Swedish tennis needs a star like Zlatan, says Soederling


(Reuters) – For many years, tennis gamers from Sweden traveled to Roland Garros with excessive expectations however the sport goes to wish an iconic determine like soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic if they’re to regain their former glory, Robin Soederling has informed Reuters.

The 2-time French Open finalist, who misplaced to Roger Federer in 2009 and Rafael Nadal in 2010, was talking forward of the French Open, the occasion the place his compatriots notched a few of their largest successes from the late 1970s to 2010.

“It began with Bjorn Borg, we had an enormous star and tennis was extremely popular. Success breeds curiosity, and tennis was featured quite a bit within the media, and I believe lots of children had tennis as their first selection of sport,” Soederling defined.

“We had (Stefan) Edberg, (Mats) Wilander and the remaining, after which the subsequent technology, and that was the rationale I began. There was at all times Swedes to observe at tournaments. I didn’t have a favourite participant however I favored to observe the Swedes,” the 33-year-old stated.

“Success breeds success, so I believe we’re going to see the identical factor in soccer with Zlatan (Ibrahimovic). In numerous years there’ll be lots of children who began taking part in due to him.”

The present largest hope for the Swedes is 22-year-old Elias Ymer, who certified for the French Open by beating Prajnesh Gunneswaran on Friday.

Ymer, who’s coached by Soederling and is simply exterior the highest 100 within the ATP world rankings, is hoping to observe within the footsteps of Bjorn Borg who claimed the title at Roland Garros 4 years in a row from 1978 to 1981.

When Borg did not make the ultimate in 1982, it was left to his compatriot Mats Wilander to lift the trophy after defeating Argentina’s Guillermo Vilas within the ultimate.

Wilander went on to win once more in 1985 and 1988 and he misplaced the ultimate in 1987, with fellow Swedes Mikael Pernfors and Stefan Edberg additionally ending as runners-up throughout a golden decade for Swedish tennis.


Since then it’s been slim pickings for the Swedes, with a shedding look by Magnus Norman within the 2000 ultimate and consecutive defeats for Soederling the closest they’ve come to successful since Wilander’s 1988 victory.

Many in Swedish tennis thought that Soederling himself is likely to be that shining mild that may persuade children to show to tennis, however his profession was reduce quick by sickness and he performed his final match aged simply 26.

Soederling says that the competitors is way more durable lately and youngsters are selecting different sports activities like ice hockey and soccer, however that there’s nonetheless hope for tennis.

“I believe the Swedish individuals have been spoiled in earlier years, having so many stars throughout our heyday, however there are children of 14, 15 who’re very proficient and we are going to see within the coming years the way it goes for them,” Soederling stated.

“Even when we have now developed throughout the affiliation and as coaches, we have to entice essentially the most proficient athletes to the game of tennis.”

Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Enhancing by Christian Radnedge

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