Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Wimbledon: All smiles as Nadal makes up with Soderling

Robin Soderling and Rafael Nadal had their friendship shredded by a fractious Wimbledon battle three years ago but harmony has been restored as they head into the pick of this year's quarter-finals.

Soderling pushed Nadal to five sets in the third round in 2007, in a match which was due to be played on the middle Saturday but due to wretched weather finished on the following Wednesday.

During the tense clash, Soderling mocked the Spaniard by imitating his behaviour, mimicking his on-court tics, including what have been perceived as deliberate delaying tactics.

Nadal was moved to suggest Soderling was an unpopular figure in the locker room, while Soderling hit back by criticising Nadal for going public with his accusations and claiming the go-slow tactics meant he was kept waiting “200 times”.

However Nadal claims he and Soderling have been able to put their one and only previous Wimbledon meeting behind them.

“I don't have any problem with Soderling,” said Nadal. “I had a little bit problem in this tournament a few years ago. After that I never had any problem with him.”

Defending champion Federer plays Czech 12th seed Tomas Berdych today. With Federer seemingly back to somewhere near his peak form after indifferent performances, by his standards, in the opening two rounds, Berdych will need to play a serious service match to compete.

The other quarter-final will see Novak Djokovic facing Yen-Hsun Lu who knocked out American Andy Roddick.

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