Tennis star Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal pulled out of the London Olympics on Thursday due to injury.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
In July 2011, Robin Soderling smiled broadly and held aloft the Swedish Open trophy in front of his home fans. He was the world No 5 - the best of the rest outside the 'Big Four' - and at the age of 26 had time on his side to go one better than his two French Open finals and win a first grand slam. “But that match was the last I ever played,” Soderling says, seven years on. “After that I didn’t leave the house for six months.” Soderling, it turned out, had been playing for much of 2011 with an acute case of glandular fever, which became so debilitating that soon after winning the Swedish Open he could barely get out of bed. Soderling then spent almost four years trying to make a comeback but could not fully shake off the illness and officially retired in December 2015. Soderling’s legacy though remains undimmed, largely because of the events at Roland Garros nine years ago. On a gloomy Sunday, Soderling - a provocative and divisive presence on the Tour - did what had never been done, and has remained almost unthinkable since: he beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open. Nadal's near-perfect record since - just one defeat, against Novak Djokovic in 2015, and six more titles - has made Soderling’s achievement even more remarkable. Nadal is also the huge favourite to pick up an 11th title at this year’s tournament, which begins on Sunday. Soderling celebrates beating Rafael Nadal at the French Open in 2009 Credit: Getty Images In the years when Soderling was convalescing and dreaming of a comeback, he could not bring himself to watch the event - even on television. Now though, he is more contented and will be at Roland Garros this year. Still young - at 33, he is three years younger than Roger Federer - healthy again and with that glint in his eye and impish smile, Soderling is enjoying a busy retirement. He runs his own tennis equipment business RS Tennis, coaches the exciting Swedish youngster Elias Ymer and is a dad to Olivia (five) and Fred (three). His career may have been cruelly cut short, but in those dark days of 2011 and 2012 all Soderling wanted was to feel well again. “I was really sick,” he says. “I was in bed with cold sweats, all different symptoms. It was really terrible for a long time, and when the fever went away there was all this weakness and tiredness. “Then after a few years I felt good in daily life but as soon as I started to push my body the symptoms came back and I had no strength at all. I got so tired. After an easy practice session all I wanted to do was sleep for days. “For a long time I couldn’t even watch tennis on TV because I missed it too much. I was bitter and upset because it didn’t seem fair. I was young and it was tough to see players that I played against my age, even older performing well. Like [Stan] Wawrinka and I are almost the same age. Robin Soderling | At a glance “When I retired it became easier, and every month that passes it gets easier because there are less players my age. Now I’m too old anyway so I don’t have to think about it too much.” With a bit of distance from his retirement, Soderling is better able to look back fondly at his many achievements, which include a world ranking of No 4, two grand slam finals and 10 titles. And though he actually regards beating Federer at the following year's French Open as an equally good, if not better, performance, Soderling will also always have that 2009 win over Nadal - one of tennis's "Where were you when?" moments. The seeds of the upset were sown two years earlier at Wimbledon when Soderling riled Nadal in a tetchy third-round match. Soderling celebrated a dead net cord, didn’t look Nadal in the eye when they shook hands, and most humiliatingly of all impersonated the Spaniard’s habit of fiddling with his shorts in front of a disbelieving Centre Court. Nadal was furious, and Soderling says now that he may have gone too far with his antics. But he stands by making it clear that he was not overawed by Nadal. Two years later at Roland Garros, Soderling was similarly fearless: “I remember I beat [David] Ferrer in the third round and the first question the journalist asked me was ‘do you think Rafa will win the French Open again this year?’. Soderling reached two French Open finals Credit: Getty Images “At that moment I realised no-one believed I could win. At least I had to otherwise there was no point going on court. “So I told myself I have a chance, I just have to focus on my game. When I got on court I felt really confident, really good but I also felt like there was no pressure. No-one expected to me to win so I tried to see it as there’s only an upside. “To beat Rafa on clay, especially in best of five sets you have to be aggressive and dictate the points. That’s how I played naturally so it was maybe a bit easier for me. But I also tried to be a bit more aggressive than normal and also take a few more risks, and that day it really worked.” Soderling stresses that to win against Nadal or Federer you must have self-belief, which he feels is lacking in too many of today’s players. “I get the feeling even guys in the top five don’t really believe,” he says. “They’re there to see what happens. Their focus is just to go off the court with their head high - you can see it even in the warm-up. It means the big guys win many matches before they have even started. “You have to unsettle these guys and stand up for yourself. Show your opponent that you believe in yourself and you’re there to win.” So is that the way to beat Nadal at the 2018 French Open? "Yes", Soderling responds. "Do that, play aggressive...and then hope for the best."
