Roland Garros Re-Lived 2009: When Rafa lost and Roger won

The 2009 French Open is best remembered for Rafael Nadal’s first loss at Roland Garros and for Roger Federer’s only title there. The man at the centre of both storylines, Robin Soderling, joins us for an exclusive interview.

Soderling talks about how he stepped on court against Nadal with belief that he could win despite losing 6-1, 6-0 to him in Rome a few weeks earlier, how he respected but didn’t worship Nadal, what it felt like to be the first man to beat him in Paris, and the way in which Federer was a more difficult opponent for him in the final.

Was Nadal struggling with an injury that year? Would Federer have ever won Roland Garros if Soderling hadn’t beaten Nadal? How did he nervously get over the line? And what is Soderling’s place in tennis history? He opens up about his struggles with glandular fever, his attempts to come back, and the equal parts sadness and relief he felt when he finally decided to retire.

The Tennis Podcast is presented by Catherine Whitaker and David Law, featuring Matt Roberts. It is produced weekly year-round, and daily during the Grand Slam tournaments. It is crowdfunded by listeners each December.  

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ROLAND GARROS RE-LIVED *

We are producing daily shows throughout the original Roland Garros dates, looking back on 15 classic matches and stories from the tournament’s history. Tomorrow we turn our attention to Novak Djokovic and his attempts to complete the career Grand Slam at the French Open. His 2015 final vs Wawrinka and his 2016 final vs Murray can both be seen in full on YouTube. We will also be doing editions for Wimbledon.

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