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Nolby 12-01-2009 10:06 PM

Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread
I found this interview in the India Times, published today, in preparation for the Chennai Open on January 4, 2019. The other Player Forums have a thread for Interviews, News and Articles, so I thought this would be a good way to initiate it:

Nadal's nemesis, and much more
Ruhi Batra, TNN 1 December 2009, 01:20am IST

One of tennis' success stories of 2009, Robin Soderling's rise looks meteoric from afar. But for the Swede, who started the year ranked 17th and won just nine matches in his first 10 tournaments, 2009 has been all about consistency and quality.

He snapped Rafael Nadal's seemingly endless winning streak at the French Open and as a last-minute inclusion at the ATP World Tour Finals in London, beat two of the best players in the world before losing to US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in a semifinal that saw breathtaking tennis.

In this exclusive interview, Soderling shares his views on tennis, his life and 2009. Excerpts:

When you look back at 2009 - beating Rafael Nadal at the French Open, your first Grand Slam final, making the top 10 - what thoughts cross your mind?
It's been a great year for me. I'm very happy to be in the top 10, it's been my goal for a long time, and now I'm there, it's an amazing feeling.

What is your most vivid memory of that 4th-round match against Nadal?
The tie-break in the fourth set when I was up 6-1 was a good feeling.

Have you seen that tie again on TV?
No, I haven't.

Do you worry that you will forever be remembered as the man who beat Nadal at Roland Garros?
I don't care much but it won't be like that forever. I hope that picture will be erased by other good things.

What are your biggest strengths? Do you think people now consider you a serious threat after the French Open?
I am fairly strong with a big serve and a good forehand. I believe that players have considered me as a threat even before the French Open, I'm just more consistent now.

How difficult is life on the Tour? Andre Agassi talks about how he used to hate tennis and the life that went with it. Marat Safin said he just couldn't take the hotels and flights and training.
I believe everyone feels that way from time to time. You always want what you don't have. But ultimately I love this life. I am sure I will miss it once it's gone.

Agassi's book, Open, has been much in the news. One of the revelations concerns recreational drugs. Do you think that the pressures of being in the limelight takes its toll ?
It is definitely hard to handle all the pressure every week, but it's part of the job. It might just not be for everyone.

Who is Robin Soderling when he's not playing tennis?
I am very easygoing. When I don't play tennis I like to relax and hang out with my friends. My girlfriend would say my biggest hobby away from tennis is to clean, I'm a bit of a neat freak.

Do you have many friends on the ATP Tour? Who do you hang out with?
There are a lot of nice guys on the tour, but I mostly hang out with my girlfriend, my coach and other Swedes.

Do you think it's become impossible now to have a long career?
I wouldn't say it's impossible, but perhaps a bit more challenging. It's very important to work hard physically to prevent injury.

You will be coming to India for the first time, for the Chennai Open (in January). What have you heard about the event and India?
I've only heard very good things about this tournament so I'm sure it will be a great place for me to start the 2010 season. I'm looking forward to playing some good tennis at the Chennai Open 2010 and eating some great food.

Who were the people or players that you admired while growing up?
I never really admired any specific tennis player, but I used to like watching Stefan Edberg play.

Sweden has such a rich tennis heritage. But today you're the only Swede in the top 100...
Sweden is a small country, and to have had so many great players is sensational. As in all sports, success breeds success. I hope I will inspire a few kids to work hard.

What do you think you can do well apart from playing tennis?
I am very athletic, so I'm fairly good at most sports. I don't know if I'm a good cook, but I'm great at ordering food, same same.

What are the five things that you do not travel without?
My girlfriend, my laptop, my cell phone, Kent music and voltaren (anti-inflammatory drug).

swedes_rule 12-02-2009 07:01 AM

Re: Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread
great interview Tim, Thanks! :)

Nidhogg 12-08-2009 09:39 PM

Re: Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread

Robin is about to take help by an expert in track & field to improve his techique when running. There has been talk about it since just before the US Open. I actually thought they had already started, cause I've gotten the impression that he has improved his movement lately.

"I want to become stronger, faster, improve my stamina, return better, move better and volley better."

