The Only Man To Beat Rafael Nadal At The French Open Is…Deer Hunting?
by Tom Gainey | January 6th, 2014, 10:23 am

As we start another tennis season, one man still missing from the circuit is Robin Soderling. The Swede who is still the only player to beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open, remains sidelined battling mono.

The 29-year-old hasn’t played since his Bastad title in 2011, but he seems to be keeping busy away from the tennis courts. Over the weekend he tweeted out a photo hinting that he had been deer hunting.

Soderling also sent out a picture of his 1-year-old daughter, Olivia.

The Swede was rumored to be on the comeback trail last October however it was unfortunately just a rumor and there’s been little update since.

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41 Comments for The Only Man To Beat Rafael Nadal At The French Open Is…Deer Hunting?

Okiegal Says:

I wouldn’t have thought I could have anything in common with Soderling…….but I deer hunt too!!

Doesn’t sound like tennis is a priority anymore. That’s interesting to me, because he was quite the talent. The mono thing has gone on for a long time.

Slice Tennis Says:

Poor Soderling suffered real mono.

SG1 Says:

His kids are adorable!

madmax Says:

That being said, it is good to have players with class like Fed who make no excuses and don’t even mention their illness till months later, unlike many injury timeout loving attention grabbing drama queens.

So much hatred for fed slicetennis. Why do you think Soderling’s mono is worse than Fed’s? and why do you believe Soderling’s press statement and not fed’s doctor’s statement? Do you not think that Soderling has just decided on a different life, loving being the family man. It happens you know.

Many on tour have had mono, cilic, ancic, roddick, soderling, fed,lubjicic. Why should any of them want to lie about something so potentially damaging? career ending even – seriously? Mono comes in degrees.

you need to do some more reading ST.

The articles are all out there, you just have to spend the time and the effort gathering the facts if you want to know the truth. These are a few years old now, nevertheless they are relevant.

Christina McHale, energy sapped and unable to train properly, knew something was wrong last year. Exercises she once did easily were becoming harder and getting through matches was proving difficult, too.

It was a surprise, since the young American prospect was considered a player with good stamina and has already earned a reputation for wearing down her opponents, not vice versa.

After a first-round victory at the French Open, McHale felt particularly exhausted.

“I won 6-4 in the third set, but I remember saying to my coach that I feel like I’ve just been hit by a bus,” the 21-year-old recalled.

The diagnosis was mononucleosis, a viral illness that can linger for weeks, months or even years. It has earned the nickname of the “kissing disease” because it can get passed from one person to another through saliva. Fortunately for McHale, her bout was coming to an end.

McHale, though, isn’t the only tennis player in recent years to be afflicted with mono or the name it’s also known by, glandular fever.

Others on the list

Top men’s players Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Robin Soderling, Mario Ancic and John Isner have been struck down, while Heather Watson, like McHale a player with promise, revealed she had mono in April.

Jarmila Gajdosova, another promising player on the women’s tour, announced last week on Twitter that she had mono.

Soderling and Ancic weren’t as lucky as the likes of Federer, McHale and Watson, Indeed the severity of cases varies, as does an individual’s capacity to fight off and cope with infections.

Federer said he was unable to practice for about 10 days in February and received medical clearance to begin training normally five days before the tournament in Dubai began on Monday.

“They weren’t sure I was over it, but now I’m creating antibodies and this really shows you are over it,” he said. “But I lost a lot of fitness. I was feeling so great in December up until the moment I got sick, so this has been my problem the last couple weeks: really getting back on track. I haven’t practiced and couldn’t really work out the way I wanted to, because you have to be very careful with mono.”

Federer said he came down with a fever in December before traveling to Australia but sought no medical treatment. After his health problems in Australia, he took a long-planned two-week break from the game.

“I had felt great the day before and then awful the next day,” he said. “And this is really when I said, ‘Okay, something is wrong. I have to totally check things out here.’ ”

There is plenty of evidence out there ST, but I know that it is wasted on you.

Okiegal Says:

I have never had mono but have friends that have. They had to withdraw from college a full year to get over it. The doctors said that complete bed rest was what was needed to get over it. I believe Fed had a severe case and apparently so did Soderling. I also believe Rafa has bad knees.

Eric Says:

I think it’s pretty obvious that Soderling hasn’t been “out with mono” for at least a year — he’s retired, and hasn’t bothered to announce it… glad to see he’s willing to move on with his life!

madmax Says:

Okiegal Says:
I have never had mono but have friends that have. They had to withdraw from college a full year to get over it. The doctors said that complete bed rest was what was needed to get over it. I believe Fed had a severe case and apparently so did Soderling.

*******I also believe Rafa has bad knees******.

Surely you believe Rafa, Oki?

Okiegal Says:


Yes, I do believe Rafa and I also believe Federer and Soderling……your point????

