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Soderling finally retires after long-running illness

December 25, 2015 15:43 IST

Robin Soderling smiles during a news conference in Stockholm

IMAGE: Robin Soderling smiles during a news conference in Stockholm. Photograph: Bertil Ericson/Scanpix Sweden/Reuters

Sweden's Robin Soderling, the player best-known for being the first man to beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open, has retired from professional tennis because of a long-running illness.

The 31-year-old, twice a runner-up at Roland Garros, has not played an ATP World Tour event since 2011 due to mononucleosis, an energy-sapping viral illness.

"Thank you so much for all your kind words. So sad I won't play professional tennis again, but reading all your msgs makes me feel a lot better," Soderling said on his Twitter account.

Soderling spent 10 years on the Tour, won 11 ATP titles and rose to world number four.

In 2009 he ended Nadal's domination in Paris with a stunning victory, only to lose to Roger Federer in the final -- Federer's only title at the claycourt grand slam. Nadal had his revenge a year later, in the final.

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