Robin Sodering has taken on a new role in the world of tennis after being appointed the captain of the Swedish Davis Cup team on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old takes over from Johan Hedsberg, who has held the role since January 2017. Soderling is a former world No.4 player and the last player from his country to contest a grand slam final at the 2010 French Open. After winning 10 ATP titles, his career came to an abrupt end after he failed to recover from a long-term illness. Soderling was hit by mononucleosis in 2011, a viral illness also known as glandular fever. He spent four years away from the tour before officially retiring in 2015.
“Being able to lead the best players in the country is an honour, so it was a pretty easy decision.” He told tennis.se.
“I have not thought about this, but when the question came, I immediately felt that I wanted to do this. I want it to go well for Swedish tennis.”
Sweden has won the Davis Cup seven times with their most recent triumph occurring back in 1998. They are currently playing in Group I of the Europe/Africa zone. This season the team managed to reach the World Group playoffs, but suffered a 4-0 defeat to Colombia. Sweden last played in the top tier of the competition back in 2012.
Soderling had been working with Elias Ymer, who is currently ranked 176th in the world. He is the brother of world No.76 Mikael Ymer, who is Sweden’s top men’s player. The reason for the end of their collaboration was because Soderling wanted to spend more time with his family. He is married with two children under the age of 10.
“I worked with Elias Ymer for a year and thought it was fun and educational. It was as close as you can get to your own career when playing yourself.” He said.
“But it became too much for me with over 30 trips a year. It didn’t work with my family situation. Maybe I listened too much to “Fidde” (Fredrik Rosengren) who said he had not seen his children in 25 years. I wasn’t prepared for that. I received questions after the assignment with Elias but declined no.’
“This assignment as the Davis Cup captain does not mean as many trips and given that I like tennis overall and above all Swedish tennis, the choice was easy.”
Soderling’s first test will be in March when his country takes on Chile on home soil. A team who has two top 100 players in singles. The winner will be moved into the 18-team Davis Cup finals, which was launched for the first time this year.
“Sweden has certainly not been favourites in all those matches. They have done really well.” He stated.
“If you look at the (Swedish) team, we have a good team with Mikael and Elias Ymer even though we are not super wide overall compared to many other countries that have several players in the top 100. But we are competitive and actually play for a place in Madrid against the world best team.”
During his playing career, Soderling played in 10 Davis Cup ties and won 14 out of 18 matches.
Spain to face Russia and Ecuador in Davis Cup Finals next November
The draw of the 2020 Davis Cup Finals in Madrid took place at the ITF offices in London on 12th March. The Davis Cup Finals will begin in Madrid on 23rd November 2020.
Defending champions Spain has been drawn in the Group A against Russia and Ecuador. Last year Rafael Nadal guided the Spanish team to the triumph in the final against Canada at the Caja Magica.
This year’s ATP Cup champions Serbia will face Germany and Austria in a Group A, which features three top 10 players Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev. Djokovic beat Thiem in this year’s final of the Australian Open.
In the Group E the USA will take on Italy in a re-match of last year’s late round-robin match. These two teams were drawn against Colombia.Last year’s finalists Canada will meet Sweden and Kazakhstan.
Three former Davis Cup champions France, Great Britain and Czech Republic have been drawn in Group C.
Croatia will clash against Australia and Hungary in Group D.
John Millman Praises ‘Special’ Atmosphere After Australia’s Davis Cup Triumph
John Millman praised the ‘special’ Davis Cup atmosphere in Adelaide after their 3-1 win over Brazil.
John Millman praised the ‘special’ Davis Cup atmosphere in Adelaide this weekend after Australia booked their spot in the Davis Cup Finals.
As Australia headed into the second day with a 2-0 advantage, many people expected a comfortable 3-0 win for the hosts but that turned out not to be the case.
Marcelo Demoliner and Felipe Meligini Rodrigues Alves gave Brazil hope after an epic 2 hour and 54 minute win over James Duckworth and John Peers.
A 5-7 7-5 7-6(6) victory for the Brazilians saw the tie taken into a fourth rubber as John Millman knew he had to step up to seal victory for the Aussies.
Another sensational match as Millman battled past Thiago Monteiro 6-7(6) 7-6(3) 7-6(3) to secure a thrilling win and Australia’s place in November’s Davis Cup Finals.
After sealing the win, Millman praised the special atmosphere in Adelaide over the two days, “To have an experience like this, that’s better than just about any experience I’ve had,” Millman told Tennis Australia.
“It was something pretty special this weekend. I enjoyed every second of it. It was so much fun. It was an emotional rollercoaster and we’re so happy to get through. To do it with these boys, it’s been a really special week.”
As for captain Lleyton Hewitt, this win typified what he loves about the home and away format that the Davis Cup Qualifiers shows, “There were ebbs and flows in all the matches. It could have gone either way,” Hewitt said.
“That is what Davis Cup is about and that’s why I love the home and away format. To have the atmosphere and the crowd involvement, it was a lot of fun for us to be out there.
“For these guys to play in front of their home fans again, they don’t get to do it throughout the year that often. I’m just thrilled for them that they get to enjoy it and be part of it. It is something really special.”
Next for Hewitt and his Australian team will be the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid, where they will join last year’s semi-finalists Spain, Canada, Great Britain and Russia as well as wildcards Serbia and France.
Also qualifying for November’s showpiece were Ecuador and Kazakhstan after their respective wins over Japan and the Netherlands.
Kei Nishikori Out Of Davis Cup In Latest Blow To Japan
More bad news for fans of the injury-stricken player.
Former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori has hinted that he may not be able to return to the tour until the clay season after withdrawing from his country’s upcoming Davis Cup tie against Ecuador.
Nishikori, who is currently ranked 31st in the world, had been in Miki training ahead of his country’s clash in the team competition. Raising hopes that he will be making a return this weekend. However, he has now confirmed that he is not fully at the level he needs to be to play. The 30-year-old hasn’t played a competitive match since September after undergoing surgery on his right elbow.
“Physically I’m not at my max.” AFP news quoted Nishikori as saying on Thursday.
“I want to return to competition after I improve my strength and become fully confident.
“It might be after Miami or during the clay season,” he added.
Japan will now enter their tie without their two top ranked players on the tour. Another notable absentee is world No.48 Yoshihito Nishioka, who has pulled out of the competition over coronavirus concerns. Yesterday the country recorded it’s 1000th infection of the illness, which is also known as Covid-19. The outbreak has affected many public events in Japan, but officials are confident that this year’s Olympic Games will go ahead as planned.
As a result of the outbreak, the Davis Cup clash will take place behind closed doors. The decision was jointly made between the ITF, Japanese Tennis Association and the country’s government. Baseball matches in the country have also been played without a crowd and the football J-League has been postponed.
“I am grateful just to be held while many sports are being cancelled.” Yasutaka Uchiyama told reporters.
“I want to get results firmly for the fans who support me in front of the TV. ”
Uchiyama and Go Soeda will be the two players who are playing singles in the tie against Ecuador instead of Nishikori and Nishioka.
Another Davis Cup tie affected by the Coronavirus is Italy’s home tie with South Korea. The government announced on Wednesday that all sporting fixtures will be played behind closed doors until April 3rd. Italy is the worst affected country in Europe with more than 3000 cases.
During a recent interview with Ubitennis, the ITF has said that are monitoring the threat posed by Covid-19 to their tournaments on a ‘case by case’ basis and are liaising with the relevant authorities. The ITF is the body which runs the Davis Cup.
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