Final week I printed a publish on Roger Federer’s era and what they have been to date. One participant simply outdoors that gen of gamers is 2 time French Open Finalist, Robin Soderling, who sadly needed to retire in 2015 resulting from mononucleosis.

The Swede final performed in 2011 and you do not hear an excessive amount of about him however this week he appeared on the Tennis with an Accent Podcast the place he talked about his profession, life as a event director, the teaching of Elias Ymer and his new life as a businessman working his personal firm RS Tennis.

I assumed it was an attention-grabbing pay attention particularly the place he mentioned how tournaments are run and the struggles smaller tournaments face.

He wasn’t forthcoming with numbers in fact nevertheless it was straightforward to infer that the 250’s wrestle like mad and even getting a giant title would not assure profitability.

It was additionally attention-grabbing to search out out that gamers do request what pace of surfaces they want at smaller occasions. Not one thing I might heard earlier than and I am unsure I like the thought of it. Has participant energy has gone mad and is the sport too depending on the large names?

A number of the smaller tournaments are wholly reliant on large title guys to promote tickets, so that they bend over backwards for them. Is {that a} good factor? Let me know your ideas within the feedback on that one.

Soderling additionally mentioned two of his most memorable profession wins, beating Nadal and Federer in again to again French Opens and supplied some perception onto the matchups:

It’s tough to check matches. Such as you mentioned I at all times had extra troubles enjoying Roger. I wouldn’t say Roger is a greater participant than Rafa however they’ve totally different recreation kinds and I might say Roger’s recreation model, or truly, I might say Rafa’s recreation model suited me higher than Roger’s.

I performed many occasions towards Rafa, I received some, I misplaced some. However many occasions getting off the courtroom even when I misplaced the match, I might really feel I nonetheless performed fairly nicely. However towards Roger there weren’t many matches that I felt I performed nicely. I realised that’s as a result of his recreation model didn’t go well with my recreation model in any respect.

You may hearken to the podcast under:

I’ve additionally had all the interview transcribed for individuals who favor studying.

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

Soderling Nadal

Saqib: Good day everybody, welcome to Tennis with an Accent, that is Saqib. In the present day now we have a particular visitor, completely out of our league, two time French Open finalist from Sweden, Robin Soderling. He has taken day trip of his busy schedule to affix us. Good day Robin, it’s an honour to have you ever right here.

Soderling: Thanks, it’s an honour for me to be a part of your podcast.

Saqib: Haha you’re too variety. I’m nonetheless projecting myself as a fan though I’ve this small podcast that’s rising in reputation. I’m very enthusiastic about this dialog since I spoke along with your agent and now lastly the day is right here.

Let me begin by simply asking some questions I do know you will have been requested earlier than, I’ll attempt to preserve it unique. However you come from Sweden, positively a variety of tennis historical past there.

After I grew up I watching Tennis it was Edberg, Wilander, Jarryd, Nystrom, then adopted the following class with Bjorkman and your self. You have been top-of-the-line Swedish gamers very not too long ago. Who have been your inspirations and the way did you get into tennis?

Soderling: Yeah I imply mainly precisely what you mentioned. After I grew up tennis was such a giant sport on this nation, virtually all people performed tennis.

I believe that’s as a result of we had so many good gamers previously and throughout the mid-1980s to the start of the ’90s there have been so many tennis courts in Sweden popping up all over the place. After all, principally indoor courts however all communities and cities began to construct extra tennis courts and that’s what number of youngsters began.

My Dad performed a little bit bit, he used to play a variety of desk tennis when he was youthful however after I was born he switched to tennis and performed with associates a number of occasions per week. That’s how I began, I adopted him to the courts at four or 5 years previous and straightaway I actually appreciated it.

As a child I did many several types of sports activities, I performed ice hockey, soccer, handball however I appreciated tennis far more than the opposite sports activities. I believe it’s as a result of tennis was the one particular person sport I did and particular person sports activities go well with my persona higher than the opposite sports activities.

Saqib: As you mentioned, a variety of indoor courts rising up and also you had a reasonably good recreation indoors; making it to the World Tour Finals Semi-Finals. So this dialog is fairly wealthy from my perspective I’ve a variety of questions and no actual agenda. So let’s discuss indoor tennis…

Do you’re feeling that that the tennis calendar, of which you have been part of not so way back, and extra particularly the indoor season, is turning into a grind by the point by the point gamers arrive for the indoor swing from Asia?

You don’t see a variety of aggressive matches, the World Tour Finals concluded two weeks in the past and there have been a variety of one-sided matches. Whereas again within the day with Becker, Sampras, Ivanesavic, Krajicek the indoor season appeared to have some which means; the race for London, Germany or Sydney.