Robin Soderling exclusive interview: From beating Nadal and Federer to struggling to get out of bed - and falling in love with tennis again
In July 2011, Robin Soderling smiled broadly and held aloft the Swedish Open trophy in front of his home fans. He was the world No 5 - the best of the rest outside the 'Big Four' - and at the age of 26 had time on his side to go one better than his two French Open finals and win a first grand slam. “But that match was the last I ever played,” Soderling says, seven years on. “After that I didn’t leave the house for six months.” Soderling, it turned out, had been playing for much of 2011 with an acute case of glandular fever, which became so debilitating that soon after winning the Swedish Open he could barely get out of bed. Soderling then spent almost four years trying to make a comeback but could not fully shake off the illness and officially retired in December 2015. Soderling’s legacy though remains undimmed, largely because of the events at Roland Garros nine years ago. On a gloomy Sunday, Soderling - a provocative and divisive presence on the Tour - did what had never been done, and has remained almost unthinkable since: he beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open. Nadal's near-perfect record since - just one defeat, against Novak Djokovic in 2015, and six more titles - has made Soderling’s achievement even more remarkable. Nadal is also the huge favourite to pick up an 11th title at this year’s tournament, which begins on Sunday. Soderling celebrates beating Rafael Nadal at the French Open in 2009 Credit: Getty Images In the years when Soderling was convalescing and dreaming of a comeback, he could not bring himself to watch the event - even on television. Now though, he is more contented and will be at Roland Garros this year. Still young - at 33, he is three years younger than Roger Federer - healthy again and with that glint in his eye and impish smile, Soderling is enjoying a busy retirement. He runs his own tennis equipment business RS Tennis, coaches the exciting Swedish youngster Elias Ymer and is a dad to Olivia (five) and Fred (three). His career may have been cruelly cut short, but in those dark days of 2011 and 2012 all Soderling wanted was to feel well again. “I was really sick,” he says. “I was in bed with cold sweats, all different symptoms. It was really terrible for a long time, and when the fever went away there was all this weakness and tiredness. “Then after a few years I felt good in daily life but as soon as I started to push my body the symptoms came back and I had no strength at all. I got so tired. After an easy practice session all I wanted to do was sleep for days. “For a long time I couldn’t even watch tennis on TV because I missed it too much. I was bitter and upset because it didn’t seem fair. I was young and it was tough to see players that I played against my age, even older performing well. Like [Stan] Wawrinka and I are almost the same age. Robin Soderling | At a glance “When I retired it became easier, and every month that passes it gets easier because there are less players my age. Now I’m too old anyway so I don’t have to think about it too much.” With a bit of distance from his retirement, Soderling is better able to look back fondly at his many achievements, which include a world ranking of No 4, two grand slam finals and 10 titles. And though he actually regards beating Federer at the following year's French Open as an equally good, if not better, performance, Soderling will also always have that 2009 win over Nadal - one of tennis's "Where were you when?" moments. The seeds of the upset were sown two years earlier at Wimbledon when Soderling riled Nadal in a tetchy third-round match. Soderling celebrated a dead net cord, didn’t look Nadal in the eye when they shook hands, and most humiliatingly of all impersonated the Spaniard’s habit of fiddling with his shorts in front of a disbelieving Centre Court. Nadal was furious, and Soderling says now that he may have gone too far with his antics. But he stands by making it clear that he was not overawed by Nadal. Two years later at Roland Garros, Soderling was similarly fearless: “I remember I beat [David] Ferrer in the third round and the first question the journalist asked me was ‘do you think Rafa will win the French Open again this year?’. Soderling reached two French Open finals Credit: Getty Images “At that moment I realised no-one believed I could win. At least I had to otherwise there was no point going on court. “So I told myself I have a chance, I just have to focus on my game. When I got on court I felt really confident, really good but I also felt like there was no pressure. No-one expected to me to win so I tried to see it as there’s only an upside. “To beat Rafa on clay, especially in best of five sets you have to be aggressive and dictate the points. That’s how I played naturally so it was maybe a bit easier for me. But I also tried to be a bit more aggressive than normal and also take a few more risks, and that day it really worked.” Soderling stresses that to win against Nadal or Federer you must have self-belief, which he feels is lacking in too many of today’s players. “I get the feeling even guys in the top five don’t really believe,” he says. “They’re there to see what happens. Their focus is just to go off the court with their head high - you can see it even in the warm-up. It means the big guys win many matches before they have even started. “You have to unsettle these guys and stand up for yourself. Show your opponent that you believe in yourself and you’re there to win.” So is that the way to beat Nadal at the 2018 French Open? "Yes", Soderling responds. "Do that, play aggressive...and then hope for the best."
In July 2011, Robin Soderling smiled broadly and held aloft the Swedish Open trophy in front of his home fans. He was the world No 5 - the best of the rest outside the 'Big Four' - and at the age of 26 had time on his side to go one better than his two French Open finals and win a first grand slam. “But that match was the last I ever played,” Soderling says, seven years on. “After that I didn’t leave the house for six months.” Soderling, it turned out, had been playing for much of 2011 with an acute case of glandular fever, which became so debilitating that soon after winning the Swedish Open he could barely get out of bed. Soderling then spent almost four years trying to make a comeback but could not fully shake off the illness and officially retired in December 2015. Soderling’s legacy though remains undimmed, largely because of the events at Roland Garros nine years ago. On a gloomy Sunday, Soderling - a provocative and divisive presence on the Tour - did what had never been done, and has remained almost unthinkable since: he beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open. Nadal's near-perfect record since - just one defeat, against Novak Djokovic in 2015, and six more titles - has made Soderling’s achievement even more remarkable. Nadal is also the huge favourite to pick up an 11th title at this year’s tournament, which begins on Sunday. Soderling celebrates beating Rafael Nadal at the French Open in 2009 Credit: Getty Images In the years when Soderling was convalescing and dreaming of a comeback, he could not bring himself to watch the event - even on television. Now though, he is more contented and will be at Roland Garros this year. Still young - at 33, he is three years younger than Roger Federer - healthy again and with that glint in his eye and impish smile, Soderling is enjoying a busy retirement. He runs his own tennis equipment business RS Tennis, coaches the exciting Swedish youngster Elias Ymer and is a dad to Olivia (five) and Fred (three). His career may have been cruelly cut short, but in those dark days of 2011 and 2012 all Soderling wanted was to feel well again. “I was really sick,” he says. “I was in bed with cold sweats, all different symptoms. It was really terrible for a long time, and when the fever went away there was all this weakness and tiredness. “Then after a few years I felt good in daily life but as soon as I started to push my body the symptoms came back and I had no strength at all. I got so tired. After an easy practice session all I wanted to do was sleep for days. “For a long time I couldn’t even watch tennis on TV because I missed it too much. I was bitter and upset because it didn’t seem fair. I was young and it was tough to see players that I played against my age, even older performing well. Like [Stan] Wawrinka and I are almost the same age. Robin Soderling | At a glance “When I retired it became easier, and every month that passes it gets easier because there are less players my age. Now I’m too old anyway so I don’t have to think about it too much.” With a bit of distance from his retirement, Soderling is better able to look back fondly at his many achievements, which include a world ranking of No 4, two grand slam finals and 10 titles. And though he actually regards beating Federer at the following year's French Open as an equally good, if not better, performance, Soderling will also always have that 2009 win over Nadal - one of tennis's "Where were you when?" moments. The seeds of the upset were sown two years earlier at Wimbledon when Soderling riled Nadal in a tetchy third-round match. Soderling celebrated a dead net cord, didn’t look Nadal in the eye when they shook hands, and most humiliatingly of all impersonated the Spaniard’s habit of fiddling with his shorts in front of a disbelieving Centre Court. Nadal was furious, and Soderling says now that he may have gone too far with his antics. But he stands by making it clear that he was not overawed by Nadal. Two years later at Roland Garros, Soderling was similarly fearless: “I remember I beat [David] Ferrer in the third round and the first question the journalist asked me was ‘do you think Rafa will win the French Open again this year?’. Soderling reached two French Open finals Credit: Getty Images “At that moment I realised no-one believed I could win. At least I had to otherwise there was no point going on court. “So I told myself I have a chance, I just have to focus on my game. When I got on court I felt really confident, really good but I also felt like there was no pressure. No-one expected to me to win so I tried to see it as there’s only an upside. “To beat Rafa on clay, especially in best of five sets you have to be aggressive and dictate the points. That’s how I played naturally so it was maybe a bit easier for me. But I also tried to be a bit more aggressive than normal and also take a few more risks, and that day it really worked.” Soderling stresses that to win against Nadal or Federer you must have self-belief, which he feels is lacking in too many of today’s players. “I get the feeling even guys in the top five don’t really believe,” he says. “They’re there to see what happens. Their focus is just to go off the court with their head high - you can see it even in the warm-up. It means the big guys win many matches before they have even started. “You have to unsettle these guys and stand up for yourself. Show your opponent that you believe in yourself and you’re there to win.” So is that the way to beat Nadal at the 2018 French Open? "Yes", Soderling responds. "Do that, play aggressive...and then hope for the best."
