I guess if you’re not in the “Big 3,” you can easily slip under the radar as far as the spotlight can be concerned, at least that’s the case with top Swede Robin Soderling. There has not been much of anything of his whereabouts and playing activity on the ATP world tour.
The last time he played competitive tennis was way back in July of 2011 at the SkiStar Swedish Open, where Soderling did win the tournament – as he should, since it’s his motherland. But he’s pulled out of every tennis tournament since then, sad really, he’s a good player.
What’s the deal with Robin Soderling anyway? Is he injured? Is he ill? Retired? Dead? Well, he’s certainly not dead nor retired! From what I’ve gathered and found is that he’s another victim of mononucleosis (Roddick, Federer, etc have all suffered from mono). According to Soderling prior to the start of the 2011 US Open, he started feeling ill and worn out, and just a general lack of energy. The doctors checked him out and confirmed that he did have mono.
Unfortunately for tennis, mono has dropped the heavy hitting Swede in the rankings, going from 6 in the world to currently 12 in the world. However, his ranking points are protected after petitioning the CEO of the ATP due to illness/injury for 6 months:
A player may petition the CEO for an Entry Protection when he is physically injured and does not compete in any tennis event for a minimum period of six months. The written petition must be received within six months of his last tournament.
The Entry Protection shall be a position in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, as determined by the player’s average South African Airways ATP Rankings position during the first three months of his injury. The Entry Protection shall be for entry into the main draw or qualifying competition or for special exempt consideration. The Entry Protection shall not be used for seeding purposes, Lucky Loser consideration or for entry into the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
The Entry Protection shall be in effect for either the first nine tournaments that the player competes in using the Entry Protection (excluding wild cards and entries as a Direct Acceptance with his current position in the South African Airways ATP Rankings) or for the period up to nine months beginning with the first tennis event that the player competes in, whichever occurs first.
I have two questions about this whole situation; first, the obvious question, will Robin Soderling ever return the ATP world tour? I certainly hope he does, I really enjoy watching him play. He has some very heavy groundstrokes (though his service ball toss leaves a bit to be desired) and he’s no stranger to showing his emotions on court, which I always enjoy seeing. In all likeliness, Soderling will probably make his return to the ATP world tour at the beginning of the 2012 tennis season.
The less obvious question still remains, why are so many tennis players contracting mononucleosis??? It’s known more as the “Kissing disease,” but it’s not like the players are all making out, so what is it? I’m not sure, considering I’m not a medical professional, though my guess would have to be that space the players share – locker rooms, airplanes, hotels, elevators, etc. – has a lot to do with it. More obvious would be the end of match handshake and hug; that’s where I would assume the transmission of the disease occurs.
Hopefully Robin Soderling makes a full and speedy recovery, the sport of tennis misses him.