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Soderling out of Australian Open

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Originally published on: 12/12/11 10:07

Robin Soderling has ruled himself out of next month’s Australian Open because of his ongoing struggle with mononucleosis.

The 27-year-old Swede has not played a match on the ATP Tour since July, when he captured his fourth title of the season in Bastad without dropping a set, as a result of the illness that forced him to pull out of the US Open at the last minute.

”My recovery has been longer than expected,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “I am feeling better with each day but it will still take some time before I can start practicing in full speed.  My goal is to start with practice in January and I hope for a tournament comeback in February but at this stage it is hard to know when and where. I hope my body will allow me to do that.”

Despite having struggled somewhat in Australia in the past, last year Soderling won the Brisbane International before achieving a career-best fourth round finish at the Melbourne slam. Afterwards, he returned to Europe and won nine matches on the bounce, picking up titles in Rotterdam and Marseille for a start to 2011 that was bettered only by world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

But the two-time French Open finalist, who fell to eventual champion Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros this year, looked out of sorts during the third Grand Slam of the year at Wimbledon, sneaking through an epic five-setter with Lleyton Hewitt after dropping the first two sets, before falling to a surprise defeat to Aussie teen Bernard Tomic in straight sets in the third round.

Despite safely negotiating David Ferrer to clinch the Bastad title a few weeks later, Soderling was struck down by the glandular fever that has bumped his ranking down to No.13 – the first time he has been out of the top 10 since October 2009.

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