06-05-2009, 06:49 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
(there is also a video on Roland Garros site)
Interview with Robin Soderling
Friday, June 5, 2009
6‑3, 7‑5, 5‑7, 4‑6, 6‑4
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. In the last point, you fell down on the ground. What's your first feeling?
ROBIN SODERLING: Of course, my first feeling was actually relief that the match was over, because it was a really long match, and I was tired at the end.
And then after a few seconds, I got really, really happy.
Q. After a great first set, in the second set, even although you won the second set, you started doing more unforced errors and he started serving better as the match went on. This kept till 4‑1 in the fifth. What happened there? It was like a champion's instinct that was born in you?
ROBIN SODERLING: I don't know. But as you said, you know, he served ‑‑ I haven't seen the statistics, but, you know, he must have had maybe 80% first serve. He barely even missed the first serve. It was really tough for me.
I felt like I played well, but I couldn't even put any returns back because he made ‑‑ I don't know how many aces he made. It was tough, you know. It was tough to get a rhythm.
Then, you know, I held serve pretty easy,and then all of a sudden, you know, I made not a good game and he broke me two times when ‑‑ in the last game in the third and fourth sets.
Q. During each changeover you put a towel over your head. Can we know why? Is it for your concentration?
ROBIN SODERLING: Yes, I'm trying to concentrate.
Q. At 4‑1 in the fifth, double fault, 15‑30. Didn't look good.
ROBIN SODERLING: No, it didn't look good, you know. I felt ‑‑ I was tired. I have to admit I was tired. But, you know, I felt like, okay, this is not how it's going to end. You know, I have to try everything I can.
You know, I felt like I can only do my best, but I don't want to go off this court and feel like I didn't do my best in the fifth set. So,you know, I just tried harder, and all of a sudden it all worked again.
Q. Did you believe you were fading at that point? At that point did you believe you were fading, and then suddenly your strokes returned?
ROBIN SODERLING: Yeah, you know, as I said, I was a bit tired,and he had been serving so well. He didn't give me any rhythm at all.
But, you know, I tried to take his ‑‑ take the returns a little bit early. In the first couple of sets I moved back a little bit, but he had so good angles on his first serves. So I tried to take it a little bit early, and all of a sudden I was there.
I put the returns back and I got the ball in play. I'll actually started to move a little bit better I think from 4‑1 again.
Q. So you're in the final. Can you describe what it's like? You've had three tremendous victories in a row.
ROBIN SODERLING: Yeah, it's a great feeling, you know, finals of a Grand Slam. The biggest tournament in the world, and on clay, you know. If you'd ask me a couple years ago which Grand Slam I'd play final in 2009, I wouldn't have said Roland Garros.
I started to play better and better on clay last couple of years, I think. Last year was a really good year, even though I didn't win that many matches. I think I played a lot of good matches on clay.
Q. Since you beat Nadal, how hard has it been for you to stay in your bubble and stay concentrated? How have you managed to do that, because it's always a hard thing?
ROBIN SODERLING: Yeah, it's been hard, but not as hard as I thought it would be. You know, I felt I won a great match against Nadal. I told you guys before, this is ‑‑ I had maybe the biggest challenge in tennis right now to beat Nadal here on clay in Paris.
I felt like I wasn't finished with the tournament. I was still in the tournament, so even though I played a great match, I wanted more. I still feel that way.
Q. When González was discussing about some points, it was a problem for you? And also, I'd like to know about the crowd. Seems the crowd is more supporting him than you.
ROBIN SODERLING: I didn't even notice the crowd. I was concentrated today.
No, it wasn't really a problem for me. You know, in this match there was a lot of close calls, I think. The wind took the clay away a little bit, so it was difficult to really see any marks.
So, I mean, I agree with him, you know. I would have complained, as well. Because it was a lot of close calls from both sides, I think.
Q. What do you feel is the biggest difference in you that has made this possible? And secondly, how important has Magnus been to getting you there?
ROBIN SODERLING: My consistency, I think. I always knew before that when I play well,when I play my best tennis, I can beat anybody.
Now I feel like I've played very, very good tennis for many, many matches in a row, which is great.
He meant a lot to me, you know. It's great to have a coach that used to play. He's been in the position I'm in right now. It's always good for me to ask when I feel something, when I feel nervous. When I feel in one way, it's always good for me to ask him, Did you feel the same when you played? He can think what he felt and give me some advice.
Q. You surprised a lot of people here these past two weeks, but you've done this all your life. This is what you've built up for. How much did you surprise yourself?
ROBIN SODERLING: Yeah, I surprised myself a little bit, I have to say. You know, I've been beating those players a lot of times before, but not in a Grand Slam.
They're all good players. But as I said, I beat them before. I felt like, you know, I did it in different tournaments. Why can't I do it in a Grand Slam? Finally I did.
Q. Tomorrow is Swedish National Day. The Swedish legend, Bjørn Borg was watching you. What does this mean for this point of view to have won this match today?
ROBIN SODERLING: It's just nice that he even comes down here. I don't know if he comes down just for me, but still, you know, it's a nice feeling. He's a legend, for sure. He's one of the best tennis players of all time, so it's really been nice.
Q. And for Sweden?
ROBIN SODERLING: And for Sweden? Yeah, I hope this means a lot for the tennis in Sweden. I mean, we really need some upside in the tennis in Sweden,and hopefully this will make a lot of young kids start playing tennis.