Steve 27 Says:

I think Soderling is making the Swedish.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

The two little girls are adorable,that said if Robin has finished with tennis then fair enough,maybe he could find a better way of ocupying his spare time,as any blood sports are cruel and barbaric deer hunting and fox hunting especially,i grew up in the countryside where it was rife,Robin im sorry i expected better of you.

Anna Says:

Well look. If you kill it and eat it, then it’s food, you just don’t have to go to the grocery store to buy it. If you’ve ever been to a slaughter house then you know that waiting your turn in line to be strung up and then killed can’t be a whole lot of fun either. A quick kill is much more humane. I do agree that killing just for sport is discusting. If your a vegetarian Hippy Chic, I applaude you. I brake for everything that jumps into the road and hate that there’s so much road kill every where (I live in the country), but my favorite protein is meat.

Okiegal Says:


I hope you will still see fit to chat with me even though we don’t see eye to eye on the sport of hunting. Hope you don’t think we do it for the blood thrill of it. We love deer meat, very low in fat content. It is in my daily menu instead of beef. And you are certainly not by yourself on this issue and I do respect your opinion on the killing of animals for food. Please don’t hold it against me…..for we agree on so many other issues.

Ready for the Aussie open……how about you?? Was so happy Rafa won Doha… on to Australia!! Have a good day!! Okiegal

madmax Says:

Anna, try soya and tofu – plenty of protein in this food, no need to kill. Just think of the fawns without a mother. :(

Oki, couldn’t work out whether you were being ironic. Now I know. :)

Miki Says:

madmax,I really cannot believe that fed had a severe case of mono, no matter how I tried. I had a mild case, it was over real qucik, but I was feeling terrible while it lasted and I had to be in bed for the whole time. And I know some people that were stuck in bed for 6 months! I remember after AO2008, reading about Fed having mono and I wasn’t buying it as a reason for not winning the tournament. Watch the match with Novak in SF and tell, does he look tired or exhausted? And to remind you, it’s pro tennis, pro sport, the stress on the body is HUGE, if he had a serious case of mono, he would be done and dusted in the third round at best. And he played 6 best of five matches. Not to mention that ANY physical effort while suffering from mono can cause serious damage to your liver, and overall health. Knowing how Fed deals with his decisions and his careful planning, he would definately withdraw from the tournament if it was serious as people think it was. I am not saying he is lying, he probably had a minor case of mono, like myself. But I wouldn’t compare him with Soderling and Ancic, as I remember, mono was the main reason for Ancic’s career ending prematurely.

Michael Says:

It is a pity that Mono issues have totally devastated the career of Soderling. It is pretty doubtful whether he will make a come back to the sport and it seems he is enjoying life other than Tennis. Two of his significant victories have historical significance and eternally engraved in the annals of Tennis history. One is beating Rafa at Rolland Garros and other breaking Roger’s semi final streak at the same venue. His last win was at Bastaad and there Berdych praised Soderling sky high and said that he played the best Tennis match. Ironically, that turned out to be his last outing.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal no offence taken,we just have a dfference of opinion and thats fine,i do enjoy meat and poultry,but ive never liked any kind of ofal or game meat,and im always concerened about the way in which it was reared i like meat thats organic,its the thought of people standing in a field with a shotgun and shooting animals for pleasure a complete turn off,especially as i grew up in the countryside where blood sports were all the rage,till of course fox hunting was banned,anyway enough of that cannot wait for the open to start,and it was fantastic to see Rafa start the year winning a trophy as he never has before,he didnt start off too well but seems to have played himself into form,i will still love our chats as we both love tennis and Rafa too,i just hope Andy will be alright too no matter what happens just hope hes fit,i have been known in the past to go the oposite way to some posters and blog less when one of my favorites wins a GS as i did last year when Andy won wimbledon,and when Rafa won the USO,reason been i dont like to come across as been too rabid though,i usually let the dust settle before making a return,have a nice day :))..

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Anna im not a vegetarian,but i do care about my meat and how it was reared,i much prefer organic,anyway read the above post to Okiegal i think ive made my point there.

Perfect fan Says:

What if sod comes back at RG 2014 and take out rafa again…….

The debate on GOAT will end forever…..LOL!

jamie Says:

2014 predictions

AO Djokovic
FO Nadal
Wimbledon Djokovic
USO Del Potro

jamie Says:

Murray and Federer will have a lousy 2014.

Okiegal Says:


Thanks for responding. I have been rather worried about my stand on hunting……didn’t intend to offend anyone. I’m glad you can overlook my shortcomings…..and we can still talk tennis! Hunting is a big sport in Oklahoma and I didn’t stop to think about other people’s feelings in other parts of the world on the killing of animals for food or warmth.

The first slam is about here and I’m anxious to see the draw. Hope our guy is in top form……please Rafa, no shaky starts!!

Have a good evening, Chic…..and I’m truly sorry.

Margot Says:

jamie@9.45 am
you have said that b4…many times. The only things certain in life are death and taxes.

