Robin Soderling's story cannot be written without remembering what happened on May 31, 2009 in Paris. Rafael Nadal, owner and lord of the clay court of Roland Garros, fell surprisingly against the Swede in the round of 16.
Even today, in the middle of 2020, only one more man has been able to repeat such a feat and that is none other than Novak Djokovic. Former World number 1 Andy Roddick blamed the weather that day for Rafael Nadal’s loss at the 2009 French Open.
He said, “Rafa does not play well in cold and clammy conditions. If you look at the weather that day, the conditions were misty and Rafa could not get the ball up. And Soderling was clubbing the ball because it had no bounce”.
“When I hear people saying that a slow clay-court is best for Rafa, I think they are dead wrong. He was playing in slow conditions in 2009 but he lost" - he added in a recent interview on Tennis Channel. In 2010, at the age of 24, the Spaniard became the seventh male player and the youngest of five in the Open Era to achieve the singles Career Grand Slam.
Nadal is the second male player after Andre Agassi to complete the singles Career Golden Slam, as well as the second male player after Mats Wilander to have won at least two Grand Slams on all three surfaces (grass, hard court and clay).
He has received the tour Sportsmanship Award three times and has been named the ATP Player of the Year five times and the ITF World Champion four times. In 2011, Nadal was named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year.