I like the attitude. Always strive to get better.

swedes_rule 12-09-2009 05:03 AM

Re: Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread

The Biggest Upsets of 2009

by ATP Staff

Robin Soderling© Getty ImagesRobin Soderling ended Rafael Nadal's 31-match winning streak at Roland Garros.

Take a look back at the five biggest upsets of 2009...

1. Roland Garros 4th Round – Robin Soderling d Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-4, 7-6(2)

With Rafael Nadal riding a record 31-match unbeaten run at Roland Garros, shockwaves were sent through the tennis world on 31 May as the seemingly indestructible Spaniard was finally beaten in the fourth round.

Chasing an unprecedented fifth successive title at Roland Garros, Nadal was stunned 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-4, 7-6(2) by Swede Robin Soderling, a debutant at the fourth-round stage of a Grand Slam, as a packed Philippe Chatrier court watched on in disbelief. Just four weeks earlier, Nadal had demolished the Swede 6-1, 6-0 in the third round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

Since making his debut at Roland Garros in 2005, Nadal had lost just seven sets en route to winning four successive titles, but met his match in an inspired Soderling, coached by 2000 runner-up Magnus Norman. Nadal failed to reproduce the blistering form that had seen off former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt two days earlier and largely struggled to impose his game at all on Soderling – who in turn played a brave match and maintained a calm demeanour until the last ball.

Soderling executed his forehand to perfection in the first set as he broke serve twice to become the first man to take a set off Nadal at Roland Garros since Roger Federer won the second set of the 2007 final. Nadal restored order by prevailing in a tense second-set tie-break as Soderling’s form began to dip, but the Tibro native was not disheartened as Nadal drew level.

Soderling stepped up to dictate play in the third set and exposed the chinks in the Mallorcan’s armour. He clinched a crucial service break with a strong backhand throwing Nadal off balance to force the error and kept his composure when serving for the set at 5-4 to clinch a two-sets-to-one lead.

Nadal looked set to embark on the inevitable fight back as he broke to lead 2-0 in the fourth set, but an unperturbed Soderling continued to unleash a barrage of fearsome groundstrokes and broke back to love before forcing a must-win tie-break for Nadal. With his title on the line, Nadal was still unable to find his best tennis in the ‘breaker and was powerless to deny Soderling a historic win after three hours and 30 minutes.

“No, defeats never make you grow,” concluded Nadal, who suffered his first-ever loss in a best-of-five-set clay-court match (then 48-1 record). “But you also realise how difficult what I achieved up until today was, and this is something you need sometimes. You need a defeat to give value to your victories.”

It was only the 10th time in the Open Era that the defending champion had failed to reach the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, and it was only the second time in the past 13 Grand Slam tournaments that Nadal had failed to reach the quarter-finals or better.

Soderling built on his superb performance against the 2008 ATP World Tour Champion and went on to reach his first major final, which he lost to Federer.

2. US Open final – Juan Martin del Potro d Roger Federer 3-6, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2

del Potro, FedererIn the first US Open final to go the distance in 10 years, Juan Martin del Potro dethroned five-time US Open champion Roger Federer 3-6, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 in an epic clash on Arthur Ashe stadium.

Despite his demolition of Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, del Potro still entered his first major final as the heavy underdog. The Argentine had lost to Federer in all six of their previous meetings, including a crushing 6-3, 6-0, 6-0 defeat at the Australian Open when Federer won 13 straight games from 5-3 in the first set. He was attempting to derail the in-form Federer, who had not lost a match at Flushing Meadows since a fourth-round defeat to David Nalbandian in 2003

The towering “del Po,” known for his laid-back demeanour, struggled with nerves in the first set and a half and in no time at all found himself a set and 3-1 down. That was when his forehand cranked into gear, though. With Federer serving for a commanding two-set lead, del Potro capitalised on a slight dip in the Swiss’ level and two blistering forehand winners saw him heave himself back into contention. Del Potro was a new man. Gone were the shackles of the first set and a half that restricted the right-hander from exhibiting the full force of his ground strokes. He grew in confidence as he forced the set into a tie-break and held strong to close out the set with another forehand winner angled past Federer.

