent results over the past year has definitely exceeded my expectations. I hope he can sustain it for the rest of the season to qualify comfortably for the World Tour Finals.

And to address GugaF1's point, his technique is indeed probably the most 'ugly' amongst the top professionals but in some way that is a moot point. I don't particularly like Del Potro or Gonzalez's backswing on their forehands, but that doesn't stop them from being amongst the most effective shots in the game. For good or for ill, his style of play seems to work against most players these days and to his strength he is able to transfer his game well across the surfaces so that he remains in contention throughout the whole of the season.

Ilovetheblues_86
04-24-2010, 08:39 PM
Soderling is reaching almost every ball very well, his movement improved and now, either he cant reach the ball or he reaches and is able to smack a clean hit.

He´s improved drastically his balance on hitting also gaining much more muscular mass.

Bilbo
04-24-2010, 08:52 PM
because of Rainer Schuettler

Persimmon
04-24-2010, 09:03 PM
He gained confidence and ego after beating Rafa at the FO where Rafa had never ever lost and had never ever even been taken to 5 sets and where Rafa had destroyed everybody the 4 previous years particulary in 2008.

henke007
04-24-2010, 09:48 PM
Alot of people seem to ignore the fact that Robin has one of the best BH.s in the game aswell that's gotten better and better i think, volley needs big imrovement though in tight spots!!

Chiakifug
04-24-2010, 10:22 PM
He reached this new level starting at that tournament, Rafa was just unlucky.

duong
04-24-2010, 10:36 PM
He reached this new level starting at that tournament, Rafa was just unlucky.

yes it's more something like that imo : his personal evolution had gone well before but it was his first remarkable result

n8
04-25-2010, 12:12 AM
because of Rainer Schuettler

Yeah, people seem to miss that Soderling was playing great before he met Nadal. Soderling was on a 6 match winning streak (3 at the World Team Cup and 3 at Roland Garros). I know the World Team Cup is a Mickey Mouse event, but he put in some amazing score there, beating Simon, Querrey and Schuettler for the loss of just 12 games. He won his first two matches at Roland Garros in straight sets then beat Ferrer in four.

swisht4u
04-25-2010, 02:47 AM
Yeah, people seem to miss that Soderling was playing great before he met Nadal. Soderling was on a 6 match winning streak (3 at the World Team Cup and 3 at Roland Garros). I know the World Team Cup is a Mickey Mouse event, but he put in some amazing score there, beating Simon, Querrey and Schuettler for the loss of just 12 games. He won his first two matches at Roland Garros in straight sets then beat Ferrer in four.

He was, his problems up to that point seemed to be mental, I don't know how he changed his outlook but it was probably his then new coach.

After some time spent as a headcase, some players look in the mirror, change or continue having the same results.

Mateya
04-25-2010, 08:33 AM
Magnus Norman + gained confidence after beating the clay GOAT = Soderking
:cool:

People tend to forget that he played great some weeks before beating Rafa, so...it would be intereseting to know would he be the same if he wouldn't beat Rafa on RG.

SweTennis
04-25-2010, 08:40 AM
He reached this new level starting at that tournament, Rafa was just unlucky.

This. Thanks to Norman's help and his play in Düsseldorf, where he gained a lot of self confidence on clay.

2003
04-25-2010, 10:00 AM
Do you think Nadal underestimated him after thrashing him earlier in the year? Or was unaware of his good form leading in?

Rafa seems methodical and simply play point by point, but I think once he realised what he was up against, it was 6-2 and too big a mountain.

Kolya
04-25-2010, 11:21 AM
It is all mental with Soderling, has been for a while.

Norman has helped be more consistent and mentally stronger.

Sander.
04-25-2010, 11:26 AM
The clue is his coach, Magnus Norman.

Tennisman82
04-25-2010, 12:38 PM
I think the win over Nadal completely changed Soderling for the better. Sometimes all it takes is one win to ignite a career, and the Nadal victory was it for Soderling. Beating Nadal gave him the confidence and belief that he could hang with the big boys of the game, and since then he’s proved he can. That cool forehand he has has been so effective since Roland Garros 2009.

Tennisman82.

Jomp1
04-25-2010, 02:21 PM
Düsseldorf was the turnaround. He played absolute shit one match and was seemingly not even trying, so when he took a peak towards Norman - he had left his seat. That's when he realized he couldn't keep doing the bs stuff anymore. He hasn't looked back since.

