Robin Soderling says it's "incredible" that Big 3 have stayed at the top for so long, claims they keep pushing each other to new heights

Novak Djokovic (L) and Rafael Nadal
Novak Djokovic (L) and Rafael Nadal
Rudra Biswas

Robin Soderling recently gave his thoughts on a number of topics, ranging from the Big 3's stranglehold over men's tennis to what it takes to beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.

Speaking in an interview with Ouest France, Soderling said it was "incredible" that the trio of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are still at the top of the game.

"Of course, we are always a little surprised when we see a player who will soon be 40 years old like Roger always being on top. But I think Rafa, Roger and Novak are the greatest players in history, and they play at the same time. What has been going on in tennis for 15 years is incredible," Soderling.

The Swede said that although the younger players have proven their mettle, they still have a long way to go before they can usurp Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

"I'm not surprised, but in a way, they've (Big 3) always been able to take care of their bodies to stay healthy, even though Roger has been struggling for the last few months," Soderling said. "New players are coming but they are so exceptional that I am not surprised to see them always at the top of the rankings."

Soderling believes that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have raised their games to incredible heights to continue competing with each other. He also suggested that the only reason the Big 3 are still playing tennis is because they are chasing the all-time Grand Slam record.

Federer and Nadal are currently tied on 20 Slams, while Djokovic is not too far behind on 18.

"If I had been told they would still be up there 10 years ago, I would have believed it," Soderling said. "All three won it all and yet they still have the motivation to do more. I think they are pushing each other. They probably wouldn't have continued if one or the other hadn't existed. I think they all want to be the one who wins the most Grand Slams in the end."

It has become a legend: Robin Soderling on beating Rafael Nadal at RG in 2009

Rafael Nadal (L) and Robin Soderling after their Round-of-16 encounter at Roland Garros 2009
Rafael Nadal (L) and Robin Soderling after their Round-of-16 encounter at Roland Garros 2009

Robin Soderling was also asked to relive his upset victory over Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in 2009. The Swede, who is one of just two players to have defeated Nadal at the French Open, said that over a decade later, he still gets congratulated for the shock win.

"A lot of people come to me and say: 'Oh I remember the game where you beat Rafael Nadal'. I know very well that they are talking about this round of 16 at Roland Garros, but to joke, I ask them: 'Which one?' Because I beat him several times. It has become a kind of legend."

The Swede said the shock win over Rafael Nadal may have overshadowed the rest of his achievements.

"There are so many other things that I have achieved that I am very proud of," Soderling said. "I think it says more about Rafael Nadal than it does about myself after all. If there had been seven or eight players who had beaten him at Roland Garros, we wouldn't talk to me about it, or less."
"He would have won five or six times, which would be incredible. But he only lost twice and it shows what a legend he is. I don't think we'll ever see that again. It's crazy." Soderling said.
Edited by Arvind Sriram
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