Robin Soderling exclusive interview: From beating Nadal and Federer to struggling to get out of bed - and falling in love with tennis again
In July 2011, Robin Soderling smiled broadly and held aloft the Swedish Open trophy in front of his home fans. He was the world No 5 - the best of the rest outside the 'Big Four' - and at the age of 26 had time on his side to go one better than his two French Open finals and win a first grand slam. “But that match was the last I ever played,” Soderling says, seven years on. “After that I didn’t leave the house for six months.” Soderling, it turned out, had been playing for much of 2011 with an acute case of glandular fever, which became so debilitating that soon after winning the Swedish Open he could barely get out of bed. Soderling then spent almost four years trying to make a comeback but could not fully shake off the illness and officially retired in December 2015. Soderling’s legacy though remains undimmed, largely because of the events at Roland Garros nine years ago. On a gloomy Sunday, Soderling - a provocative and divisive presence on the Tour - did what had never been done, and has remained almost unthinkable since: he beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open. Nadal's near-perfect record since - just one defeat, against Novak Djokovic in 2015, and six more titles - has made Soderling’s achievement even more remarkable. Nadal is also the huge favourite to pick up an 11th title at this year’s tournament, which begins on Sunday. Soderling celebrates beating Rafael Nadal at the French Open in 2009 Credit: Getty Images In the years when Soderling was convalescing and dreaming of a comeback, he could not bring himself to watch the event - even on television. Now though, he is more contented and will be at Roland Garros this year. Still young - at 33, he is three years younger than Roger Federer - healthy again and with that glint in his eye and impish smile, Soderling is enjoying a busy retirement. He runs his own tennis equipment business RS Tennis, coaches the exciting Swedish youngster Elias Ymer and is a dad to Olivia (five) and Fred (three). His career may have been cruelly cut short, but in those dark days of 2011 and 2012 all Soderling wanted was to feel well again. “I was really sick,” he says. “I was in bed with cold sweats, all different symptoms. It was really terrible for a long time, and when the fever went away there was all this weakness and tiredness. “Then after a few years I felt good in daily life but as soon as I started to push my body the symptoms came back and I had no strength at all. I got so tired. After an easy practice session all I wanted to do was sleep for days. “For a long time I couldn’t even watch tennis on TV because I missed it too much. I was bitter and upset because it didn’t seem fair. I was young and it was tough to see players that I played against my age, even older performing well. Like [Stan] Wawrinka and I are almost the same age. Robin Soderling | At a glance “When I retired it became easier, and every month that passes it gets easier because there are less players my age. Now I’m too old anyway so I don’t have to think about it too much.” With a bit of distance from his retirement, Soderling is better able to look back fondly at his many achievements, which include a world ranking of No 4, two grand slam finals and 10 titles. And though he actually regards beating Federer at the following year's French Open as an equally good, if not better, performance, Soderling will also always have that 2009 win over Nadal - one of tennis's "Where were you when?" moments. The seeds of the upset were sown two years earlier at Wimbledon when Soderling riled Nadal in a tetchy third-round match. Soderling celebrated a dead net cord, didn’t look Nadal in the eye when they shook hands, and most humiliatingly of all impersonated the Spaniard’s habit of fiddling with his shorts in front of a disbelieving Centre Court. Nadal was furious, and Soderling says now that he may have gone too far with his antics. But he stands by making it clear that he was not overawed by Nadal. Two years later at Roland Garros, Soderling was similarly fearless: “I remember I beat [David] Ferrer in the third round and the first question the journalist asked me was ‘do you think Rafa will win the French Open again this year?’. Soderling reached two French Open finals Credit: Getty Images “At that moment I realised no-one believed I could win. At least I had to otherwise there was no point going on court. “So I told myself I have a chance, I just have to focus on my game. When I got on court I felt really confident, really good but I also felt like there was no pressure. No-one expected to me to win so I tried to see it as there’s only an upside. “To beat Rafa on clay, especially in best of five sets you have to be aggressive and dictate the points. That’s how I played naturally so it was maybe a bit easier for me. But I also tried to be a bit more aggressive than normal and also take a few more risks, and that day it really worked.” Soderling stresses that to win against Nadal or Federer you must have self-belief, which he feels is lacking in too many of today’s players. “I get the feeling even guys in the top five don’t really believe,” he says. “They’re there to see what happens. Their focus is just to go off the court with their head high - you can see it even in the warm-up. It means the big guys win many matches before they have even started. “You have to unsettle these guys and stand up for yourself. Show your opponent that you believe in yourself and you’re there to win.” So is that the way to beat Nadal at the 2018 French Open? "Yes", Soderling responds. "Do that, play aggressive...and then hope for the best."