MacTheKnife
04-25-2010, 02:23 PM
The choice is obvious. The next three are :lol:.

schorsch
04-25-2010, 02:42 PM
Sometimes players with potential when working with a new coach might be doing what they're telling them to do, but they won't fully believe in it. They'll get better without consciously noticing though doing the right things and with a great result that belief comes into place at last and all the work suddenly becomes "worth it and feels right". That makes things easier for the coach then and they can work even more efficiently from then on. I guess that was a factor.

duong
04-25-2010, 04:39 PM
The choice is obvious. The next three are :lol:.

I chose choice 3 because if he hadn't been so good BEFORE meeting Nadal, he would not have beaten him :shrug:

I don't think Nadal's reason is major at all.

Actually the clue might rather be Ferrer's match before, which was his worst match in the two weeks (Düsseldorf+French Open) : apart from that match, he just played great all of these weeks (wee except the final, which was obviously a special moment), it was not just one match.

If Söderling had beaten Federer in French Open final, then that match would surely have had a deeper impact ;)

centralviva
04-25-2010, 04:43 PM
He always had the game, his strokes are the business. I never really took much notice of him before them 09 French Open but a few games into the Rafa match I knew he was going to win and with his performance through that tournament I'm disappointed he didn't give more in that final. It was definitely the turning point in his career IMO

Nidhogg
04-25-2010, 05:20 PM
For several reasons. I'll give you my take.

Firstly, Söderling holds Magnus Norman in very high regard, and therefore he respects and listens to him. Many of the things that Norman says to Robin are the same things which Peter Carlsson told him when he was his coach, but Norman is more stoic in his coaching role during matches, forcing Söderling to fend his own battles rather than glare to the sidelines as soon as things don't go according to plan, and Robin knows he's in for a treat if he loses his temper on court. Söderling also says that Norman has taught him a vital difference in the outlook when it comes to his tennis. It's about winning matches, and not necessarily playing good tennis all the time, which Robin used to be obsessed with. Most likely he is a perfectionist, and gets very frustrated with himself when he plays badly. Now he's much better at putting poor shots out of his mind and get on with it, and so he's tougher to beat whenever he's not playing his best. This is very obvious when you look at his consistent results these days.

Secondly, as soon as Norman took over as Robin's coach in the fall of 2008 they started to work rigorously on his physique and fitness, and they worked on developing his ability to come forward and finish points at the net. He will never be a natural up in the forecourt or suddenly get blessed with great touch and feel, but he does come in a lot more frequently now and it pays off. He strives to finish points up at the net, which suits his apt for playing quick points.

Thirdly, during his injury layoff from Aug/Sep 07 to Feb 08 he couldn't hit his backhand with two hands as he had a persistent injury to his left wrist, and he developed his slice off the backhand. Again, just like with his netplay, this is no natural shot to him and the execution goes up and down, but it's nevertheless an addition which comes in handy.

He had a poor start to the season ever since his semi or quarter in Brisbane in 09. He lost in the 2nd round of the AO when he was in a very good position to win his match there against Baghdatis, but he has never done well in Melbourne anyway.
The poor form continued with many losses, and then he had that injury to his back, and had to withdraw from the DC tie against Israel.

Things turned around in the challenger in Sunrise, where he actually played qualies first and went on to win the tournament fairly easily. He desperately needed to win matches, and that he did. His form slowly got better and better during the clay season, and he was playing well in Rome even though he got pummeled by Nadal. The scoreline flatters Nadal greatly in that encounter. Robin had five breakpoints and plenty of gamepoints which he made a mess of.

He continued to play well in Madrid, but duly lost to Federer who toyed with him with dropshots and his usual variety which Söderling struggles so much with.

Then came Düsseldorf where his good form really showed as he shined in both singles and doubles (with extra emphasis on singles), and he served Schüttler that famous double bagel. A real one. No MTF lingo.

Another huge step was made when he beat Ferrer in a very tough match who swung back and fourth many times. He had never gotten past the 3rd round of a slam prior to that (actually he had only once made it past the 3rd round of a MS as well. Compare that to the latest four MS tournies he has played, where his results are QF, QF, SF, SF) as well.

