Robin Soderling was a Grand Slam finalist and top five in the ATP rankings but in summer 2011 he mysteriously vanished from the tour. So what happened to him?
Soderling enjoyed some of the finest results of his career in 2009, stunning Rafael Nadal at the French Open and going on to reach his first Grand Slam final, losing to Roger Federer. The 6'4 hard hitting Swede went on to establish himself inside the world's top five, winning his first Masters title at the 2010 Paris Masters.
2011 was going well for him as he picked up four titles and made the last eight in Roland Garros (losing to Nadal). However he was forced to withdraw from the summer hard-court events of Montreal and Cincinnati with a wrist injury and during a trip to the doctor, he was diagnosed with the dreaded mononucleosis (more commonly known as glandular fever).
'Mono' has also afflicted Roger Federer and Andy Roddick in recent years but while both players made extremely swift recoveries, Soderling's entire career has been put on halt.
He did not play again in 2011 and steadily announced his withdrawal from all of the big events in 2012. Right now his slow recovery means that the 28 year old is yet to set a date on his return to tennis.
“The hope, the hopelessness, then the hope again, then the hopelessness - that really kills me,” Soderling has said. “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. Then I do a bit too much and wake up one morning not feeling well again. Overall it’s getting better but I’m not as desperate to come back anymore tomorrow. I will give it a shot, of course, but I learned to live with the thought that maybe it will not be possible. Whatever happens, I will feel I did all I could.”
In the meantime, Soderling and his girlfriend, Jenni Mostrom have started a family, Mostrom giving birth to a daughter in September 2012.