In July 2011, Robin Soderling smiled broadly and held aloft the Swedish Open trophy in front of his home fans. He was the world No 5 - the best of the rest outside the 'Big Four' - and at the age of 26 had time on his side to go one better than his two French Open finals and win a first grand slam. “But that match was the last I ever played,” Soderling says, seven years on. “After that I didn’t leave the house for six months.” Soderling, it turned out, had been playing for much of 2011 with an acute case of glandular fever, which became so debilitating that soon after winning the Swedish Open he could barely get out of bed. Soderling then spent almost four years trying to make a comeback but could not fully shake off the illness and officially retired in December 2015. Soderling’s legacy though remains undimmed, largely because of the events at Roland Garros nine years ago. On a gloomy Sunday, Soderling - a provocative and divisive presence on the Tour - did what had never been done, and has remained almost unthinkable since: he beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open. Nadal's near-perfect record since - just one defeat, against Novak Djokovic in 2015, and six more titles - has made Soderling’s achievement even more remarkable. Nadal is also the huge favourite to pick up an 11th title at this year’s tournament, which begins on Sunday. Soderling celebrates beating Rafael Nadal at the French Open in 2009 Credit: Getty Images In the years when Soderling was convalescing and dreaming of a comeback, he could not bring himself to watch the event - even on television. Now though, he is more contented and will be at Roland Garros this year. Still young - at 33, he is three years younger than Roger Federer - healthy again and with that glint in his eye and impish smile, Soderling is enjoying a busy retirement. He runs his own tennis equipment business RS Tennis, coaches the exciting Swedish youngster Elias Ymer and is a dad to Olivia (five) and Fred (three). His career may have been cruelly cut short, but in those dark days of 2011 and 2012 all Soderling wanted was to feel well again. “I was really sick,” he says. “I was in bed with cold sweats, all different symptoms. It was really terrible for a long time, and when the fever went away there was all this weakness and tiredness. “Then after a few years I felt good in daily life but as soon as I started to push my body the symptoms came back and I had no strength at all. I got so tired. After an easy practice session all I wanted to do was sleep for days. “For a long time I couldn’t even watch tennis on TV because I missed it too much. I was bitter and upset because it didn’t seem fair. I was young and it was tough to see players that I played against my age, even older performing well. Like [Stan] Wawrinka and I are almost the same age. Robin Soderling | At a glance “When I retired it became easier, and every month that passes it gets easier because there are less players my age. Now I’m too old anyway so I don’t have to think about it too much.” With a bit of distance from his retirement, Soderling is better able to look back fondly at his many achievements, which include a world ranking of No 4, two grand slam finals and 10 titles. And though he actually regards beating Federer at the following year's French Open as an equally good, if not better, performance, Soderling will also always have that 2009 win over Nadal - one of tennis's "Where were you when?" moments. The seeds of the upset were sown two years earlier at Wimbledon when Soderling riled Nadal in a tetchy third-round match. Soderling celebrated a dead net cord, didn’t look Nadal in the eye when they shook hands, and most humiliatingly of all impersonated the Spaniard’s habit of fiddling with his shorts in front of a disbelieving Centre Court. Nadal was furious, and Soderling says now that he may have gone too far with his antics. But he stands by making it clear that he was not overawed by Nadal. Two years later at Roland Garros, Soderling was similarly fearless: “I remember I beat [David] Ferrer in the third round and the first question the journalist asked me was ‘do you think Rafa will win the French Open again this year?’. Soderling reached two French Open finals Credit: Getty Images “At that moment I realised no-one believed I could win. At least I had to otherwise there was no point going on court. “So I told myself I have a chance, I just have to focus on my game. When I got on court I felt really confident, really good but I also felt like there was no pressure. No-one expected to me to win so I tried to see it as there’s only an upside. “To beat Rafa on clay, especially in best of five sets you have to be aggressive and dictate the points. That’s how I played naturally so it was maybe a bit easier for me. But I also tried to be a bit more aggressive than normal and also take a few more risks, and that day it really worked.” Soderling stresses that to win against Nadal or Federer you must have self-belief, which he feels is lacking in too many of today’s players. “I get the feeling even guys in the top five don’t really believe,” he says. “They’re there to see what happens. Their focus is just to go off the court with their head high - you can see it even in the warm-up. It means the big guys win many matches before they have even started. “You have to unsettle these guys and stand up for yourself. Show your opponent that you believe in yourself and you’re there to win.” So is that the way to beat Nadal at the 2018 French Open? "Yes", Soderling responds. "Do that, play aggressive...and then hope for the best."
Robin Soderling exclusive interview: From beating Nadal and Federer to struggling to get out of bed - and falling in love with tennis again
In July 2011, Robin Soderling smiled broadly and held aloft the Swedish Open trophy in front of his home fans. He was the world No 5 - the best of the rest outside the 'Big Four' - and at the age of 26 had time on his side to go one better than his two French Open finals and win a first grand slam. “But that match was the last I ever played,” Soderling says, seven years on. “After that I didn’t leave the house for six months.” Soderling, it turned out, had been playing for much of 2011 with an acute case of glandular fever, which became so debilitating that soon after winning the Swedish Open he could barely get out of bed. Soderling then spent almost four years trying to make a comeback but could not fully shake off the illness and officially retired in December 2015. Soderling’s legacy though remains undimmed, largely because of the events at Roland Garros nine years ago. On a gloomy Sunday, Soderling - a provocative and divisive presence on the Tour - did what had never been done, and has remained almost unthinkable since: he beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open. Nadal's near-perfect record since - just one defeat, against Novak Djokovic in 2015, and six more titles - has made Soderling’s achievement even more remarkable. Nadal is also the huge favourite to pick up an 11th title at this year’s tournament, which begins on Sunday. Soderling celebrates beating Rafael Nadal at the French Open in 2009 Credit: Getty Images In the years when Soderling was convalescing and dreaming of a comeback, he could not bring himself to watch the event - even on television. Now though, he is more contented and will be at Roland Garros this year. Still young - at 33, he is three years younger than Roger Federer - healthy again and with that glint in his eye and impish smile, Soderling is enjoying a busy retirement. He runs his own tennis equipment business RS Tennis, coaches the exciting Swedish youngster Elias Ymer and is a dad to Olivia (five) and Fred (three). His career may have been cruelly cut short, but in those dark days of 2011 and 2012 all Soderling wanted was to feel well again. “I was really sick,” he says. “I was in bed with cold sweats, all different symptoms. It was really terrible for a long time, and when the fever went away there was all this weakness and tiredness. “Then after a few years I felt good in daily life but as soon as I started to push my body the symptoms