2009 French Open – Men's singles final

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French Open 2009 Men's Final
Sweden Robin Söderling (23) vs. Switzerland Roger Federer (2)
Set 1 2 3
Sweden Robin Söderling 1 61 4
Switzerland Roger Federer 6 77 6
Date Sunday June 7, 2009
Tournament French Open
Location Paris, France
Previous head-to-head results
Federer 9–0 Söderling[1]
Roger Federer tied the all-time Slam record and completed the Career Slam

The 2009 French Open Men's Singles final was the championship tennis match of the Men's Singles tournament at the 2009 French Open. It was contested by three-time finalist Roger Federer and Robin Söderling of Sweden. After years of heartbreak in Paris, Federer finally lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires and solidified his position in the mind of many tennis observers as the greatest male player of all-time.[2][3]

This match was historic as it was Federer's fourteenth major title, which brought him to a tie with Pete Sampras for the all-time record of Grand Slam championships. He also became only the third man in the Open Era to complete the career Grand Slam of capturing the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open championships.


After falling to three time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten in 2004, Federer's frustration in Paris was due solely to his arch-rival Rafael Nadal. They first played in the 2005 semifinals and then again in the finals in 2006, 2007, and 2008. During this four year period Federer compiled a 23–0 record against all other players at Roland Garros and an 0–4 record against Nadal; whose high bouncing lefty forehand to Federer's one handed backhand ground him down on the dirt year after year.

Federer entered the tournament with some momentum having defeated Nadal on clay for the first time since 2007 in the previous tournament at the Madrid Masters.[4] However, the four-time reigning champion Nadal was a massive favorite still never having been defeated in Paris. Federer struggled through difficult matches in the early rounds, while Nadal bulldozed his way into the last 16.

The entire complexion of the tournament changed when Nadal was blitzed off the court in four sets by a six foot, four inch Swede Robin Söderling, who took Nadal's high bouncing shots at chest height and punished them for winners.[5] Many observers labeled this match one of the most shocking results in, not just tennis, but sports history. With Nadal's early exit, all the pressure was suddenly on Federer to capture the French Open without having to face his kryptonite on clay (this would prove to be the only year Nadal did not make the finals between 2005–2014).

The next day Federer came out tight against German Tommy Haas and was virtually buried being down 0–2 in sets and 30–40 at 3–4 in the third set. Federer then hit an inside-out forehand on the line to save the break point and went on the complete a miraculous 5 set comeback 6–7(4–7), 5–7, 6–4, 6–0, 6–2.[6] After dismissing Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals, Federer faced rising star Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals. Federer again in trouble, losing two of the first three sets, before again bearing down to come through in another five set thriller 3–6, 7–6(7–2), 2–6, 6–1, 6–4.[7] With this victory Federer reached his fourth consecutive final in Paris and first against someone other than Nadal. Söderling had backed up his momentous victory over Nadal with wins over Nikolay Davydenko and Fernando Gonzalez to meet Federer in the final.[8]

Match details[edit]

The chair umpire was Pascal Maria of France.

Unlike the three previous years Federer had been in the final, the day was overcast and soggy, creating slower conditions and lower bounces. Federer started strongly capturing the first set 6–1.

Federer at the French Open 2009

The second set was interrupted with Söderling serving on serve in the fourth game, when a member of the crowd charged onto the court and ran towards Federer waving a flag and placing a jesters hat upon the Swiss player's head. The fan then evaded security and leapt over the net and ran towards Söderling before being tackled by a security guard and removed from the court.[9][10] This was a serious violation, especially following the on-court stabbing of Monica Seles by a spectator in 1993. Following the interruption both players held serve in the set and it went to a tiebreaker. Federer then played what he later described as the greatest tiebreaker of his career, taking it by a score of 7–1.

The third set opened with Federer breaking the Söderling serve. Both players then held serve for the next nine games, culminating in Federer serving out the match. In the final game Federer faced a break point and said in his post match press conference that the emotions in the final game made "it almost unplayable." Directly after the conclusion of the match the rain began to pour, which meant if Söderling had broken back and forced it to a fourth set the match would have been suspended to the next day.[11]

During the trophy ceremony Federer was presented with the trophy by American legend Andre Agassi who, along with Rod Laver, was the only other man in the Open Era to complete the career Grand Slam. As the Swiss national anthem played Federer was overcome with emotion after finally capturing the elusive title at Roland Garros.


Category Switzerland Federer Sweden Söderling
1st Serve % 66% 60%
Aces 16 2
Double Faults 2 3
Winning % on 1st Serve 85% 64%
Winning % on 2nd Serve 67% 56%
Receiving Points Won 40% 22%
Break Point Conversions 4/6 (67%) 0/2 (0%)
Total Points Won 98 72



This match was momentous in the history of tennis. After missing the chance to equal Pete Sampras' then-record of fourteen Grand Slam championships of all time when he lost to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Australian Open earlier in the year, Federer finally did so by winning the French Open for the first time. Sampras himself commented on Federer following the victory saying, "Regardless he [Federer] goes down as the greatest ever. This just confirms it."[12][13] Federer also filled the only void on his resume by capturing the French Open and becoming only the third man in the Open Era to capture the career Grand Slam.[14]

Many tennis analysts and commentators proclaimed Federer the greatest male player of all-time, including tennis legend John McEnroe who called the match for NBC. The call by Eurosport on match point was thus: "Federer wins the French Open for the first time in his career; and in addition must surely be regarded now as the greatest male player of all-time."[15]

This tournament also transformed Söderling's career as he went from a top thirty player to a perennial top ten player, reaching a high of number 4 in the world. Söderling remained a fixture in the top ten from 2009–2011 until he was forced to stop playing, while still ranked number 5 in the world, and ultimately had to retire after contracting a serious case of mononucleosis.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Head to Head: Roger Federer vs. Robin Soderling". Association of Tennis Professionals. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  2. ^ Clarey, Christopher (2009-06-07). "The Greatest? Federer's Victory Fills Last Hole on His Résumé". The New York Times. Paris. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
  3. ^ Bierley, Steve (2009-06-07). "Roger Federer wins at Roland Garros to enter pantheon of grand slam greats". Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
  4. ^ "Roger Federer overcomes Rafael Nadal in Madrid". The Telegraph. 2009-05-17. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  5. ^ "Nadal Is Stunned, Losing Where He Feels Most at Home". The New York Times. 2009-05-31. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  6. ^ "Finally Free of Nadal, Federer Nearly Stumbles at French Open". The New York Times. 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
  7. ^ "At French Open, Federer Makes Case for Greatness". The New York Times. 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  8. ^ "Soderling to Face Federer in French Final". The New York Times. 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  9. ^ "Intruder Jimmy Jump approaches Roger Federer during final". The Telegraph. 2009-06-07. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  10. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUBeoFkwTTs
  11. ^ "The Greatest? Federer's Victory Fills Last Hole on His Résumé". The New York Times. 2009-06-07. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
  12. ^ "Sampras: Federer is the 'best ever'". CNN. 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  13. ^ "Sampras crowns Federer as greatest of them all". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  14. ^ "Roger Federer wins French Open title to complete career Grand Slam". The New York Daily News. 2009-06-07. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  15. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktCBNOCG5cE
  16. ^ "Robin Soderling retires from tennis after battling glandular fever for four years". The Guardian. 2015-12-24. Retrieved 2017-05-17.

External links[edit]