Tennis With An Accent: Two Time French Open Finalist Robin Soderling

Tennis with an accentSaqib Ali interviews the two-time Roland Garros finalist, former Stockholm tournament director, and present-day tennis entrepreneur Robin Soderling about a range of topics. It’s a conversation that die-hard tennis fans will greatly enjoy.

Soderling carries special significance in the hearts of modern-day tennis fans, due to his place in history as a player who authored two of the most significant upsets in the sport: his 2009 Roland Garros win over Rafael Nadal and his 2010 Roland Garros victory over Roger Federer. The former made Soderling one of only two men to beat Nadal at the French Open (Novak Djokovic is the other). The latter triumph broke Federer’s streak of 23 straight major-tournament semifinal appearances, one of the iconic records in modern tennis. He gained a deserved reputation as a player who stood up to the Big 3 and played them without fear. This is why many fans greatly enjoyed what he brought to ATP tennis. It is also why his premature retirement due to health reasons in 2015 — he played his last tour match in 2011 — was so devastating for the global tennis community.

Now, a few years removed from his retirement, Soderling goes one-on-one with Saqib to talk about his career and his other experiences in tennis since the end of his playing days. He explains what it is like to be a tournament director based on his direct experience at the Stockholm Open and the balancing act a tournament director must pull off, giving players night sessions, selling tickets, accommodating television, attracting star players, working with sponsors, managing the financial resources at a tournament’s disposal. and a peek behind the curtain and an insider’s view of being a tournament director.

Soderling then talks about his playing days. He explains the big difference between his run to the 2009 Roland Garros final and his repeat performance the next year in 2010 (you might be surprised by his view of those two tournaments in Paris), the challenge of playing Roger Federer and explains the dynamics of their matchup.

Soderling shares what fellow Swede, former ATP pro, and former Roland Garros finalist Magnus Norman brought to the table as Soderling’s coach. Following the end of Soderling’s playing career in 2011 (before his retirement four years later), Norman coached Stan Wawrinka. Soderling offers commentary on that coach-player relationship and goes into his own experiences as a coach of Swedish youngster Elias Ymer, a professional partnership which began in 2017 and ended earlier this year. What did he take from Magnus Norman when coaching Ymer?

Also, Soderling comments on Novak Djokovic, the man expected to be at the forefront of the ATP in 2019. Which younger players are in good position to challenge Djokovic and the Big 3?

Finally, Soderling shares what he is up to these days. He explains how a personal project which began as a mere exploration of curiosities became something much bigger — and a lot more fun.

Robin Soderling, one of the more compelling figures in 21st-century men’s tennis, makes this episode of the Tennis With An Accent Podcast a can’t-miss experience!

Thanks for listening!

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Music provided by Teknoaxe and used under the terms of CC (Creative Commons) 4.0 license.

4 Responses

  1. Jonathan

    Cool podcast. Interesting to hear first hand how the smaller tournaments struggle to make ends meet. Hope you can get him on again next year after the season is done.


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