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Possible explanation to Soderling’s anger at recent losses – Wimbledon / Bastad…..

Posted by tennisplanet on July 20, 2010

It’s a syndrome that usually sits on the shoulder of most defending champions. Have a clue? No, you don’t!!!!!!!

Soldering has progressively improved his showing on the tour catapulting him as a Slam contender nearly overnight. His career high No. 5 ranking right behind the big four is a good reflection of his recent efforts. Just last year he was ranked as low as No. 26. He started this season at No. 8. Besides, he has reached three (OK two, Geeeezzz!!!) Slam finals. Before reaching the finals at Roland Garros last year, Soderling was eliminated in the second or the third round at ALL previous majors. But since then he not only made it to another final at Roland Garros this season, he has reached the quarters of all others with AO the only exception (opening round).

Additionally, the ONLY two players he has lost to in the majors since his first FO finals last year have been Nadal and Federer. AO being the only exception. While on this run, he has defeated Nadal, Federer, Davydenko, Berdych, Cilic among others – mind you this is only at the majors now.

That is quite a steep rise for a guy who was ranked as low as 59 just two years ago. With this rise comes expectations – not just from your own psyche but from fans and pundits too. But along with all that flows another juice just to test your mettle. It’s that feeling within you that takes all this brilliance and adds two and two resulting in an automatic and ‘taken for granted’ progression to the next step. Did you get that? No, you didn’t!!!!!!!!!!!!

The next step may have some roots in what you have done in the past but that’s not the ‘end all’. There are a host of other factors you have to rein in before reaching the next notch on the rope. These factors outweigh and out-muscle what you have achieved in the past so dramatically that relying on them disproportionately to expect a northward journey will not only result in massive disappointment it will actually force you to take two steps back past the frontier you have already conquered.

All that gets even more magnified and exacerbated when you are talking about moving from No. 5 to No 4 compared to the far easier jump from say No. 20 to No. 12 – under near-similar conditions. This is typically also the time when your appreciation of current and former greats of the game gets massively heightened – as knowledge of the intricacies and subtle stages their journey to the top entailed reveals itself to you through this painful process.

Soderling now expects to make a break through just because he did this or that in the last few months failing to recognize the ceiling which now demands a tweaking of a highly intangible kind instead of the very real backhand or forehand Xs and Os which got him thus far. If he fails to recognize the price he has to pay – in a hurry – and continues to demand the booty without commensurate effort he will become just another stat.

BTW this is what most defending champions at ANY endeavor face making the effort to repeat back to back ANYWHERE that much more difficult.

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7 Responses to “Possible explanation to Soderling’s anger at recent losses – Wimbledon / Bastad…..”

  1. Zorana said

    Many may not agree, but despite everything, for me he is still a totally average player…..

  2. Jenny said

    Good points, TP. It’s tough defending points and very disappointing if a player can’t defend them, more so with the added pressure as defending champion in a home tourney, the crowd was supporting him all the way. Most tennis fans can understand with sympathy how a player must feel. However, Robin cannot expect quality opponents to just roll over without a fight or be intimidated by him, he hasn’t earned that aura just yet. Magnus Norman has worked wonders to steady him, but it’s up to Robin now.

    • Vr said

      Agree Jenny, but after RF and RN(ugh), he is the next GS winner unless DelPo returns really fit -soon.

      • Jenny said

        Hi Vr, Right now, I personally don’t see him as the next slam winner other than the two R’s. I’m prepared to have eggs thrown at me if I’m wrong 🙂

    • D.S.G. said

      I agree with you, Jenny. I believe there is something askew with this man’s personality and he doesn’t have whatever it takes on the inside to overcome his defect to become a consistent winner. i.e. he doesn’t have what a champion needs and I don’t think he ever will.

      Just my very humble opinion.

      • Jenny said

        I can’t disagree with your thoughts, D.S.G. I try to be fair, nobody’s perfect, players do get tetchy with frustration in the heat of the moment from time to time, including Roger and Rafa, [I don’t have too many problems with an occasional outburst, tantrum or racquet smash] but in general players, even the volatile ones, get over it pretty quickly and they don’t carry it through a whole tourney when things aren’t going their way or if they meet resistance on the other side of the net.

  3. Ricke said

    I find it interesting how Robin can totally dominate opponents in a tournament, then he gets to the final and looks more like a top 25 player than number 5. Belief? Intimidation? Exhaustion?

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