Tennis: Soderling not yet ready for retirement

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - Swedish tennis star Robin Soderling became director of the Stockholm Open on Wednesday but ruled out retirement despite a two-and-a-half-year absence from the game.

The former world number four in the ATP rankings has suffered a series of health problems - including Mononucleosis, which causes extreme fatigue - since his last victory in the Swedish Open finals in Bastad in July 2011.

"Robin Soderling takes up the position as ambassador and Tournament Director," wrote the organisers of the Stockholm Open on the event's website.

"The decision to help strengthen the tournament line-up and cooperation with sponsors does not mean he has given up hope of making a comeback on the ATP World Tour," they added.

In a statement the player said he was "training carefully for a return" but that he found it "stimulating to be involved in tennis" in the meantime.

During Soderling's break from the professional tennis circuit, he has reportedly been so ill at times he was incapable of any physical effort.

At a press conference in Stockholm on Wednesday, the 29-year-old refused to put a date on a possible comeback but said he intended to return to the level he used to play at.

"When I finish with tennis I want it to be my own choice," he told Swedish news agency TT.

The double finalist at Roland-Garros (2009 and 2010) has earned US$10.4 million (S$13.1 million) on the ATP circuit and in 2009 became the only player to beat the Spanish champion Rafael Nadal in the French Open to date.

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