Nerves looked set to hinder del Potro once again in the third set when, after breaking serve to lead 4-3, the Tandil native tightened up – relinquishing the lead before double faulting twice at 4-5, 30/30 to trail by two-sets-to-one. A high-risk strategy in the fourth set proved del Potro’s champion's credentials and he held strong when facing break point threats to force Federer into a tie-break. Ignoring the fever-pitch tension on Arthur Ashe stadium, del Potro took advantage of an early Federer double fault in the ‘breaker and did not look back as he levelled the match, forcing a decider.

Del Potro blew open the match at the start of the fifth set, breaking Federer and holding twice to race to a 3-0 lead. The mighty Swiss was made to rue a missed break-back opportunity in the fifth game as del Potro offered up no further chances and went on to seal the dramatic victory with a second break of Federer’s serve after four hours and six minutes.

The 20-year-old del Potro became the fifth youngest man to win the US Open title in the Open Era and became the tallest Grand Slam winner at 6’6”. He also joined countryman Guillermo Vilas (1977) as the only South American champions at the US Open.

3. US Open 4th Round – Marin Cilic d Andy Murray 7-5, 6-2, 6-2

MurrayThe odds were stacked against World No. 17 Marin Cilic as he went into his fourth-round clash with 2008 US Open runner-up Andy Murray. The Croatian had never advanced to a Grand Slam quarter-final before, never previously defeated a Top 3 player and entered with a 0-3 record against the No. 2-ranked Scot.

Taking advantage of a below-par performance from Murray, though, the then-20 year old enthralled Arthur Ashe stadium with a dynamic display to crush the Briton in the last two sets. After saving four break points in the first set, including two that were set points when he trailed 4-5 15/40, Cilic hit back to earn the first service break of the match at 5-5 as a Murray forehand clipped the net and landed wide. More uncharacteristic loose errors for Murray proved costly as Cilic closed out the one-set lead when the Scot sliced a backhand into the net.

Cilic capitalised on his momentum and his brave, aggressive hitting from the back of the court paid dividends in the second and third sets as Murray had no answer to the Croatian’s dominance from the baseline. Cilic broke serve four more times to set himself up with the chance to serve out victory, and did so in style – with three blistering service deliveries propelling him to match point, which he converted after two hours and eight minutes.

Cilic’s New York fairytale could not continue, though, and the Croatian was ousted in the quarter-finals by eventual winner del Potro.

4. Roland Garros 3rd Round, Philipp Kohlschreiber d. Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4

KohlschreiberNovak Djokovic came into Roland Garros as arguably the favourite behind four-time champion Rafael Nadal following a stellar clay-court campaign. The Serb reached back-to-back ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals in Monte-Carlo and Rome (pushing Nadal on both occasions), won the inaugural Serbian Open in Belgrade and then had three match points against Nadal in the Madrid semi-finals before losing an epic four-hour battle in a third-set tie-break.

In contrast, German Philipp Kohlschreiber headed to Paris with a modest record on the clay season, and he had never been beyond the second round at Roland Garros. Djokovic raced ahead 4-1 in the first set and a routine victory looked on the cards. But Kohlschreiber won nine of the next 10 games to blow open the match en route to a stunning 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win.

"I think I played really one of the best matches ever in a big tournament," said Kohlschreiber.

5. Rogers Cup quarter-finals, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga d. Roger Federer 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(3)

Tsonga, FedererWhen Roger Federer goes ahead 5-1 in the third set it’s generally a safe play to make your way to the concession stand to beat the rush. But anyone cutting out early at the Rogers Cup in Montreal this year missed one of the most astounding comebacks of the season.

After dropping a tight first set to big-hitting Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Federer won 11 of the next 13 games to be within one game of sealing his 22nd consecutive victory at 5-1 in the third set. As one of the best closers in the game, victory seemed a mere formality.

But Tsonga reeled off five straight games and then held three match points leading 6-5 with Federer serving at 0/40. Playing his first tournament since the birth of his twin daughters, the Swiss rallied to force a tie-break. But at 3-all Tsonga won the last four points to seal an improbable victory over the two-time former tournament champion.