And then along came even bigger wins, and confidence comes from beating the big boys on the big stages. He recorded his best ever results by a huge margin in the remaining slams of that year, and it was Federer who stopped him every time.

Confidence takes a long time to build up, and even though he has a new mental outlook now, it can go away fast if he has a bunch of bad losses. He has bounced back well from the losses to Ginepri and Granollers this year, though.

Yep.

One more thing. He might very well have played even better in Düsseldorf back in 08, and he made it to R3 of RG that year, but once there he lost his mind in fashion against Benneteau after seeing a couple of chances to go two sets up disappear. Had he won there he most likely would have faced Federer, who he naturally would have been a huge underdog against, but it's still an interesting comparison to the scenario in 09 as he was able to stay the course against Ferrer in R3 and went on to face Nadal.

duong
04-25-2010, 05:40 PM
Firstly, Söderling holds Magnus Norman in very high regard, and therefore he respects and listens to him. Many of the things that Norman says to Robin are the same things which Peter Carlsson told him when he was his coach, but Norman is more stoic in his coaching role during matches, forcing Söderling to fend his own battles rather than glare to the sidelines as soon as things don't go according to plan, and Robin knows he's in for a treat if he loses his temper on court. Söderling also says that Norman has taught him a vital difference in the outlook when it comes to his tennis. It's about winning matches, and not necessarily playing good tennis all the time, which Robin used to be obsessed with. Most likely he is a perfectionist, and gets very frustrated with himself when he plays poorly. Now he's much better at putting poor shots out of his mind and get on with it, and so he's much tougher to beat whenever the's not playing his best tennis. This is very obvious when you look at his consistent results these days.

Great post, and this is the most important part imo :yeah:

As you said, Söderling is a perfectionist, and the key was him to be able not to lose his control when things don't go his way.

You spoke about Norman, great, I can speak of something else which I saw and which had marked me :

in Lyon 2008, which he won, it was the first time I saw Jenni Moström, she was in the public with a friend.

And she LAUGHED everytime Söderling got angry about himself as he did usually in that time, and now he does less.

She intendedly laughed with her friend : they were clearly laughing at him.

Söderling could have lost his control even more because of them laughing at him, but yet, no I remember that : he didn't, actually he played better (and he won that tournament).

I was troubled by that : I think that Söderling's love for Jenni has helped him to really listen to her, if he hadn't respected her and carefuly listened to her, he would never have suffered that woman laughing at him.

Now she's more quiet during his matches, but in my eyes, it was a mark of the influence she may have.

But definitely the case for Söderling's improvement was being less perfectionist as you said :yeah:

Another huge step was made when he beat Ferrer in a very tough match who swung back and fourth many times. He had never gotten past the 3rd round of a slam prior to that (actually he had only once made it past the 3rd round of a MS as well. Compare that to his latest four MS tournies he has played, where his results are QF, QF, SF, SF) as well.

yes I remember that peculiar statistical importance of that match : he had never past 3rd round actually, and that match was very tight, whereas Ferrer was not in such great form, I think it was also a mental step.

One more thing. He might very well have played better in Düsseldorf in 08, and he made it to R3 of RG that year, but once there he lost his mind in fashion against Benetteau. Had he won there he most likely would have faced Federer, which he would have been a huge underdog against, but it's still an interesting comparison compared to the scenario in 09, as he was able to stay the course against Ferrer in R3 and went on to face Nadal.

yes I was thinking it actually but didn't want to say it as he went against the previous demonstration :lol: :
from time to time, Söderling had already had weeks where he was unbeatable, that week in Düsseldorf was not so much new.

However, what was new was deeper as you said before : it was about his mental, and it was about Norman and probably Jenni Moström (I know that a woman can definitely change a man's mind when you really love her ;).

In my opinion, he was an improved player before Nadal's match : if he hadn't, he wouldn't have won that match.

Nidhogg
04-25-2010, 06:08 PM
Heh, yeah, Jenni may very well be a charm.

There are even more things if you dig deep, such as that he has lowered his balltoss slightly when he serves, and he has recently worked more on improving his footwork, etc. He has an obvious will to improve and work on his game, and that is never a bad thing.

Experimentee
04-26-2010, 10:15 AM
Soderling was already improving his form even before he beat Nadal at RG. This is due to improving his mental strength with the help of Magnus Norman. It wasn't entirely due to his victory over Nadal.