came back and I had no strength at all. I got so tired. After an easy practice session all I wanted to do was sleep for days. “For a long time I couldn’t even watch tennis on TV because I missed it too much. I was bitter and upset because it didn’t seem fair. I was young and it was tough to see players that I played against my age, even older performing well. Like [Stan] Wawrinka and I are almost the same age. Robin Soderling | At a glance “When I retired it became easier, and every month that passes it gets easier because there are less players my age. Now I’m too old anyway so I don’t have to think about it too much.” With a bit of distance from his retirement, Soderling is better able to look back fondly at his many achievements, which include a world ranking of No 4, two grand slam finals and 10 titles. And though he actually regards beating Federer at the following year's French Open as an equally good, if not better, performance, Soderling will also always have that 2009 win over Nadal - one of tennis's "Where were you when?" moments. The seeds of the upset were sown two years earlier at Wimbledon when Soderling riled Nadal in a tetchy third-round match. Soderling celebrated a dead net cord, didn’t look Nadal in the eye when they shook hands, and most humiliatingly of all impersonated the Spaniard’s habit of fiddling with his shorts in front of a disbelieving Centre Court. Nadal was furious, and Soderling says now that he may have gone too far with his antics. But he stands by making it clear that he was not overawed by Nadal. Two years later at Roland Garros, Soderling was similarly fearless: “I remember I beat [David] Ferrer in the third round and the first question the journalist asked me was ‘do you think Rafa will win the French Open again this year?’. Soderling reached two French Open finals Credit: Getty Images “At that moment I realised no-one believed I could win. At least I had to otherwise there was no point going on court. “So I told myself I have a chance, I just have to focus on my game. When I got on court I felt really confident, really good but I also felt like there was no pressure. No-one expected to me to win so I tried to see it as there’s only an upside. “To beat Rafa on clay, especially in best of five sets you have to be aggressive and dictate the points. That’s how I played naturally so it was maybe a bit easier for me. But I also tried to be a bit more aggressive than normal and also take a few more risks, and that day it really worked.” Soderling stresses that to win against Nadal or Federer you must have self-belief, which he feels is lacking in too many of today’s players. “I get the feeling even guys in the top five don’t really believe,” he says. “They’re there to see what happens. Their focus is just to go off the court with their head high - you can see it even in the warm-up. It means the big guys win many matches before they have even started. “You have to unsettle these guys and stand up for yourself. Show your opponent that you believe in yourself and you’re there to win.” So is that the way to beat Nadal at the 2018 French Open? "Yes", Soderling responds. "Do that, play aggressive...and then hope for the best."
Alexander Zverev came up just short in the Rome Masters final against the irrepressible Rafael Nadal (AFP Photo/Tiziana FABI)
Alexander Zverev came up just short in the Rome Masters final against the irrepressible Rafael Nadal
Alexander Zverev came up just short in the Rome Masters final against the irrepressible Rafael Nadal (AFP Photo/Tiziana FABI)
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 11, 2017 General view during the final between Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka and Spain's Rafael Nadal Reuters / Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: French Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 11, 2017 General view during the final between Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka and Spain's Rafael Nadal Reuters / Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 11, 2017 General view during the final between Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka and Spain's Rafael Nadal Reuters / Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: French Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 11, 2017 General view during the final between Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka and Spain's Rafael Nadal Reuters / Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Moments after Rafael Nadal is crowned Champion in Rome for the eighth time, Tennis Podcast presenters Catherine Whitaker and David Law bask in the London sunshine to discuss the King of Clay's rain-assisted victory over Alexander Zverev, and the extraordinary performance of Elina Svitolina to dismantle an out-of-sorts Simona Halep. Other Rome talking points are also in the spotlight, including Karolina Pliskova's uncharacteristic outburst of on-court anger, and the WTA's decision not to disclose her punishment. Plus they ask for what seems like the thousandth time this year... Is Novak Djokovic finally back? And with the main French Open warm-up events now done and dusted, The Tennis Podcast examines the runners and riders for the second Grand Slam of the year - how likely is Jelena Ostapenko to repeat her heroics of 2017? And can Zverev really be considered second favourite for a maiden Grand Slam title? Oh, and of course there is mention of the Royal Wedding and a certain GOAT's attendance... The Tennis Podcast is produced weekly throughout the year and daily during the Grand Slam tournaments, in association with Telegraph Sport. It is presented by Catherine Whitaker (Eurosport) and David Law (BBC 5 Live, BT Sport). How to listen: iTunes - https://ec.yimg.com/ec?url=http%3a%2f%2fpo.st%2fEpisode406Apple&t=1527014629&sig=XdVUeTGt7PRbEg4WfWCpmA--~D Listen: http://po.st/TP406 Download: http://po.st/ TP406Download Subscribe free: iTunes link above or search Tennis on podcast apps on Android devices.
Tennis Podcast: Alexander Zverev lost in Rome, but is he Rafael Nadal’s biggest French Open threat?
Moments after Rafael Nadal is crowned Champion in Rome for the eighth time, Tennis Podcast presenters Catherine Whitaker and David Law bask in the London sunshine to discuss the King of Clay's rain-assisted victory over Alexander Zverev, and the extraordinary performance of Elina Svitolina to dismantle an out-of-sorts Simona Halep. Other Rome talking points are also in the spotlight, including Karolina Pliskova's uncharacteristic outburst of on-court anger, and the WTA's decision not to disclose her punishment. Plus they ask for what seems like the thousandth time this year... Is Novak Djokovic finally back? And with the main French Open warm-up events now done and dusted, The Tennis Podcast examines the runners and riders for the second Grand Slam of the year - how likely is Jelena Ostapenko to repeat her heroics of 2017? And can Zverev really be considered second favourite for a maiden Grand Slam title? Oh, and of course there is mention of the Royal Wedding and a certain GOAT's attendance... The Tennis Podcast is produced weekly throughout the year and daily during the Grand Slam tournaments, in association with Telegraph Sport. It is presented by Catherine Whitaker (Eurosport) and David Law (BBC 5 Live, BT Sport). How to listen: iTunes - http://po.st/Episode406Apple Listen: http://po.st/TP406 Download: http://po.st/ TP406Download Subscribe free: iTunes link above or search Tennis on podcast apps on Android devices.
Latest twist in Federer and Nadal's game of No.1 chicken
Latest twist in Federer and Nadal's game of No.1 chicken
Latest twist in Federer and Nadal's game of No.1 chicken
'Greatest' ever Nadal beats Zverev to clinch Italian title
'Greatest' ever Nadal beats Zverev to clinch Italian title
'Greatest' ever Nadal beats Zverev to clinch Italian title
'Greatest' ever Nadal beats Zverev to clinch Italian title
'Greatest' ever Nadal beats Zverev to clinch Italian title
'Greatest' ever Nadal beats Zverev to clinch Italian title
Rafael Nadal said a rain break gave him time to consider a different approach after he turned the tide to beat Alexander Zverev in Rome.