Invoking one of sport’s enduring truisms, Federer said: "It's never over until it's over… he completely lost his game for an hour there, through the second [and] the third. It was unfortunate I couldn't serve it out."

AgnRus 12-12-2009 06:24 AM

Re: Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread
Soderling: "It was not a tennis elbow"

Robin Soderling downplay the significance of the injury which bothered him during the autumn. "I do not think I will have no trouble in the future" said Soderling to


Nolby 12-17-2009 02:42 PM

Re: Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread
And here is the link to the article Nastia found stating that the elbow is huring him again:

I hope he is ok by the time Doha starts, and pulls out of the unnecessary Abu Dhabi event if he still needs the rest.

Nolby 12-18-2009 10:30 AM

Re: Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread
Robin wins "Suprise Performance of the Year" from in their 2009 Tennis Awards:

Surprise Performance of the Year — Robin Soderling (French Open)

Not the best of friends after Soderling imitated pulling his shorts out of his ass when playing against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon years ago, the Swede treated the Spaniard like an enemy in their meeting at Roland Garros this year, bullying him off the court. Nadal was ripe for the picking after another long claycourt season, and Soderling simply took it to him — letting his forehand fly, resulting in a lot of unforced errors but also a lot of winners. He knew he couldn’t just sit back and rally with Nadal, and in groundstroke rallies Soderling has the height advantage where the Spaniard’s high-bouncing shots don’t bother him as much as other players. He came in with a game plan and executed, and his forehand was “on.” Not many players can hit Nadal off a red clay court, but the Swede showed how it was done.

Honorable Mention: Nikolay Davydenko (London Finals), Yanina Wickmayer (US Open), Fernando Verdasco (Australian Open), Svetlana Kuznetsova (French Open)

Magnus Norman wins "Coach of the Year" from in their 2009 Tennis Awards:

Coach of the Year — Magnus Norman

The former world No. 2 and ward to fellow Swede Robin Soderling has taken his charge into the Top 10 for the first time to end 2009, as well as given him the confidence to do what no one has been able to do over the last handful of years — beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open. And the biggest accomplishment for Norman since dating Martina Hingis. “I feel more involved with Robin. He’s younger and listens more. I like that!” said Norman, who formerly coached another Swede, Thomas Johansson, before switching to Soderling near the beginning of the year. Known as a sporadic big-hitter, Soderling has improved his consistency but moreso his attitude under Norman, transforming from a short-fused head case to a more mature player willing to stick it out and grind when things aren’t going his way. “Before starting work with Robin, we looked into what he needed to work on. His mental attitude was an obvious priority. So we talked a lot, discussed things. Before, he was like a teenager on court: now hes a man. He became a great warrior with a cool head. That’s the thing I’m most proud of.”

Honorable Mention: Zlejko Krajan (Safina), Larry Stefanki (Roddick), Franco Davin (Del Potro)

Aaric 12-18-2009 01:56 PM

Re: Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread
Great news :yeah:

Orka_n 12-18-2009 10:27 PM

Re: Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread
I'm happy Norman gets some recognition. If it weren't for him, Robin would never have gotten this far.

*Ljubica* 12-19-2009 02:50 PM

Re: Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread
Congrats to Magnus - seems fully deserved to me :yeah:

Dini 12-19-2009 04:25 PM

Re: Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread
Stefanki and Davin have both done great jobs but no one has influenced a player's temperament as much as Norman has on Soderling this year. Robin used to have the shortest fuse and really go mad at the ball at every opportunitiy; these days under the coaching of Magnus you see him construct points beautifully and pull the trigger at the right times. He's become a better thinker and it has helped the mental aspect of his game too in my opinion. Fully deserved to get that award.

Nolby 12-22-2009 02:09 AM

Re: Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread

Originally Posted by Orka_n (Post 9420689)
I'm happy Norman gets some recognition. If it weren't for him, Robin would never have gotten this far.

More Awards for Robin:

Sports Illustrated,

Robin Soderling
In addition to beating Rafael Nadal twice, Robin Soderling more than halved his ranking, from 17 to 8. (But how about John Isner, who started the year at 145 and finished at 35, the third-highest American?)

