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Q&A: Stroking Felt With Robert Lindstedt

Welcome to our second edition of Stroking Felt With... Today we have the pleasure of speaking with Swedish Davis Cupper Robert Lindstedt. I had the pleasure of meeting Robert (draped in a Swedish flag coming out of the airport terminal) when he joined our Fresno State team in the spring of 1997. Thereafter, we transferred and played for Pepperdine. He left school early in order to pursue his pro career and looks like things have been working out quite well for him. My first impression of Rob was that he had a big, all-around game (even though, for some reason, he preferred to be regarded as a "grinder"...haha). He had a huge down-the-T serve that's only gotten bigger as he's gotten older, a nasty slice and kick-serve which he used as change-ups as well as a frekishly hard/flat down the line backhand (which seemed to spin outwards like a sind-winding missile). He also moved pretty darned well for his size (particularly when crazy Romanians jumped out of his closet in the middle of the night..long story..haha). Lastly, he was funny as heck and everyone seemed to have a good time when he was around. 

Quick Bio: 1998 NCAA Doubles runner-up (along with Kelly Gullett); back-to-back All-American honors; 2-times Wimbledon doubles runner-up (with Horia Tecau of Romania); won ATP Tour doubles titles in Mumbai; Tokyo; Washington, D.C.; Auckland; Zagreb; Casblanca, Hertogenbosch, Bastad, New Haven; runner-up in doubles in Ho Chi Minh; Las Vegas, Stuttgart; Dubai; Estoril; Bastad; Marseille; London; Brisbane; Hertogenbosch; Washington, D.C.' Beijing. He is an active member of the Swedish Davis Cup Team as well as its ARAG World Team Cup squad (which defeated Russia for the title in 2008). Career High (to date) ATP ranking: doubles - 13; singles - 309. Website (user discreition advised): http://answermyquestionjerk.se


1. At what age did you start playing tennis?

A: 4 years old.

2. When did you start taking tennis seriously?

A: When I left college and realized that it was my job now; no time for mucking about.

3. How did your workouts change once you decided that you wanted to be a tennis player?

A: Early I was just doing as I was told and no more. Later in my career I realized what I should do is what was working for me. I am working harder than ever now, but smarter and listening to my body much more. Core workouts have taken over all my training. All exercises I do have something to do with core.

4. If you've had to guess, how many hours on the court do you think you've spent between picking up the racket and turning pro (i.e. before 20 yrs old)?

A: Impossible guess really. I practiced 3 times a week until my teens I would say, then twice everyday when I went to high school. (Not impossible to guess it seems after all...) {Editor's Note: again, no magic. Just lots of on-court work as well as off-court preparation}

5. Who influenced you most as an athlete?

A: My brother [Niclas] played, so I wanted to play also. Otherwise all the Swedes. Edberg, Wilander, Järryd, Björkman, Enqvist, Johansson. All of them, I like to watch and see what I could do {Editor's Note: no mention of ABBA? On a serious note, it seems that the Swedish system is very close-knit. It helps to be positively influenced by your peers}

6. If you had the chance to go back in time and talk to yourself as a 15year old, what tennis-advice would you give yourself?

A: Work harder. Much harder. And don't worry about heavy lifting. Core workouts!! Pilates!!! {Editor's Note: [slapping gut] gotta look into that pilates thingy}

7. What was your favorite drill or thing to work on growing up?

A: I liked to work on all court game. Not just one drill. I tried to get good at everything.

8. If, on the scale of 1-100, top 50 ATP player is 100 (in terms of skill/toughness), how would you rate college tennis?

A: College players compared to pros? If a top 50 player is 100, overall I would say an average D-1 college player is around 15-20. It is not even close, Ini....not even close. Some top players could go up to 40-50 maybe...maybe. Some college players could beat a top 50 guy in one match. But you don't have to be tough for one match. There is a huge difference there. Then again, I left college 13 years ago and have been told that college is not as good as it used to be...

9. You obviously chose to attend CA schools for gorgeous beaches and hot girls. What else did you enjoy about your college tennis experience? 

A: [I enjoyed the] friends that I got out of it.

10. Your highest singles ranking was 309 and doubles 13. You played Davis Cup for Sweden. What were your top 3 wins and what lessons would you take away from those matches?

A: Beating Jonas Björkman was huge for me. He was sort of my mentor in doubles when I was coming up. Gives you confidence to beat players you never thought you could beat and makes you realize that anything is possible. 

Winning my first Davis Cup match. Huge relief and great feeling knowing that I could play good when it mattered most!

The third one is not a win, but a loss. Our first loss in the Wimbledon finals. I learned a lot there. That big matches are not so much about tennis, but attitude and preparation. We were not ready to play that match. But from now on, we will be.

Rob, we thank you for your time and wish you the best of luck and health in the upcoming season. We look forward to seeing you at the BNP and all Grand Slam finals

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