It was intense, however now the highest gamers have certified, what I’m attempting to say is; the sphere may be very lopsided. Federer and Djokovic are available in wanting contemporary however the remainder of subject appears fairly fatigued. Cilic, for instance, hasn’t obtained an awesome file. So what is occurring there? Is there an issue with fatigue on the finish of the season?

Soderling: Sure in fact. After I was enjoying I assumed the season is method too lengthy, there’s mainly no offseason in any respect.

You discuss Cilic for instance, he performed the World Tour Finals, then he needed to play the Davis Cup which implies he can take 1-week relaxation most then he wants to start out coaching once more. That’s the rationale we see so many accidents in tennis as we speak particularly with the highest guys who win a variety of matches.

It’s tough however I believe tennis must make a change, when you take a look at different sports activities like soccer, soccer, ice hockey no matter they’ve a for much longer offseason the place they will relaxation and get better then put together and prepare for the upcoming season. In tennis, we don’t actually have that and I believe that’s powerful.

I believe not solely the gamers would profit from an extended low season but in addition the spectators will get to see the highest gamers extra typically and performing higher when they’re enjoying. You see the highest gamers like Nadal, Federer and even Djokovic they play fewer tournaments to attempt to lengthen their careers. Once they go to tournaments, they’re 100% prepared and that’s if you see the perfect tennis.

Saqib: Do you suppose a gamers union is the reply? This has been doing the rounds because the gamers assembly in Australia this 12 months.

Soderling: Sure I believe that may very well be one of many solutions. It’s not straightforward, the highest gamers try to lengthen their careers by enjoying fewer tournaments and those that undergo are the smaller tournaments, the ATP 250 tournaments.

I labored myself as a event director at Stockholm, and the highest gamers don’t wish to play the 250 tournaments. They wish to deal with the large tournaments. It’s so tough to get a high participant as of late to a 250 event, you must pay some huge cash in look charges, which is tough for a small event as a lot of them are struggling financially.

Should you take a look at the larger tournaments, Grand Slams, Masters 1000’s they’re doing extraordinarily nicely. There may be additionally so many smaller tournaments, two, three per week and I believe for certain that may assist to create a schedule the place there are fewer tournaments and an extended offseason. I believe everybody can be winners ultimately.

It isn’t straightforward to eliminate a number of the smaller tournaments however in the long term, one thing must be carried out, to assist the gamers and assist the game basically.

Saqib: Attention-grabbing, I used to be going to herald the event director half a little bit later nevertheless it’s a superb segway. I’ve a few questions in thoughts. You have been a participant not so way back, let’s deal with Stockholm your property event.

While you performed there you have been one of many high sights, and you then went on to be the director at that event till 2017. So simply examine the roles, do gamers request night time matches at indoor tournaments even when situations aren’t an element?

Soderling: I might say it’s a bit totally different to outside tennis. Some gamers prefer to play throughout the day, some prefer to play within the night.

After I labored in Stockholm, because you play all through the entire week it’s tough to get the larger crowds throughout the day matches at smaller tournaments. Most people go to work and don’t end till 5 so we at all times attempt to put the highest gamers within the night time session. Right here in Stockholm, for instance, the primary match is at 6.30pm then a match adopted by that. That’s in fact if you get the most individuals and also you attempt to placed on the top-ranked gamers.

Saqib: Okay excellent response and I’ve a follow-up query; as a director if you did this, you land a high participant. Who’s figuring out the schedule? A bunch of high gamers need night time session however is it TV demand, viewers? What makes the ultimate schedule? How a lot weight is given to TV, or for instance what Federer or Djokovic desires? How do you steadiness it?

Soderling: Sure, generally inside indoor tournaments you will have the TV. They’ve a variety of energy, they pay some huge cash for the rights and you must take into consideration what they need. But in addition on the identical time, they need it at the perfect occasions, which throughout the week is within the night.

For indoor tournaments it’s a bit totally different, it’s barely simpler because the situations are constant regardless when you play morning, afternoon or night. In comparison with open air the temperature the identical. After all, smaller enviornment’s do get hotter inside when they’re filled with spectators.

More often than not for me scheduling wasn’t an issue. The issue I had was when gamers performed singles and doubles in the identical event and you must attempt to adapt the schedule. You are likely to play the singles earlier than the doubles so it may be tough particularly early within the week when there’s extra matches.

Saqib: I believe indoor tennis is totally different in calls for because of the situations not enjoying an element. However let me ask you a high participant query. 