(Note: Franco Davin, the coach of Del Pony, won their Coach of the Year award)
Sports Illustrated,
Biggest Upset of the Decade, MEN

Robin Soderling
• Men: Robin Soderling over Nadal, 2009 French Open fourth round. That Nadal lost at Roland Garros for the first time was upset enough. That, as the four-time defending champ, he lost to Soderling -- a modest clay-courter ranked outside the top 20 at the time -- was an all-time shocker. This result laid bare just how competitive men's tennis has become. It also gave some context to Federer's streak of 22 Grand Slam semifinal appearances.
Bleacher Report
Robin is currently second to Del Potro out of 7 nominees (both Men and Women) in the voting for the Most Improved Player in 2009 for The Bleacher Report: . It's basically a two man race at this point, as Robin and Del Pony together have raked in more than 50% of the votes. Vote for Robin when you get the chance. Bleacher Reports argument for Robin winning the award:

Robin Soderling, nominated by JA Allen: Sweden has long been the land of male blond and beautiful tennis players. Led by the enigmatic and immensely popular Bjorn Borg, Mats Wilander quickly followed. Stefan Edberg sprang up instantly behind the wily Wilander and made a name for himself at Wimbledon, where his serve and volley game captured the attention of the media and the world.

As the 1990s turned over into the 2000s, it appeared that the once mighty Swedish contingent was on the verge of extinction. Today Robin Soderling is currently the only male Swedish singles player ranked in the top 200. Swedish tennis officials fervently hope the soaring Soderling is about to alter the fate of Swedish tennis.

Soderling, who turned pro in 2001 and lingered on the fringes, always showed promise but never quite living up to his billing. The Swede chose 2009 to fulfill his destiny with his dominating serves and his powerful groundstrokes, enhanced by a backhand almost as potent as his massive forehand.

Starting the year ranked No. 17, in 2009 Soderling began his climb into the top 10. But he started slow suffering with mediocre results and injuries. He lost in the third round at both Rome to Nadal and then at Madrid to Federer.

At the French Open Soderling was seeded 23 and he reached the fourth round of a major for the first time in his career. His next opponent was Nadal, the reigning champion, owner of the red clay of Roland Garros.
The Swede’s defeat of the French Open champion, going for his fifth consecutive victory on the red clay, 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, was perhaps the biggest upset of the decade. Soderling is the only person ever to defeat Nadal at the French Open.

Soderling met and lost to Federer in the final. But the world took notice of Swedish tennis as played by Soderling once again. He climbed to No. 12 in the world after his break out performance at Stade Roland Garros.

At Wimbledon, seeded 13th, Soderling once again faced Federer in the fourth round—again the furthest he had ever advanced on the famous grass courts. Although Soderling lost, 6-4, 7-6, 7-6, the Swede’s serve was only broken once by the Swiss.

After Wimbledon, Soderling went on to win the Swedish Open. He became the first Swede to win his country’s tournament since Magnus Norman in 2000. Soderling moved up to No. 11.

An elbow injury slowed his progress during the American hardcourt season. Seeded 12th at the U.S. Open, Soderling made it to the quarterfinals, again his furthest advancement in this major. Inevitably he lost again to Federer.

It was at the Masters Event in Shanghai where Soderling finally cracked into the ATP top 10. The Swede, however, wished to secure a place in the year-end World Tour Finals in London by being in the top eight. That meant he had to do well in Paris at the Paribas Masters.

Unfortunately, Djokovic defeated him in the quarterfinals and ended Soderling’s chance to finish in the top eight.

Ranked No. 9, however, Soderling was the first reserve and when Roddick withdrew, Soderling stepped in. The Swede made it to the semifinals, losing to del Potro and ended the year ranked as the No. 8 player in the world.

Moving up from No. 17 to No. 8 in the world plus scoring perhaps the biggest upset of the year, maybe even the decade makes Soderling a candidate for the most improved player of 2009.
Peter Bodo, Most Improved Player Award for 2009

Robin Soderling
Most improved male: It was a tight race, with guys like del Potro, Fernando Verdasco, Andy Roddick and even Nikolay Davydenko deserving consideration. But at the end of the day, I have to go with Robin Soderling over del Potro, simply because in January of 2009, the idea of Soderling beating Nadal in Paris and ultimately making the ATP World Tour Finals was a far more far-fetched scenario than del Potro winning the U.S. Open.

