It’s been over three years since Robin Soderling last played on the ATP. Now 30, still fighting mono, Soderling hopes to one day return to the sport he loved, the one that saw him twice reach the French Open final, and the one that saw him beat Rafael Nadal on those same Roland Garros clay courts in 2009.
With the Stockholm Open this week, Soderling is back in the news by helping the tournament become a success. In an interview with a Swedish newspaper, the former Top 5 player talked about where he is with his life.
“On the whole good,” he said via Google translation, “but I can still be very dull if I have trained too hard and too long. I find it hard to recover… I know that I’m not quite a hundred yet.”
“In the beginning when I was sick, I was completely powerless. I could do nothing, it was really uncomfortable. It felt like I was a hundred years. When I get bad nowadays it’s uncomfortable because I know that feeling. I get scared and think ‘damn, now I have to rest.’”
Robin with US Open doubles champion Simon Aspelin pic.twitter.com/afeDLYDJoy
— Robin Söderling Ball (@RS_Tennis_) October 12, 2014
And what was he scared of? “That I might live as the rest of life, being forced to sleep on the way from the bed to the toilet. To be lying in a hospital bed the rest of life, I was more afraid of than dying.”
The Swede, who admits he still cannot fully train without exhaustion, hopes to return to tennis. “Everyone has to stop at some point but I’d like to do it on their own terms, when I feel I’m ready and I was not when I became ill three years ago.”
He also was candid on how difficult it’s been being away from the tour. “It has been a tough period,” he said through Google Translation. “I have not been depressed but damn pissed off at the situation and I have not been able to do anything about it. Just to accept, it’s a shit time.”
Soderling spends time playing golf and hunting and playing with his 2-year-old daughter, Olivia. He said this week is the first time he’ll watch live tennis since coming down with mono in July 2011.
For more on Soderling, see this NY Times article.
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