Former Swedish tennis player Robin Soderling has revealed a decade ago he was battling with mental health issues and his problems with anxiety and panic attacks got so bad that the suicidal thoughts crossed his mind. In 2009, former world No.
4 Soderling created one of the biggest shocks ever when he became the first player ever to beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open. The Swede ended back-to-back runner-up at Roland Garros in 2009 and 2010 but the win over Nadal brought a lot of attention to his name and the pressure was just too much for him.
"I had constant anxiety, it gnawed at me inside. I sat in the apartment and stared blankly, the smallest noise made me panic. When a letter fell on the doormat, I panicked so much that I fell to the floor. The phone rang I was shaking with fear," Soderling told Radio Sweden, as revealed on Ubitennis.
"There were only three players I could lose to. The rest I had to beat them, if I would feel bad, a failure, a lose."
Soderling felt very bad after winning his last title
Just before he was diagnosed with mononucleosis in 2011, Soderling demolished David Ferrer 6-2 6-2 in the Bastad final to claim what turned out to be the last title of his career.
"I panicked, I started crying. I was crying and crying. I went back to the hotel and threw myself on the bed, every time I thought about going on the court, I panicked. For the first time I felt that regardless of how much I wanted, I couldn’t, not even if they put a gun to my temple,” Soderling recalled how he felt upon returning to his home in Monte Carlo shortly after winning Bastad.
Soderling revealed that he "googled how to commit suicide" as he was thinking at the time that ''anything was better than this life in hell.' ' However, the Swede underlined that he never intended to commit a suicide.
"It is very rare to talk about the psychic problems that great athletes have in sports and this is why I wanted to take a step forward and talk about it. To those who dedicate themselves to sport and their entire environment I tell them to train hard and take it very easy.
From here I tell them to play sports because they feel comfortable doing it and not because of pressure. If you are succeeding, try to keep the perspective and try not to be affected much. If you succeed, everything will be fine,” Soderling concluded.