By Nick Georgandis
The last time Robin Soderling played a professional tennis match, he butchered world No. 6 David Ferrer 6-2, 6-2 to take the title at Bastad. In the same tournament, Soderling did not drop a single set. It was his fourth title of the year and he improved his record to 38-9. He was also ranked No. 5 in the world at the time.
That was July of 2011. Soderling has not returned to the court since, and has scarcely been seen, a bizarre mystery that seems to have slipped the cracks as the game has focused on the ups and downs of the "Big Four" of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and now, Andy Murray.
A simple wrist injury took Soderling out of Cincinnati in the summer of 2011, and he was diagnosed with mononucleosis shortly before the start of that year's US Open.
Mononucelosis is a disease that attacks the white blood cells of a person's immune system and results in tremendous fatigue. While seldom fatal, it can occasionally lead to chronic fatigue, which is exactly what it sounds like. Soderling announced in late 2011 that he would miss the start of the 2012 season, but there has been little from the giant Swede star since. In July 2012, he dropped out of the ATP rankings completely, having not competed in more than 12 months. Perhaps the only silver lining of 2012 was that Soderling and his wife Jenni became parents to a son.
Soderling's last major interview came with ESPN in late November of 2012, in which he believed his return was only a couple of months away.
"I feel really good, then I start to practice, and then I think maybe in a couple of months I can come back and I really believe it," Soderling told ESPN. "Then I do a bit too much and wake up one morning not feeling well again."
Soderling will turn 29 this August. He was about two weeks short of his 27th birthday the last time he took the court.
Posted: 3/6/2013 2:10:27 PM