While you entered these occasions. I’m certain everyone seems to be saying they’re wanting on the draw however the aim is to win. So is it a bonus or a drawback, for instance, say if the ultimate is 7 pm.  As a participant you retain that in thoughts, so would you relatively be enjoying all matches within the run-up round 7 pm so you will have good restoration time? In case you have a late night time semi-final and the ultimate is at 1 pm, then you will have much less time. Are you requesting the scheduling these issues in thoughts?

Soderling: After all, if a participant performs a first-round match on Monday or Tuesday night, you virtually by no means put them early the following day. If a participant begins within the night and wins, you attempt to preserve them on the identical time for the following matches.

This can be a drawback in Stockholm as a result of you will have night time classes till Saturday, however you don’t desire a night time ultimate on Sunday as individuals have work the following day. So that you attempt to put it at 1, 2 or three pm and never too late.

Then you definately at all times have the issue once more, when you win an evening session and are nonetheless in singles and doubles you must play singles earlier than doubles. So you may be enjoying earlier subsequent day so that you want time to relaxation. In order that’s when it creates scheduling issues for a event director.

Saqib: At that time, you’ll transfer the doubles again. Singles is tied to TV timing so you may’t transfer that? That’s the logical strategy?

Soderling: Sure, from my strategy it’s higher to place the doubles earlier than the singles ultimate. It’s higher as many individuals depart after the singles ultimate. However in fact when it’s the identical participant in each, you must play the singles first. The gamers wish to play that first.

Saqib: Okay let’s discuss some present matters. You gave a variety of info on the mindset of a former participant turned event director.  Let’s take a look at Roger Federer, we all know he’s vital, world famous person and nicely obtained in all sports activities. His title has been doing the rounds because of the Laver Cup battle with the Australian Open and night time classes.

We now have talked lots about this; some individuals say it’s a enterprise, others say he’s getting clear desire. Numbers don’t lie, he performed a variety of night time matches in Australia.

One other college of thought is that he’s a near retirement so event administrators would possibly put him on the there for optimum scores. However different high gamers like Djokovic, Nadal and so on. generally don’t get the night time match.

Is that honest recreation to you each as a participant and a event director? What’s the balancing act right here? Ought to the event director be extra clear?

Soderling: Yeah I believe it’s regular as a event director you want the highest gamers, they accomplish that a lot for the event and nearly all of the followers go to observe the highest gamers. That’s simply how it’s.

As a event director, you must suppose like a enterprise and do the perfect for the event. I believe the highest gamers do get much more issues. I might say they take higher care of high gamers than the decrease ranked gamers. Extra calls for, they even request the pace of the floor. The highest participant may even demand what kind of floor he desires at smaller tournaments.

For the smaller tournaments, you virtually must do the whole lot for the highest gamers to make them really feel particular. That will increase the probabilities of that participant coming again once more subsequent 12 months.

Saqib: Attention-grabbing, we all know the previous event director at Bercy, talked about in a French Newspaper that Roger Federer did recommend altering the event floor. After all, his title is on the market, however is that this a standard request in addition to Federer? Do brokers ask for sorts of surfaces?

Soderling: Sure, I might say so. Most of the high gamers have requests for the kind of floor they need and generally the event can’t meet the request however in lots of instances, they will. They attempt to do the whole lot they will to get the highest gamers.

They want these gamers to make it profitable financially. It’s even tougher with gamers enjoying much less tournaments now. I believe Nadal solely performed 9 or 10 tournaments this 12 months, Roger skipped clay. All the things is 100% focussed on the Masters and Grand Slams.

Saqib: So how democratic is the method for lesser ranked gamers like a Gulbis or a Melzer. In the event that they received a event the week earlier than they usually say can I’ve a Tuesday night time session? How accommodating are tournaments?

Soderling: Yeah in fact, as a event you are attempting to please all people. You need everybody to be pleased. Let’s say if a decrease ranked participant had a ultimate, you’ll attempt to do the whole lot to offer him a number of days relaxation and attempt to give him a Tuesday or perhaps a Wednesday begin. However it’s not straightforward, it’s a relentless wrestle.

Saqib: So final query on this matter then we transfer onto your enjoying days. We talked about look charges, and each event has its personal bucket. How is that tied to the monetary well being of the event?

First, the aim is to land a Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or a Murray. I’m certain these guys don’t come low-cost so if you get these guys, how does that pay you again financially? Do TV rights rely on when you get a giant title, so that they pay extra?