Nadal sees clearly after Rome rain is gone
Rafael Nadal said a rain break gave him time to consider a different approach after he turned the tide to beat Alexander Zverev in Rome.
As everyone had expected at the start of the week, Rafael Nadal left his traditional bite-mark on the Rome Masters trophy on Sunday. But no-one predicted that he would need a perfectly timed rain-shower to help him win the final, and move back to the top of the world rankings in the process. This final against Alexander Zverev, the German 20-year-old who now stands at No 3 in the world, appeared to be heading for an upset early in the deciding set. After dominating the opening set so emphatically that it occupied only 32 minutes, Nadal then lost seven of the next nine games. Zverev was apparently heading for a fourth ATP Masters 1000 title. He had established a 1-6, 6-1, 3-1 advantage when the rain arrived. The players then came back on for a single game, which saw Nadal hold serve for 2-3, before a second shower arrived. After that, it was one-way traffic. Nadal reeled off the final four games to take the decider 6-3 and claim this title for the eighth time. “If we analyse now, of course we can say that the rain delay helped me,” admitted Nadal afterwards. “But really, in my opinion, what helped me is that I came back with a clear idea in terms of tactical issues and in terms of decisions that I take.” Nadal thus extended his dominance over Zverev – who will be the second seed at the French Open in a week’s time – to five wins from as many matches. As Zverev admitted afterwards, the exertions of the past fortnight – which also saw him lift the title in Madrid – caught up with him in the end. “Next time, I have to find a way to come out better after the rain and play better tennis,” he said. “The fatigue I had because of the last few weeks – because of the break, it took me very long time to get activated again.” Back on top: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates with the trophy after victory in his Mens Final match against Alexander Zverev of Germany Credit: Getty This result means that Nadal once again leapfrogs the absent Roger Federer and moves back to the top of the rankings for the sixth time in his glorious career. Even so, he will need to claim the Coupe des Mousquetaires in Paris for an 11th time if he wants to hold on to the No 1 spot going into the grass-court season. That's how it's done: Elina Svitolina of Ukraine kisses the trophy in celebration after the Women's Singles Credit: Getty In the women’s final in Rome, fourth seed Elina Svitolina ran out a 6-0, 6-4 winner over world No 1 Simona Halep. Again, fatigue from previous rounds played a part. Halep admitted that she started out feeling stiff after Saturday’s 2hr 23min semi-final against Maria Sharapova. “The match for me yesterday, every time I play against Sharapova, the ball is coming very flat and I bend a lot so my back gets a little bit sore,” said Halep. “Today, I was not fresh enough to start the match better.”ends
Rafael Nadal is world tennis number one again after Rome Masters win
As everyone had expected at the start of the week, Rafael Nadal left his traditional bite-mark on the Rome Masters trophy on Sunday. But no-one predicted that he would need a perfectly timed rain-shower to help him win the final, and move back to the top of the world rankings in the process. This final against Alexander Zverev, the German 20-year-old who now stands at No 3 in the world, appeared to be heading for an upset early in the deciding set. After dominating the opening set so emphatically that it occupied only 32 minutes, Nadal then lost seven of the next nine games. Zverev was apparently heading for a fourth ATP Masters 1000 title. He had established a 1-6, 6-1, 3-1 advantage when the rain arrived. The players then came back on for a single game, which saw Nadal hold serve for 2-3, before a second shower arrived. After that, it was one-way traffic. Nadal reeled off the final four games to take the decider 6-3 and claim this title for the eighth time. “If we analyse now, of course we can say that the rain delay helped me,” admitted Nadal afterwards. “But really, in my opinion, what helped me is that I came back with a clear idea in terms of tactical issues and in terms of decisions that I take.” Nadal thus extended his dominance over Zverev – who will be the second seed at the French Open in a week’s time – to five wins from as many matches. As Zverev admitted afterwards, the exertions of the past fortnight – which also saw him lift the title in Madrid – caught up with him in the end. “Next time, I have to find a way to come out better after the rain and play better tennis,” he said. “The fatigue I had because of the last few weeks – because of the break, it took me very long time to get activated again.” Back on top: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates with the trophy after victory in his Mens Final match against Alexander Zverev of Germany Credit: Getty This result means that Nadal once again leapfrogs the absent Roger Federer and moves back to the top of the rankings for the sixth time in his glorious career. Even so, he will need to claim the Coupe des Mousquetaires in Paris for an 11th time if he wants to hold on to the No 1 spot going into the grass-court season. That's how it's done: Elina Svitolina of Ukraine kisses the trophy in celebration after the Women's Singles Credit: Getty In the women’s final in Rome, fourth seed Elina Svitolina ran out a 6-0, 6-4 winner over world No 1 Simona Halep. Again, fatigue from previous rounds played a part. Halep admitted that she started out feeling stiff after Saturday’s 2hr 23min semi-final against Maria Sharapova. “The match for me yesterday, every time I play against Sharapova, the ball is coming very flat and I bend a lot so my back gets a little bit sore,” said Halep. “Today, I was not fresh enough to start the match better.”ends
As everyone had expected at the start of the week, Rafael Nadal left his traditional bite-mark on the Rome Masters trophy on Sunday. But no-one predicted that he would need a perfectly timed rain-shower to help him win the final, and move back to the top of the world rankings in the process. This final against Alexander Zverev, the German 20-year-old who now stands at No 3 in the world, appeared to be heading for an upset early in the deciding set. After dominating the opening set so emphatically that it occupied only 32 minutes, Nadal then lost seven of the next nine games. Zverev was apparently heading for a fourth ATP Masters 1000 title. He had established a 1-6, 6-1, 3-1 advantage when the rain arrived. The players then came back on for a single game, which saw Nadal hold serve for 2-3, before a second shower arrived. After that, it was one-way traffic. Nadal reeled off the final four games to take the decider 6-3 and claim this title for the eighth time. “If we analyse now, of course we can say that the rain delay helped me,” admitted Nadal afterwards. “But really, in my opinion, what helped me is that I came back with a clear idea in terms of tactical issues and in terms of decisions that I take.” Nadal thus extended his dominance over Zverev – who will be the second seed at the French Open in a week’s time – to five wins from as many matches. As Zverev admitted afterwards, the exertions of the past fortnight – which also saw him lift the title in Madrid – caught up with him in the end. “Next time, I have to find a way to come out better after the rain and play better tennis,” he said. “The fatigue I had because of the last few weeks – because of the break, it took me very long time to get activated again.” Back on top: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates with the trophy after victory in his Mens Final match against Alexander Zverev of Germany Credit: Getty This result means that Nadal once again leapfrogs the absent Roger Federer and moves back to the top of the rankings for the sixth time in his glorious career. Even so, he will need to claim the Coupe des Mousquetaires in Paris for an 11th time if he wants to hold on to the No 1 spot going into the grass-court season. That's how it's done: Elina Svitolina of Ukraine kisses the trophy in celebration after the Women's Singles Credit: Getty In the women’s final in Rome, fourth seed Elina Svitolina ran out a 6-0, 6-4 winner over world No 1 Simona Halep. Again, fatigue from previous rounds played a part. Halep admitted that she started out feeling stiff after Saturday’s 2hr 23min semi-final against Maria Sharapova. “The match for me yesterday, every time I play against Sharapova, the ball is coming very flat and I bend a lot so my back gets a little bit sore,” said Halep. “Today, I was not fresh enough to start the match better.”ends
