Soderling finally retires after long-running illness

Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:12am EST
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LONDON (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 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.

(This story corrects ranking in paragraph four)

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Robin Soderling smiles during a news conference at the Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm May 21, 2012. REUTERS/Bertil Ericson/ Scanpix Sweden