The story of Robin soderling It cannot be written without remembering what happened on May 31, 2009 in Paris. Rafael Nadalowner and lord of the clay of Roland Garros, fell surprisingly against the Swede in the round of 16. Even today, in the middle of 2020, only one more man has been able to repeat such a feat and that is none other than Novak Djokovic. Thereafter, Soderling began to make a name for himself on the circuit and to step into the Grand Slam finals. His flat shots (very flat) and his power from the bottom of the track scared anyone but in 2011, an illness stopped him short, mononucleosis.

He was only 27 years old, but nobody could imagine that there would be the end of the Swedish career. He was at the peak of his career and we can never know what would have happened to Robin if mononucleosis had allowed him to compete. Speaking for Behind the racquet, Soderling tells how he lived through that process and how hard it was for him to go from touching the sky with his fingers after winning Rafa in Paris, to not even being able to get out of bed and wondering what would become of his future. A heartbreaking story.

“Retirement was an extremely difficult decision. I played my last game when I was only 27 years old. I still had many years of tennis left and was at the best moment of my career when I had mononucleosis. I was diagnosed as being stressed, tired and exhausted. Despite this, I kept playing but became ill at all times because my immune system was weak. Inside my mind, I knew something was wrong. Although I played well, I had many ups and downs, until I contracted the jumpsuit. I feel that the combination of the Workouts with my poor immune system affected me. The jumpsuit was the last thing my body could bear.

Doctors say I first got it at Indian Wells 2011. It wasn’t bad at first, but it got worse after my last tournament in Bastad. I couldn’t get out of the house in six months. Only after a year did I start to feel better. I was able to train a little but with increasing intensity the symptoms returned. I was tired and feverish. I tried to come back in three different years, but I couldn’t make it. It was very frustrating. I paid a toll on my mind and accepted that maybe I could never go back to tennis again.

When I finally accepted the decision to stop, it was difficult, but it was also a relief. I no longer had to fight to go back and live in this uncertainty. It was then that I was able to think about how I was going to live my life again. At first it was weird, because I no longer had to think about tennis. I didn’t mind going back anymore. When you are very sick, you realize that your health is the most important thing. It’s funny, because during my career, tennis was the only thing that mattered to me. At the time, I just wanted to get well.

Later, I started to watch tennis on TV and saw the players I was playing against then. I started to want to be on the track again, competing. Mentally it was furo. It took me five years to get back to training the way I wanted to. After so long, it already felt like too much time had passed to come back and he didn’t have the energy to do it either.

There are times when I blame myself, when I wish I could take a step back and not take things so seriously. I lived in that bubble where everything was tennis. Now, I see it only as a sport. My problem was that I didn’t have that on / off button. I couldn’t change my mindset between games, practice sessions, and time off the track. There are no times out of season in tennis. It is a sport that does not allow you to disconnect and even on vacation you have to take care of your body.

If I look back now, I wish I had thought of more than just tennis. I wish I had studied something when I was 20 or 21, when I started thinking about what I would do after leaving tennis. Tennis careers are not long and the end comes faster than you think. Having something to think about outside of tennis allows you to take some pressure off. I thought I should just think about tennis, breathe tennis all the time. I think this is not the correct formula.

People always remember when I beat Nadal at Roland Garros 2009. It was a great feeling. I don’t think anyone in the world expected me to win that match. It was strange, because right after the handshake, I realized it wasn’t the final. I thought to myself, ‘Don’t be very happy, don’t relax.’ He didn’t want to be that guy who beat Rafa but then lost in the final. I wanted to be focused because if you relax, you easily lose a match.

At the time, I didn’t realize what I had accomplished. When I got to the locker room, I had about 350 messages and that’s when I started to realize that this was great. I appreciate the support I had that day and that I still have to win that game but the real story is Nadal. We will never see anyone win 12 Roland Garros again. “

(function(d, s, id){ var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = ""; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); .