Biofile: The Robin Soderling Interview
By Scoop Malinowski
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
© Getty Images
One of Robin Soderling's fondest tennis memories dates back to the day he faced Stefan Edberg, Magnus Larsson and Pete Sampras in succession — and watched intently as each man made his mark in Soderling's psyche.
"My first memory from tennis is actually when I was in Sweden and I went to, I think it was Gothenborg and I watched Sweden play the U.S. in Davis Cup. That's maybe my first memory from tennis," Soderling recalls. "And it was very fun and I enjoyed it a lot. Yeah I was there. I didn't even really remember who was playing but I enjoyed it a lot. The big arena, the big crowd, I was running around there collecting autographs. So it was really a nice memory. I think I have Edberg and Larsson (autographs) at home. And I also think I have one from Sampras as well."
A dangerous player indoors because he can serve big and generate substantial pace off his fast, flat ground strokes, Soderling reached successive indoor finals in Rotterdam and Memphis in February beating Marcos Baghdatis, Fernando Verdasco, Andreas Seppi, Gilles Simon, Andy Roddick and Radek Stepanek along the way.
The 49th-ranked Swede owns two career tournament titles — the 2004 Lyon and 2005 Milan — and has scored wins over Nikolay Davydenko, Richard Gasquet and David Ferrer.
Scoop Malinowski caught up with Soderling for this Biofile interview.
: 6-foot-3, 180 pounds.
: August 14, 1984 in Tibro, Sweden.
: "When I was younger I liked to watch a lot of tennis, I watch a lot of matches. But I didn't really have a hero. Of course I liked the Swedes. But I think I liked more the game."
: "I like to watch sports on TV. Especially I like to watch table tennis — my dad used to play. And I like the sport, it's a fun game. Also ice hockey and soccer."
: "No, not that I know [smiles]."
: "My favorites are Gladiator and Scarface [smiles]."
Favorite TV Shows
: "No, I'm traveling a lot. I cannot watch that many TV shows. I liked to watch TV shows when I was younger back home in Sweden."
: "I like a lot of music. Almost everything. Like to listen to music, so almost everything."
Early Tennis Memory
: "My first memory from tennis is actually when I was in Sweden and I went to, I think it was Gothenborg and I watched Sweden play the U.S. in Davis Cup. That's maybe my first memory from tennis. And it was very fun and I enjoyed it a lot. Yeah I was there. I didn't even really remember who was playing but I enjoyed it a lot. The big arena, the big crowd, I was running around there collecting autographs. So it was really a nice memory. (Which autographs did you get?) I think I have Edberg and Larsson at home. And I also think I have one from Sampras as well."
: "I'm often a little bit nervous before the match. Because I think you have to be a little bit nervous to perform your best. But I got used to it. You know, you play a lot of matches. When I was — a couple of years ago — I'd get very angry and sad after I lost the match. But now maybe one hour after match I start focusing on the next tournament. You know, that's what you have to do."
: "I like spaghetti with meatballs."
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
: "BMW (silver)."
Greatest Sports Moment
: "For me...first ATP title in Lyon (defeated Xavier Malisse in 2004). And when I won the Swedish championships for juniors when I was 11. That was a great feeling. I think I won the final 4 and 4. And I was very happy after that match. It was the first time I played the Swedish championships and I won it so I was very happy."
Most Painful Moment
: "It's actually when I lost 7-6 against Fish in the final in the Stockholm Open (2003)."
Closest ATP Friends
: "It's the Swedish players. I'm a good friend with all the Swedes. We all like to hang out together and they're all nice guys."
Funniest Players Encountered
: "Funniest...ooooh, that's a tough one. Safin, he's funny. He's always relaxed, I think he has a laid back attitude and he's not taking too seriously. He's very funny guy."
: "Everyone. I played Srichaphan two times and he killed me both times. Before he became injured he was a really good player."
Funny Tennis Memory
: "Don't remember. I'm not sure."
People Qualities Most Admired
: "People that are nice. Especially in tennis, as I said about Safin. He's not taking it too seriously. But he of course, people likes to win and practice hard but then they're not taking it too seriously. It's not life and death."