Nolby 12-22-2009 02:20 AM

Re: Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread
How He Fared in 2009: Robin Soderling Grows Up
Bleacher Report
by Rajat Jain
Written on December 19, 2009

One of the (dis)advantages of being a software junkie is I like to come up with weird geeky nicknames without any context, and those are not taken particularly well, especially with the fairer sex. This disappointment is usually covered up by the amusing happiness I get by basking in my own glory of false intelligence.

Robin Soderling was assigned a similar nickname when he created the greatest upset in the history of Roland Garros — BSOD — an acronym for "Blue Screen of Death " which we often get while using a Windows Operating System. Soderling became famous after this historic match and his career has steadily progressed after this tournament, rather than being lost after a one off, which further justifies the nomenclature.

Things were not the same for this Swede, though, till he met Nadal at Phillip Chatrier.

Unlike his precedents, he does not possess the ice cool demeanor of Bjorn Borg, the adaptability of Mats Wilander, the elegance of Stefan Edberg, or the raw, but underutilized, talent of Thomas Enquist. And there is only so much that you can achieve with a big serve and a massive ugly forehand which works best only in normalized conditions under a roof.

Yet, mentally stronger people have fought and achieved much better results with even lesser talent that what Soderling had achieved till May this year.

Apart from the deficiencies in his game, Soderling lacked this inherent trait of the Swedes as well. His lack of maturity was visibly apparent either when he tried to imitate Nadal or made a fool of himself by incessantly arguing over a straight forward line call against the same player he so hates.

He might not like Nadal for the rest of his life, and this behavior was not expected from a top 20 player, but what it did prove was that Soderling never had any fear while playing against Federer or Nadal, two players who have won numerous matches by mentally defeating their opponent even before the start of the match.

And ironically it was against Nadal, who had brought out the most fragile part of his behavior, when he so effectively turned the tables and revived his ordinary year in which he was facing difficulty winning two straight matches.

To prove that the upset was no fluke, the Swede later launched a dominating victory against Nikolay Davydenko, who himself would go on to enjoy his most successful year and earned a hard fought victory against Fernando Gonzalez to reach his maiden appearance in a slam final, halted only by the person who went on to create history.

Despite his success, Soderling has not been able to solve the Federer puzzle who has beaten him 13 straight times. The heartening fact for him is he is getting closer to solve the mystery with their every meeting.

In Roland Garros, it was an easy three set defeat, which improved to a tight three set defeat at Wimbledon – Federer's favorite surface — and after smashing the racket at the Ashe Stadium, Soderling was a completely different player who almost stretched Federer to a fifth set giving the world No. 1 his toughest competition of the tournament before Del Potro.

Much of Soderling's success has been attributed to his coach Magnus Norman, who has not only improved his physical conditioning and his attitude on court, but added a calming influence on court. Soderling is prepared to play the waiting game of rallying long enough to create opportunities, while his famous relationship with his towel (during changeovers) has helped improved his concentration.

His mental strength was never more visible than in the year's final tournament at London. In his match against Djokovic, he lost three consecutive set points but later rallied to win the first set. In the semi-finals against Del Potro he was serving dangerously at 0-40 down in the first set. Unperturbed, he fired down three aces and two service winners to win five consecutive points, saved the game, and went on to win the first set.

The rejuvenated Soderling may not be that ripe young man who can be looked forward to creating wonders in the coming years. Now 25 years of age, he does not have age on his side to win half a dozen majors, but he will surely look forward to the opening year of the next decade, where he can try to climb into top-5, or win a couple of masters shields.

A major may still seem far fetched, but then many players have won their first major in the late twenties or even the early thirties. Ask Goran Ivanisevic.

If only BSOD can reveal the secret self conversations inside his towel.