IMHO it’s OK to kill animals for food or warmth, providing it’s done humanely.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal no need to be sorry you havent said anything wrong.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Jamie agree with Margot your like a broken record,we all get it Novaks your favorite that much is obvious,as you predict him for big things at the start of every tennis season,and dont say its Murray as nobody believes a word of it.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal/Margot i love meat and i have nothing against killing it for food after all we all have to eat,and i always care about how it was reared and where it came from,thats why i go organic,no hard feelings :))..

courbon Says:

@ Margot: The only thing certain in life are death, taxes and Rafa winning RG….

Okiegal Says:


Appreciate that!


Your point???

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon hi happy new year by the way,and apparantly Novak winning the AO too :))..

courbon Says:

@ Hippy Chic: Happy New Year to you also.I just loged in after New Years night ( it lasted 3 days…I’m zombie) and I see that Novak is winning AO! Great, I don’t have to watch it now AO and I’ll re-mortgage the house and put all my savings on those predictions…
By the way, congrats on Rafa’s win, great start of the year for him-in my eyes, he is co-favourite with Novak for AO.Delpo third, Murray 4th and then the rest..It all depends of the draw as it always is.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon all right for some,as some of us had to work lol,but glad you enjoyed yourslf,anyway im looking forward to the open but my watching it might be sporadic because of work and the matches been on through the night where i am,unless i have a day off the next day,as for Rafa well he seems to have played himself into form regardless of a tricky start,and to start the year with a trophy will give him confidence,and hes playing IMO better than he did in 2009 when he won the title,although i still think Novaks the guy to beat,Andy is the one im worried about i just hope hes fit enough,and Lendel gets him in the right frame of mind.

courbon Says:

@ Hippy Chic: Don’t make me feel guilty!I work like a donkey just it’s good sometimes to let the steam off..Well, its quite reasonable not to expect Andy being 100% for AO.As long as he starts playing well in the next 3-4 months that’s OK.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Courbon i know you do just joking,your a builder right?and they always work hard,anyway about Andy i have no high expectations for the AO,i just hope he it doesnt have too much of an effect on the rest of the season ahead,ill be taking his matches as Rafa would say one match at a time,and just hoping for the best.

Colin Says:

Hippy Chic, what do you mean, “fox hunting was banned”?
Theoretically it was, but as far as I know it’s still going on, and the government is far too timid to enforce the legislation. They’re worried about losing the votes of all those Daily Telegraph readers.

Oscar Wilde described fox-hunting as “the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable”. A bunch of people in fancy clothes, on horseback, accompanied by a whole pack of hounds, in pursuit
of one rather small animal. Pathetic, really.

Enthusiasts make much of the fact fox-hunting is a “tradition”. So were bull-baiting and cock fighting,so should they be revived?

Hunting, others say, is a natural instinct. True. But then it’s also perfectly “natural” to club one’s neighbour on the head and drag off his wife to one’s cave, but we like to think we’ve grown out of that stage.

By the way, Okiegal, how many deer would you say you shoot in the course of a season?

Humble Rafa Says:

Who is this guy? Soda-man?

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Colin sorry i thought it was,it always attracted the rich middle class people especially on boxing day where i came from in Yorkshire,and then out of nowhere it stopped and i assumed as it was said on the news it had been banned?anyway its outdated as a sport not to mention cruel,as is cock fighting,badger baiting,bull baiting,bull fighting,but i dont think you will ever stop this trend.

Anna Says:

You have to love that Oscar Wilde. Here in the US there is a breed of dog (Pit Bull) that is bred and trained for fighting. It’s cruel and inhumane beyond belief to watch the way these owners bait their dogs into killing. Not long ago a NFL quarterback was prosecuted and spent a few years in prison for his roll in this so called “sport”. While it’s illegal, and certain animal rights groups try to be on top of it, it still goes on.

Max – Will never trade meat for soy and/or tofu. I do buy organic when I can find it though.

Okiegal Says:


In Oklahoma we have three different deer seasons….bow, muzzle and rifle. Hubby hunts muzzle and rifle, I just hunt rifle. It’s possible we could bag four deer in a season. The year I killed my first one we had three…..the most we’ve ever had in a season. We love deer meat and I can prepare it in so many different ways. I hate that I have opened a can of worms on the hunting of animals I do apologize. I’m not a deer poaching Oklahoma redneck out there in the woods stalking the biggest deer rack, cutting its head off for mounting purposes and throwing the rest away……want to make that clear. Our hunting is done strictly for the table.

Just one deer was killed this season……..and we haven’t clubbed any neighbors either!! Lol

RZ Says:

Shame that Soderling didn’t recover. He could really hang with the Big 4.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal i think it was me not you that opened up the worm can on deer hunting,so im the one who should apologize :((..

Margot Says:

No, not u m’dear,but posting a photo of a hunting rifle “opened up the can of worms.”
TBH do not much want/expect to see pics of guns when I log onto tennis sites.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Thanks Margot completely agree.

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