Swede Robin Soderling has gone missing, he disappeared from World Tennis just prior to his wife giving birth to their first child in 2012. The reasons for Soderling's absence from the tour have varied from a wrist injury to mononucleosis. Now the latter is actually known as 'the kissing disease' and can give sufferer's among other things an enlarged spleen , sounds uncomfortable. So they are the reasons given for the former World number 4 player's absence.
Soderling won over ten million dollars in a career spanning just over ten years so I doubt whether he would have to go and get a 'real job' in the near future. It seems that the Swede is rather content in semi retirement with no plans at this stage to return to a game that he seemed to be getting better at, his last tournament suggested just that.
The Swedish Open in July of 2011 saw a display from Soderling that will possibly be marked in history as one of the all time dominant performances in Men's Professional Tennis. The hometown hero dropped just 13 games for the entire tournament including a 6-0, 6-1 demolition of then World number 9 Thomas Berdych in the semi's then a 6-2, 6-2 whitewash of then World number 6 David Ferrer in the final. Yet he has not played since.
It's almost like one of those fairy tale sporting story's where the local champion comes home to finish his career, something like that anyhow. Soderling is now aged 30 and nearing the time when most tennis players are looking at life outside of the game so if he is going to make a come back you would think it would have to be soon. Word has it though that the tall Swede has developed and marketed a tennis ball complete with his own brand on it, perhaps he will add to that ten mil after all.
In 2007 at Wimbledon in the third round Soderling sparked controversy when he made fun of Rafa as he tugged at his own shorts 'Rafa style' as he narrowly went down 5-7 in the fifth set. Now I am all for tennis players behaving themselves however that effort from Soderling has to be considered rather humorous to say the least. Did I mention unique and original also ??
Apparently Rafa was not happy with the impersonation but all players are different and some simply don't appreciate his ritualistic ways before delivering his serve , the Swede was simply giving his version of it all. Freedom of speech ?
Soderling had the last laugh and this probably hurt Rafa more than an impersonation, his only loss in the French Open in the last ten years. The four set round of 16 win by Soderling in 2009 will no doubt be classed as one of the all time great upsets in Men's Tennis. To put that win into perspective, just a month earlier in Rome Rafa belted Robin 6-1, 6-0 , work that one out.
Soderling lost in the final that year in Paris to Federer which gave the great man from Switzerland his career Grand Slam. He then lost in the following year's final to the 'original shorts tugger' Rafa, so I suppose Rafa had the last laugh after all.
Robin Soderling was a different type of character on court, arrogant in many ways and seemed to be not overly friendly toward fellow pro's. I do recall a match against Djokovic , from memory in Rome again where the handshake was possibly one of the quickest and coldest you will ever witness.
The big man from Sweden had a unique style, he basically thumped the cover off the ball, he had one pace, flat out, tough to play against when he was on song. He definitely did not fit into the regular mould of past Swedish Champions with their heavy looping topspin shots.
If you get a chance look him up on You Tube , he is the sort of player most Tennis Coaches will not want a student to watch too often for a style check. Playing that sort of way requires amazing timing and fitness, give me the slower loop any day.
Personally I think we have seen the last of Robin Soderling, Rafa I am sure won't be too upset about it........