Soderling: I believe Roger performed Stockholm in 2010, I used to be not working however enjoying myself. However from what I heard they needed to pay him some huge cash. I believe they went to the present sponsors and mentioned now we have an opportunity to get Roger and we want extra money. That’s how they obtained him right here.

The stadium right here in Stockholm, it’s the one indoor event the place you play in an current tennis membership, the capability is just three or four thousand spectators. When Roger got here we might have bought twice as many tickets nevertheless it wasn’t attainable. And you already have the TV deal in place, so that they aren’t prepared to pay extra at a later date.

So it’s good to have him right here, nevertheless it’s tough to get that cash again. I’m unsure if it was worthwhile that 12 months.

Saqib: Okay let’s swap now to your tennis. Has it gotten simpler to speak about these things? While you see guys like Wawrinka and Cilic who’ve damaged by way of and have received Slams? I do know your profession didn’t finish on the phrases you needed. Has it develop into simpler?

Soderling: Yeah now it’s simpler. Now the time has handed it’s obtained simpler. After I first stopped I considered it lots after I noticed gamers like Cilic, Nishikori breaking by way of however I had a profitable file towards a variety of these guys. Then a number of years later you see them profitable slams so it’s tough to not take into consideration what would have occurred had I nonetheless having the ability to play.

For therefore a few years, the highest 10 was the identical gamers. Nearly precisely the identical from after I was enjoying to now. That additionally reveals what an period it has been. three of the perfect gamers of the historical past that was actually tough for all the opposite gamers from four to 15 on the planet.

I at all times say that these three gamers did a lot for the game. In a technique it was so good, nevertheless it was powerful, at one time each slam went to them.

Saqib: That occurred this 12 months!

Soderling: Ha, yeah that simply reveals how good they’re even when they’re over 30 years previous. It’s superb to see.

Saqib: Let’s discuss Magnus Norman. You’ve gotten labored with him. Stan Wawrinka has now received three majors. Did you see Stan turning into the sort of a champion? I bear in mind watching you play him in 2006 at Flushing Meadows. Magnus will get a variety of credit score, he should have carried out an incredible job, are you able to discuss a bit about his teaching model?

Soderling: I believe Wawrinka when he began with Magnus he was in the same scenario to me. Many occasions I might beat high gamers in smaller tournaments however I simply couldn’t do it often.

Magnus helped me lots, I wouldn’t say I used to be a greater tennis participant after I was within the high 5 in comparison with high 20, shot by shot or stroke by stroke. However he helped me lots mentally. He made me perceive what it takes to be a high participant. 

I’m unsure how he labored with Stan as you mentioned, however clearly, they’d a tremendously good partnership. Magnus is a extremely good coach to have the ability to get 100% out of the participant, he finds these small particulars particularly mentally. That may change a superb participant to a high participant.

Saqib: While you have been teaching one of many Ymer brothers. Did you are taking a number of the traits Magnus confirmed you? Or was all of it Soderling?

Soderling:  I used to be simply attempting to take my very own expertise from the 12 years I performed on tour. Each participant is totally different, Elias is in a distinct scenario to after I began to work with Magnus.

After we began, Elias was 300 on the planet, after I began with Magnus I used to be 15-20 on the planet. So the scenario was totally different. I’ve been in Elias’s scenario enjoying Futures and Challengers event and I attempted to take my very own expertise and I noticed a variety of this in Elias that I might see in myself after I was 21, 22 years previous. It’s very comparable.

I believe that’s why many gamers now rent former or former high gamers as a coach. For me working with Magnus it was good to have somebody to speak to about how I really feel and know he had been in the identical scenario as I used to be. For some purpose it felt simpler to speak to somebody who I knew understood what I used to be speaking about. He might share what he did, and what he tried to vary.

Saqib: After all everyone knows your large 2009 win at Roland Garros. You’re a part of a two-man membership of gamers who beat Nadal at Roland Garros. However let me ask you about 2010, you beat Federer the defending champion.

Traditionally even earlier than you beat Nadal, you had performed Nadal fairly powerful, however Federer’s recreation gave you extra issues. How large was that if you beat him on that wet Wednesday?

Soderling: That was nice, however what I’m extra happy with me making the ultimate for the second 12 months in a row. To do it as soon as was nice, from virtually nowhere, I used to be round 20 on the planet. I hadn’t been previous the 4th spherical in a Grand Slam. However I’m much more proud I managed to do the identical the 12 months after.

It’s tough to check matches such as you mentioned I at all times had extra troubles enjoying Roger. I wouldn’t say Roger is a greater participant than Rafa however they’ve totally different recreation kinds and I might say Roger’s recreation model, or relatively I might say Rafa’s recreation model suited me higher than Roger’s.