Rafael Nadal is world tennis number one again after Rome Masters win
As everyone had expected at the start of the week, Rafael Nadal left his traditional bite-mark on the Rome Masters trophy on Sunday. But no-one predicted that he would need a perfectly timed rain-shower to help him win the final, and move back to the top of the world rankings in the process. This final against Alexander Zverev, the German 20-year-old who now stands at No 3 in the world, appeared to be heading for an upset early in the deciding set. After dominating the opening set so emphatically that it occupied only 32 minutes, Nadal then lost seven of the next nine games. Zverev was apparently heading for a fourth ATP Masters 1000 title. He had established a 1-6, 6-1, 3-1 advantage when the rain arrived. The players then came back on for a single game, which saw Nadal hold serve for 2-3, before a second shower arrived. After that, it was one-way traffic. Nadal reeled off the final four games to take the decider 6-3 and claim this title for the eighth time. “If we analyse now, of course we can say that the rain delay helped me,” admitted Nadal afterwards. “But really, in my opinion, what helped me is that I came back with a clear idea in terms of tactical issues and in terms of decisions that I take.” Nadal thus extended his dominance over Zverev – who will be the second seed at the French Open in a week’s time – to five wins from as many matches. As Zverev admitted afterwards, the exertions of the past fortnight – which also saw him lift the title in Madrid – caught up with him in the end. “Next time, I have to find a way to come out better after the rain and play better tennis,” he said. “The fatigue I had because of the last few weeks – because of the break, it took me very long time to get activated again.” Back on top: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates with the trophy after victory in his Mens Final match against Alexander Zverev of Germany Credit: Getty This result means that Nadal once again leapfrogs the absent Roger Federer and moves back to the top of the rankings for the sixth time in his glorious career. Even so, he will need to claim the Coupe des Mousquetaires in Paris for an 11th time if he wants to hold on to the No 1 spot going into the grass-court season. That's how it's done: Elina Svitolina of Ukraine kisses the trophy in celebration after the Women's Singles Credit: Getty In the women’s final in Rome, fourth seed Elina Svitolina ran out a 6-0, 6-4 winner over world No 1 Simona Halep. Again, fatigue from previous rounds played a part. Halep admitted that she started out feeling stiff after Saturday’s 2hr 23min semi-final against Maria Sharapova. “The match for me yesterday, every time I play against Sharapova, the ball is coming very flat and I bend a lot so my back gets a little bit sore,” said Halep. “Today, I was not fresh enough to start the match better.”ends
As everyone had expected at the start of the week, Rafael Nadal left his traditional bite-mark on the Rome Masters trophy on Sunday. But no-one predicted that he would need a perfectly timed rain-shower to help him win the final, and move back to the top of the world rankings in the process. This final against Alexander Zverev, the German 20-year-old who now stands at No 3 in the world, appeared to be heading for an upset early in the deciding set. After dominating the opening set so emphatically that it occupied only 32 minutes, Nadal then lost seven of the next nine games. Zverev was apparently heading for a fourth ATP Masters 1000 title. He had established a 1-6, 6-1, 3-1 advantage when the rain arrived. The players then came back on for a single game, which saw Nadal hold serve for 2-3, before a second shower arrived. After that, it was one-way traffic. Nadal reeled off the final four games to take the decider 6-3 and claim this title for the eighth time. “If we analyse now, of course we can say that the rain delay helped me,” admitted Nadal afterwards. “But really, in my opinion, what helped me is that I came back with a clear idea in terms of tactical issues and in terms of decisions that I take.” Nadal thus extended his dominance over Zverev – who will be the second seed at the French Open in a week’s time – to five wins from as many matches. As Zverev admitted afterwards, the exertions of the past fortnight – which also saw him lift the title in Madrid – caught up with him in the end. “Next time, I have to find a way to come out better after the rain and play better tennis,” he said. “The fatigue I had because of the last few weeks – because of the break, it took me very long time to get activated again.” Back on top: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates with the trophy after victory in his Mens Final match against Alexander Zverev of Germany Credit: Getty This result means that Nadal once again leapfrogs the absent Roger Federer and moves back to the top of the rankings for the sixth time in his glorious career. Even so, he will need to claim the Coupe des Mousquetaires in Paris for an 11th time if he wants to hold on to the No 1 spot going into the grass-court season. That's how it's done: Elina Svitolina of Ukraine kisses the trophy in celebration after the Women's Singles Credit: Getty In the women’s final in Rome, fourth seed Elina Svitolina ran out a 6-0, 6-4 winner over world No 1 Simona Halep. Again, fatigue from previous rounds played a part. Halep admitted that she started out feeling stiff after Saturday’s 2hr 23min semi-final against Maria Sharapova. “The match for me yesterday, every time I play against Sharapova, the ball is coming very flat and I bend a lot so my back gets a little bit sore,” said Halep. “Today, I was not fresh enough to start the match better.”ends
Rafael Nadal is world tennis number one again after Rome Masters win
As everyone had expected at the start of the week, Rafael Nadal left his traditional bite-mark on the Rome Masters trophy on Sunday. But no-one predicted that he would need a perfectly timed rain-shower to help him win the final, and move back to the top of the world rankings in the process. This final against Alexander Zverev, the German 20-year-old who now stands at No 3 in the world, appeared to be heading for an upset early in the deciding set. After dominating the opening set so emphatically that it occupied only 32 minutes, Nadal then lost seven of the next nine games. Zverev was apparently heading for a fourth ATP Masters 1000 title. He had established a 1-6, 6-1, 3-1 advantage when the rain arrived. The players then came back on for a single game, which saw Nadal hold serve for 2-3, before a second shower arrived. After that, it was one-way traffic. Nadal reeled off the final four games to take the decider 6-3 and claim this title for the eighth time. “If we analyse now, of course we can say that the rain delay helped me,” admitted Nadal afterwards. “But really, in my opinion, what helped me is that I came back with a clear idea in terms of tactical issues and in terms of decisions that I take.” Nadal thus extended his dominance over Zverev – who will be the second seed at the French Open in a week’s time – to five wins from as many matches. As Zverev admitted afterwards, the exertions of the past fortnight – which also saw him lift the title in Madrid – caught up with him in the end. “Next time, I have to find a way to come out better after the rain and play better tennis,” he said. “The fatigue I had because of the last few weeks – because of the break, it took me very long time to get activated again.” Back on top: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates with the trophy after victory in his Mens Final match against Alexander Zverev of Germany Credit: Getty This result means that Nadal once again leapfrogs the absent Roger Federer and moves back to the top of the rankings for the sixth time in his glorious career. Even so, he will need to claim the Coupe des Mousquetaires in Paris for an 11th time if he wants to hold on to the No 1 spot going into the grass-court season. That's how it's done: Elina Svitolina of Ukraine kisses the trophy in celebration after the Women's Singles Credit: Getty In the women’s final in Rome, fourth seed Elina Svitolina ran out a 6-0, 6-4 winner over world No 1 Simona Halep. Again, fatigue from previous rounds played a part. Halep admitted that she started out feeling stiff after Saturday’s 2hr 23min semi-final against Maria Sharapova. “The match for me yesterday, every time I play against Sharapova, the ball is coming very flat and I bend a lot so my back gets a little bit sore,” said Halep. “Today, I was not fresh enough to start the match better.”ends
