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Doubles Vision - Influenced By Sweden's Tennis Boom

Bastad, Sweden

Robert Lindstedt© AFP/Getty ImagesRobert Lindstedt, 32, first made his Davis Cup debut for Sweden in 2007.

In our latest Doubles Vision blog, doubles player Robert Lindstedt looks back on his development as a Swedish junior and what influenced him to focus on the team game.

Hello there!  This is Robert Lindstedt writing to you.  I was asked to write a little something for the Doubles Vision blog and wasn’t sure if I was going to do it or not.  I asked what I could write about and if they were really sure they wanted to hear what I had to say.  You see, sometimes some would call me a “glass is half empty” kind of guy and I might not always say what people want to hear.  Sometimes some might even call me a “glass is 2/3 empty” kind of guy, but that is just my closest friends…

Anyway, for the most part of the year, I have been blogging on a Swedish Internet site.  My good friend Magnus Norman, former player and now coach of Robin Soderling, asked me if I was interested in blogging on a site he was creating.  So, some of the things I talk about here might have already been printed on my Swedish blog.  I hope my Swedish readers can see past this and still continue reading…

As of now I am back in Sweden after a tough loss in Shanghai against Frantisek Cermak and Michal Mertinak, a team we are fighting against to reach the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.  So it was not a good result for our campaign.  My doubles partner, Martin Damm, and I have a few more weeks to do what we can to reach our goal for the year before we split up, but it’s going to be tough.

Now, what should I write about?  They did give me fairly free hands to do what I wanted.  So do I want to write only this one time or a few more times?  I’ll just write a little about why I love playing doubles.  After all, this is Doubles Vision… 

It is kind of strange that I actually chose to play tennis.  You see, I love team sports.  I love being part of a team, always have and always will.  Since tennis is a very individual sport it is kind of strange that this was my choice.  But I guess growing up and watching my big brother play, I didn’t have a choice in the end after all.  Both my brother and my sister played and both were much more talented than me.  They got to No. 1 in Sweden in the junior rankings and I was the black sheep of the family with only a career-high No. 6 ranking among Swedish juniors.  So they were the ones that should have made it, not me.  But injuries stopped their careers and I’ve been doing what I can to stay away from the same fate.  That is why I might spend an extra minute or two on the physio tables at tournaments. Okay, okay, okay!!!  A few extra hours! 

I always loved being part of a team and I always had more success in doubles.  Like everybody else, I tried singles, but doubles always came easier to me.  Eventually I had to make the choice to give doubles a chance and I have not looked back since.  It has opened many doors for me and has given me the opportunity to reach my biggest dream: Davis Cup.  In tennis there is nothing bigger than Davis Cup, at least not for me.  As a guy who loves being part of a team, playing Davis Cup is as good as it gets.  The ultimate goal.  If I would not have chosen to play doubles, I would never have gotten the chance to represent my country.  That and the fact that Swedish tennis doesn’t have as many stars as we used to. 

For example our assistant captain is Joakim Nystrom, a former player and coach of Jurgen Melzer.  Joakim was ranked inside the Top 10 during his career, but that did not help him in this one tie.  He was not chosen to play for Sweden and he was not even chosen as the fifth guy to be there for practice.  The reason was because there were already five other Swedish guys ranked ahead of him at this time!!!  Sweden had six guys ranked in the Top 10 for a while.  If this was still the case, I am pretty, pretty sure I would have never gotten the chance to play Davis Cup.  So in a weird and very selfish way, I am really happy we are not as good as we used to be! 

To have Mats Wilander and Joakim Nystrom as captain and assistant captain, two childhood idols of mine, makes the Davis Cup week heaven for me.  The last tie we played against Romania at home was a really important one.  We won 3-2 to stay in the World Group [for 2010].  Robin Soderling won his singles and we both combined to win the doubles.  I was supposed to have played with Simon Aspelin, but Robin was playing so good that he got to play instead.  It was the most important match of my career.  And to have been able to win, what you know already beforehand is the most important match of your career, is an unbelievable feeling.  Worth all the sacrifices you have ever made.

The only thing I regret about choosing to play doubles is that I didn’t make the choice sooner.  But it is not an easy decision to make.  I should have seen the signs though. 

During my junior years I won National Championships in doubles, but nothing in singles.  So already from a very young age, doubles was giving me much more success than singles did.  Maybe it was because I have always been a very offensive player and attacking the net.  Being 12 years old and playing serve and volley in singles is not very easy.  I still have nightmares from all the lobs.  So the fact that my game is more suited for doubles and that I love the team aspect of the sport, to have someone to share the success with, is why I chose doubles.  That and the fact that I suck in singles, I guess. 


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