I performed many occasions towards Rafa, I received some, I misplaced some. However many occasions getting off the courtroom even when I misplaced the match, I might really feel I nonetheless performed fairly nicely as we speak. However towards Roger however there weren’t many matches that I felt I performed nicely. I realised that’s as a result of his recreation model didn’t go well with my recreation model in any respect.

He’s an especially good participant however he mixes up his recreation lots and a variety of occasions he made me play worse than I might have carried out towards one other participant. That’s why it was so tough for me to play towards him. So beating him within the Quarter Finals was superb. I might say I performed two extraordinarily good matches to beat Rafa in 2009 and Roger in 2010, however I might say I performed even a bit higher towards Roger.

It was totally different getting into towards Rafa, it wasn’t straightforward nevertheless it was a pleasant feeling. It was the 4th spherical, and I felt that no one in the entire world was anticipating me to win the match. I felt I might play my recreation and never have any expectations in any respect for myself, or from anybody else.

Truly going into that match I felt fairly good. I knew I used to be enjoying nicely for the final couple of weeks on clay. I misplaced to Nadal a number of weeks earlier than, the scoreline was straightforward however I felt it was a reasonably powerful match. It’d sound unusual he beat me 6-1 6-Zero or one thing, he killed me rating smart however I actually felt after that match I wasn’t far off, there have been so many powerful video games.

Possibly in Paris, I performed a little bit bit higher, perhaps he performed 5% worse than he did in Rome. The margins are so small. That was I actually like about tennis, each match is a brand new match, the situations are totally different. If one participant wakes up within the morning and has an especially good day he can beat virtually anybody.

Saqib: Proper now the local weather in tennis appears like Novak Djokovic is again and the person to beat at each event he enters. He’s received virtually the whole lot final 12 months. Do you see anybody difficult him or do you see a Djokovic dominating this coming season?

Soderling: If he continues to play the way in which he performed for the final 6 months he’s going to be extraordinarily tough to beat. Roger isn’t enjoying as nicely proper now, or I might say he didn’t play as nicely this 12 months as he did in 2017. Final 12 months coming again getting back from harm he performed extraordinarily nicely.

Now Novak is enjoying higher however I wouldn’t be shocked if we discuss once more on the finish of subsequent 12 months and we see these guys being the highest three on the planet once more which is loopy. Roger is popping 38, he’s practically 40 and each Novak & Rafa are nicely over 30. So it simply reveals how good they’re, nevertheless it’s additionally good to see a number of the younger gamers are beginning to make an affect.

The way in which Zverev performed in London was nice. I used to be actually shocked he beat Noval however the way in which he performed, on that day, he was simply higher than Novak and that doesn’t occur fairly often. It’s additionally good to see Coric, Khachanov and that’s precisely what tennis wants.

We had unbelievable gamers with Federer, Rafa and Djokovic who’ve been nice ambassadors and they’re going to play a number of extra years in the event that they keep harm free however eventually they may retire and it’s a problem for the game to get new gamers developing and make new profiles.

Saqib: Is there anybody within the new era you want to coach?

Sure, in fact, teaching Elias for a 12 months was a pleasant time and I loved it lots. I at all times say that being a coach is the closest you may get to enjoying. For the primary time in a few years, I obtained these emotions again, I felt a bit nervous.

Typically I used to be much more nervous watching, if you find yourself on courtroom you may at the least do one thing your self. If you end up a coach all you may is sit and watch.

The one purpose we stopped is I’ve two small youngsters, and I used to be travelling for 25-30 weeks. And I used to be working with RS Tennis, so for 1 12 months, I used to be virtually away each week. However sooner or later, I’m taken with teaching.

Saqib: What have you ever been as much as as a businessman?

Soderling: 5 years in the past I had been working as a event director, however I felt that I wasn’t as near tennis as I needed to be.

As a participant, I used to be actually choosy about tools and I had an thought, why not attempt to develop a tennis ball I actually like that I can put my title to. And I might be happy with calling it a high-quality ball.

It began as a enjoyable venture, no plans apart from attempting to see if I might do it myself. After some time, I began at hand it out to associates, and to gamers and the suggestions I obtained was nice,. Nearly everybody mentioned this can be a nice ball. So I began a enterprise, it’s actually enjoyable and that’s the place I spend most of my time now.  We now have a much bigger model now, we do strings and grips and so on. I’m pleased that I’ve this I actually get pleasure from it.

Which bit did you guys discover attention-grabbing? Any questions you’ll have requested Soderling that weren’t requested right here? As at all times let me know within the feedback.

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