Hopefully in, I don't know, 10 or 15 years' time, or even less, we have a lot of good players on the tour again.
Q. González just said here that if you talk about the way of playing, it would be better for you to face Del Potro in the final, that you have more chances to win.
ROBIN SODERLING: He said that?
ROBIN SODERLING: Yeah, I lost a lot of times to Federer, so he's a great player. It's very difficult to play against him. You know, I feel the same with Del Potro. I mean, you're not playing a semifinal in a Grand Slam and you're not No. 5 in the world for nothing.
He's ‑‑ they're both great players. You know, I'm expecting the toughest match I can possibly have on Sunday.
Q. Did you meet Borg before or after the match? And did he tell you anything? Also, I think, Borg, after he retired,started an underwear business. I think it's a top brand in Sweden. Do you wear any of his underwear?
ROBIN SODERLING: Yes, I have a few pairs at home (laughter.)
Q. Do you think you will take the opportunity to speak to Bjørn Borg before the final on Sunday, as he's been here and won the title six times before?
ROBIN SODERLING: Yes, hopefully. We haven't talked about it, but that would be nice. You know, maybe he can give me few advices on how to win here.
Q. Do you think you'll be ready yourself? Obviously this is a big step up, isn't it, to suddenly be competing inthe final with a Grand Slam title at stake?
ROBIN SODERLING: Of course, the final ‑‑ for me, it's the match you really, really want to win. I feel like I've played some big matches on the center court this week, so I feel like I'm very prepared.
Q. You're having a great tournament. You come out on fire. You know,finally people get there after a late lunch. Then it started to get away from you; you're looking at a fifth set. Do you think, Borg is watching me;I'm going down the tubes? Is it hard to keep your concentration? What were you thinking about?
ROBIN SODERLING: Yeah, it's hard I think for everybody to stay focused in a full five‑set match. We played for a lot of hours, and I didn't really feel that I lost too much of concentration.
I mean, I just felt that he was playing really well. Hedidn't give me any opportunities to play well.
But, you know, I'm really happy that I turned things around at the end.
Q. You said Magnus was where you are now. Did you watch that final when he played against Guga?
ROBIN SODERLING: Yes.
Q. Do you plan on saving 10 match points as well yourself?
ROBIN SODERLING: Yeah, I remember I saw the match, and that was ‑‑ again, it was great for Sweden. I remember it really helped my career. It gave me a lot of inspiration. I really hope I can do the same to the kids in Sweden now.
Q. Many people say that you are very, very shy.
ROBIN SODERLING: Shy?
Q. Yes. I don't know if that's true or not. I'd like you to confirm it or not. Also, if you're less shy now that you're winning more. Again, if in the locker rooms, when you meet some of the other players, some say that you didn't say hello all the time. Are you now saying hello to everybody?
ROBIN SODERLING: I'm not sure if I'm that shy. For sure I'm not going to change, you know. I feel like I'm still the same person. This is just tennis for me. Yeah, maybe they're right. Maybe I don't say hi all the time, but I'm always ‑‑ I'm always a little bit tense before matches, you know, always a little bit nervous.
I don't like to speak too much before my matches. That's just the way, you know, I am. There's nothing ‑‑ has nothing to do with the other players.
Q. Today you fell to your knees. Was it bigger today than beating Nadal the other day?
ROBIN SODERLING: It's two different matches. You know, as I said, I did what's supposed to be, you know, impossible, beating Nadal on clay. So it was great, but today it was a semifinal.
They're both ‑‑they're going to be matches that I will remember for the rest of my life, but in different ways.
Q. You've never beaten Roger. Have you seen something in his game, in your matches with him, however where you think can you get to him, especially at the level you're at now? In short, if it is Roger on Sunday, do you feel confident you can beat him?
ROBIN SODERLING: Um, yeah, I think I have to. As I said before the match against Nadal, I mean, if I don't believe I can win, there's no point on going on the court.
So, yeah, I think I have a chance. I lost a lot of times,but it's been close matches. You know, I think I was ‑‑ I'm not sure if I had match point or two match points from beating him in Halle a couple years ago.
Of course, if I play Roger he's going to be the favorite by far. But I think Nadal was favorite against me, as well, so...
Q. Where did you play your first match in this tournament? Was anybody watching at all?
ROBIN SODERLING: I played on court, I don't know, 6? 7? Maybe 6? There were a few. My coach, my girlfriend. But doesn't really matter for me. I never had any problems playing on big courts, playing on the center court. The courts are still the same. Same measurements.
Again, it's just tennis. I mean, I never really cared how many were watching.
Q. Do you remember a few years ago you lost to Nadal and he broke Guillermo Vilas' clay court record string. You were the guy he beat. I remember you weren't very happy about it, even though everybody thought he was making great tidings over this record. I interviewed you, and you were curt, not very cordial.
ROBIN SODERLING: Yeah, I don't like to lose. That's how ‑‑ I mean, I never really thought about record or anything, you know. All I wanted since I started playing tennis is to win matches. You know, that's what I focus about.
So, I mean, it was nice to finally beat a man that was breaking his record.
Q. The other day you said you wanted to go and read again your contract endorsement with Lotto to check they were paying you double in case you go to the final. Did you check it?
ROBIN SODERLING: I didn't check it.
Q. You don't need money anymore?
ROBIN SODERLING: Well, you know, it's been nice. But again, all I'm thinking about is winning matches. I mean, I would really want to win this tournament as much if there were no prize money. I love winning matches.
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