Nolby 12-28-2009 10:19 AM

Re: Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread
Soderling Prepares for ‘Gladiatorial’ Battle
Khaleej Times Online
28 December 2009
ABU DHABI - Robin Soderling, ranked number eight in the world, surprised everyone – even himself – by making his way to the French Open final earlier this year.

The top ranked Swede reached his first ever Grand Slam, defeating Rafael Nadal to end the Spaniard’s record 31 match winning streak at the tournament and move through to the final against world number one Roger Federer by overcoming Nikolay Davydenko (6-1 6-3 6-1) and Fernando Gonzalez (6-3 7-5 5-7 4-6 6-4).

Soderling lost to the Swiss master (6-1 7-6 6-4) but says he can’t wait for a possible re-match and the chance to get one back against the world’s best player at the Capitala World Tennis Championship.

“Making it through to my first Grand Slam final was a dream come true and something I have aspired to and worked towards my whole life,” Soderling said.

“As any player will tell you, coming up against Roger in a Grand Slam final is always difficult but I’m now very much looking forward to the possibility of playing against him in Abu Dhabi and hopefully going one step better.”

Soderling might just have that chance if he advances through to day two of the Capitala World Tennis Championship and overcomes Federer’s fellow countryman Stanislas Wawrinka on the opening day of the event.

The big hitting Swede will no doubt draw on the success and experience gained in a record year which saw him compile a personal best 47-19 match record during the season. He also reached the quarter-finals (or better) in 11 of his 22 tour-level tournaments.

Following his stunning French Open form, Soderling then went on to earn his first clay-court ATP World Tour title on home soil at the Catella Swedish Open.

In Grand Slam play he posted career-best performances at Wimbledon (fourth round) and the US Open (quarter-finals), losing to Federer both times. He also won one ATP Challenger Tour title at Sunrise, Florida in March and reached the Malaysian and China Opens before the Shanghai Masters where he officially cracked into the top 10 for the first time. Soderling made an impressive performance at the ATP World Tour Final this year, the first time the Swede had qualified for the tournament. He defeated world number two Nadal in his first match, going on to reach the semifinals where he lost out to Juan Martin del Potro.

“It was certainly a great year for me,” said Soderling, who also enjoys playing table tennis and rates his favourite movie is Gladiator.

“I’m now hoping I can carry on that form and get the 2010 season off to the best possible start with wins over the top players competing in Abu Dhabi.”

Soderling started playing tennis at the tender age of five and played in his first official junior tournament in Luxembourg at the age of 14. He became the first Swede to reach the French Open final since his coach Magnus Norman did in 2000 and is currently the only Swede in the top 200 ATP rankings.

AgnRus 12-28-2009 06:33 PM

Re: Soderking Interviews, News & Articles Thread

Steve Flink: The Flink Awards 2009

Looking at this category strictly in terms of players who are near the top of their profession, I have selected Sweden’s Robin Soderling. At the end of 2008, Soderling was No. 17 in the world. He had finished 2004 at No. 34 and 2006 at No. 25. But he had always struck me as a mindless player until 2009, a man who could self destruct with alarming regularity, a competitor who never seemed to have a Plan B when his A game was not in full working order. I thought he was too uncompromising, going for far too many non-percentage shots on big points.

Across the last year, a lot changed for Soderling, and most of it was for the better. He produced the biggest upset of 2009--- and one of the most significant upsets of modern times--- when he struck down Nadal in the fourth round of the French Open. Nadal was way out of sorts that day as he lost for the first time in five appearances at Roland Garros, and his knees must have bothered him considerably. The fact remains that Soderling was excellent on the dirt, and he brought down Nikolay Davydenko and Fernando Gonzalez to reach his first Grand Slam final before losing to Federer.

Soderling acquitted himself exceedingly well for the rest of the year, made it to London for the ATP Tour World Championships when Andy Roddick withdrew from the event, and reached the semifinals before losing to Del Potro in a close contest. No longer is he a hit or miss player. He has learned to attend to the basics of the game and to rally patiently and probingly until he gets the right opening.

Soderling concluded 2009 at No. 8, and deservedly so. In 2010, he will surely confirm that he belongs in that territory, and perhaps make a strong bid to reach the top 5.

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