Mischa Zverev suffered a first-round exit in the Geneva Open on the day which his younger brother lost to Rafael Nadal in Rome.
Double whammy for Zverevs as Mischa bows out in Geneva
Mischa Zverev suffered a first-round exit in the Geneva Open on the day which his younger brother lost to Rafael Nadal in Rome.
Germany's Alexander Zverev returns the ball to Spain's Rafael Nadal during their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Germany's Alexander Zverev returns the ball to Spain's Rafael Nadal during their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Germany's Alexander Zverev in their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Nadal won 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Germany's Alexander Zverev in their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Nadal won 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina holds the trophy after winning her final match against Romania's Simona Halep at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina holds the trophy after winning her final match against Romania's Simona Halep at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina celebrates after winning her final match against Romania's Simona Halep at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina celebrates after winning her final match against Romania's Simona Halep at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Spain's Rafael Nadal holds his head after beating Germany's Alexander Zverev in their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Nadal won 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Spain's Rafael Nadal holds his head after beating Germany's Alexander Zverev in their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Nadal won 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina returns the ball to Romania's Simona Halep during the final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina returns the ball to Romania's Simona Halep during the final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Germany's Alexander Zverev during their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Germany's Alexander Zverev during their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Spain's Rafael Nadal bites the trophy after beating Germany's Alexander Zverev in the final match of the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Nadal won 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Spain's Rafael Nadal bites the trophy after beating Germany's Alexander Zverev in the final match of the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Nadal won 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina returns the ball to Romania's Simona Halep during the final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina returns the ball to Romania's Simona Halep during the final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina celebrates after defeating Romania's Simona Halep during their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina celebrates after defeating Romania's Simona Halep during their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina kisses the trophy after winning her final match against Simona Halep at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina kisses the trophy after winning her final match against Simona Halep at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Spain's Rafael Nadal hugs Germany's Alexander Zverev, face to camera, at the end of their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Nadal won 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Spain's Rafael Nadal hugs Germany's Alexander Zverev, face to camera, at the end of their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Nadal won 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
First placed, Ukraine's Elina Svitolina, right, and second placed Romania's Simona Halep pose for photographers at the end of their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
First placed, Ukraine's Elina Svitolina, right, and second placed Romania's Simona Halep pose for photographers at the end of their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts after winning a point to Germany's Alexander Zverev during their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts after winning a point to Germany's Alexander Zverev during their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Romania's Simona Halep returns the ball to Ukraine's Elina Svitolina during the final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Romania's Simona Halep returns the ball to Ukraine's Elina Svitolina during the final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Spain's Rafael Nadal kisses the trophy after beating Germany's Alexander Zverev in the final match of the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Nadal won 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Spain's Rafael Nadal kisses the trophy after beating Germany's Alexander Zverev in the final match of the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Nadal won 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina celebrates after defeating Romania's Simona Halep during their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
With Rome title, Nadal back on track entering French Open
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina celebrates after defeating Romania's Simona Halep during their final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Svitolina won 6-0, 6-4. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Feel the strain: Alexander Zverev was three games from victory before Nadal hit back (AFP Photo/Filippo MONTEFORTE)
Feel the strain: Alexander Zverev was three games from victory before Nadal hit back
Feel the strain: Alexander Zverev was three games from victory before Nadal hit back (AFP Photo/Filippo MONTEFORTE)
Comeback king: Rafael Nadal poses with the trophy (AFP Photo/Filippo MONTEFORTE)
Comeback king: Rafael Nadal poses with the trophy
Comeback king: Rafael Nadal poses with the trophy (AFP Photo/Filippo MONTEFORTE)
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Germany's Alexander Zverev celebrates during the final against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Germany's Alexander Zverev celebrates during the final against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 The Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi wears a raincover in the stands during a rain delay in the final between Spain's Rafael Nadal and Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 The Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi wears a raincover in the stands during a rain delay in the final between Spain's Rafael Nadal and Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal poses with the winners trophy and Germany's Alexander Zverev poses with the runner up trophy after Nadal won the final REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal poses with the winners trophy and Germany's Alexander Zverev poses with the runner up trophy after Nadal won the final REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Germany's Alexander Zverev in action during the final against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Germany's Alexander Zverev in action during the final against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with champagne after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with champagne after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile

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