Soderling aims for glory

ABU DHABI - World No 5 Robin Soderling is hoping to improve on his best season to date and go one better and win a Grand Slam in the new season.

By James Jose

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Published: Fri 31 Dec 2010, 12:16 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:50 AM

The Swede won two singles titles and reached his second consecutive final at Roland Garros in 2010. “2010 was my best season so far and I’m confident that I can improve on that this year and stay injury free,” Soderling said at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex on Wednesday.

Soderling is part of a strong six-man field which will be fighting for the winner-takes-all $250,000 Mubadala World Tennis Championship. The Mubadala World Tennis Championship runs from Thursday to Saturday and will be played at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex. The Championship kicks off the tennis season.

“The focus is the big tournaments. I lost two Grand Slam finals which is not a good feeling. But I reached two finals so it showed I can be there and compete. I hopefully can win one finally. My dream is to atleast win one Grand Slam. I’ve been unlucky twice, so, maybe, I could be third time lucky,” said Soderling, who was runner-up to World No 1 Rafael Nadal in Abu Dhabi.

“It is going to be extremely tough. It is not just Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. There are 10 to 15 guys who can win. But I’m focussed. I’m trying to improve and become a better player. My goal is to improve my ranking. If I play well, it will fall into place. I played here the first time last year. It is great to start the season against such tough players,” he added.

The 26-year-old said that it was crucial to start the season well. “It is the start of the season and we haven’t played matches in a while. So it is very important to start the season well. I did well here last year and that helped. I will try to do my best and get couple of wins here,” he said.

He said that he has worked on a lot of things on his game and hoped that it will help in the new season. “I worked on a lot of things like trying to play a bit more aggressive, movement around the net, the slice and the defending game,” Soldering said.

Soderling faces Frenchman and World No13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second match of the day on Thursday and he said that it was good to play against tough players early on as it would help him prepare for the season. “Tsonga is a good player and it is going to be a tough match. But I’m glad it is tough because playing against such players, you couldn’t ask for a better start to the season,” he said.

He said that it was a great opportunity for kids in the UAE to pick up tennis, also thanks to the Tennis in Schools programme. “Kids here have a chance to watch some top quality tennis and get inspired and start playing. It was the same situation in Sweden years ago where kids watched and picked up the game,” said Soderling.

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