Tennis News Wire -
Robin Soderling has battled through 18 months away from tennis with glandular fever, with the 28-year-old former No. 5 is no closer to a return date to tennis than he was when he first had to leave the ATP in July, 2011.
In the meantime, the 28-year-old and his partner have produced a daughter, born last September, with the Swede at least able to focus some fresh energy on something bedsides his disappointment at not being able to exercise his athletic trade.
"For the first time in my life I'm not putting myself first, which is a very strange feeling," Soderling told America's ESPN. "It's also nice. All my life I've been focusing on tennis, training, getting results.
Jenni and I wanted to have kids pretty early, but we waited. We always thought it was better in the future. Now I don't understand why we ever waited."
While he has tried to return to regular training schedules, fatigue and the nagging knowledge that he still does not feel on 100 percent have made comeback plans a moving target. But the only man to beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open has not given up hope, even standing now without an ATP ranking.
"I don't want my career to be finished yet. I feel I have at least five more years in me. But I still have a lot of things to be thankful for. The (mono fever) could have happened when I was 18 or 20. I was 27. Up to now I've had a good career."
The two-time French Open finalist admitted that it's the uncertainly on his career which is the hardest to take. "The hope, the hopelessness, then the hope again, then the hopelessness -- that really kills me," Soderling said. "I feel really good, then I start to practice, and then I think maybe in a couple of months I can come back and I really believe it. Then I do a bit too much and wake up one morning not feeling well again.
"In the past couple of months I had my best weeks and days, which gives me the hope, but I get setbacks and feel worse again," Soderling said. "Overall it's getting better but I'm not as desperate to come back anymore tomorrow.
I will give it a shot, of course, but I learned to live with the thought that maybe it will not be possible. Whatever happens, I will feel I did all I could."