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In Charleston in Pain 04/18/2010 - 9:25 AM

Dinara

by Bobby Chintapalli, TW Contributing Editor

Remember when you didn’t need a medical degree to talk about tennis? When bandages weren’t a girl’s best friend? When tennis player Dinara Safina actually played tennis? Those were the good, old days, weren’t they? Long ago my journalism professors discouraged starting an article with a question, so I suspect they would have advised against starting with four. Yet I can’t think of starting an article on a topic chock full of questions any other way. And while we’re at it here’s another one: What on earth is going on?

Pulling Out

Certainly not tennis for players who retired from the Family Circle Cup in Charleston this week. What can I say about poor Caroline Wozniacki and that fall in her semifinal match against Vera Zvonareva yesterday that you didn’t see played and replayed on TV a million times? Ouch!

Olga Govortsova retired with a left knee injury and Ayumi Morita and Elena Vesnina with a left adductor strain. Marion Bartoli pulled out with a condition that won’t make us pull out a medical dictionary though it might make us raise an eyebrow – dizziness. Victoria Azarenka, before she flew to Chicago then Rome and tweeted desperately to everyone for a flight to anywhere, pulled out of Charleston with a left hamstring injury she got in Marbella.

Other players also not playing much tennis include those who withdrew before the tournament even began:

- Sybille Bammer (Achilles injury)
- Kateryna Bondarenko (Left knee injury)
- Dominika Cibulkova (Right hip strain)
- Casey Dellacqua (Right foot injury)
- Alisa Kleybanova (Plantar fasciitis)
- Viktoriya Kutuzova (Back injury)
- Sabine Lisicki (Left ankle injury)
- Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Foot injury)
- Maria Sharapova (Right elbow injury)
- Serena Williams (Left knee injury)

And the tennis players who are “lucky” enough to play tennis, aren’t lucky enough to do so without bandages. Watching matches at the event for four days I saw only two or three players who weren’t wearing bandages at some point. They could be to aid recovery, prevent injury or just provide “support” – the point is, these days they’re always there. Singles finalist Vera Zvonareva still wears an ankle brace a year after injuring her right ankle in a horrible fall at this tournament last year (though she said yesterday she feels like she’s finally fully recovered); she eventually ended up getting surgery and tumbling out of the Top 20. And the other finalist, Sam Stosur, casually mentioned that she sprained her ankle last week.

Figuring It Out

So what is going on? Well, a few veteran players have some ideas.

Patty Schnyder, who turned pro 16 years ago, pointed to the greater depth of the game: “[The] competition is really tough. The top level maybe it’s the same, but it’s like the density between 10 and 40, 50 that’s really improved a lot in the women’s game. So you don’t get many free rounds and easy rounds to warm up. You really have to be sharp… in the very first match… that takes a lot of energy.”

Nadia Petrova, who turned pro 11 years ago, cited the increase in power and the number of tournaments played: “First of all, the level of game is getting higher. It’s getting more powerful, and you really have to push yourself further in the matches, and that creates some kind of injuries. But then a lot of girls are playing way too many tournaments and they just don’t have enough time to get the body some rest and work on some fitness so they stay stronger.”

Vera Zvonareva, who turned pro 10 years ago, thought scheduling was part of the problem: “The schedule is very tough for players. Right now it’s pretty much the same schedule for everybody, but everyone is different. Everybody has different level of fitness, different bodies, different results, different amount of matches that they played in the previous weeks. So it is very difficult to manage and schedule it. And sometimes you’re forced to play a lot of events when you’re tired, and that’s most of the times when injuries are coming, when your body is not fresh.”

Another possibility may be the length of the off season. Tennis’s off season seems rather short compared to other sports. Surely there are other factors too.

But if something doesn’t change, that can’t be good for these young, young players, fans or the game both love.


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Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/22/2010 at 04:18 AM

Actually Guys it was Hubby who said that about Pete soo many times lol!

Good Night.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/22/2010 at 04:25 AM

RG and AA At least Hewitt/Knowles are still in the doubles their match is about to start now.

Posted by citrus 04/22/2010 at 04:28 AM

hi am:) can you please let me in on the controversy? As fas as i know, pete was beaten by better clay-courters!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 04:33 AM

citrus LOL!! Yes we all know that.

Though blinded Pete fans like my hubby,NP and imjimmy always think it was a total conspiracy.I just got along.

We used to hav the Pete Sampras Hour here.Actually it was good.Nothing like the heated Fedal Wars lol!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 04/22/2010 at 04:37 AM

AM I think Hewitt/Knowles is a good dubs combo. Maybe they should play together at Wimbledon.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 04:40 AM

AA Yes.Though the other dubs team they will meet here if they win is Nestor/Zemonjic

Posted by zenggi 04/22/2010 at 05:02 AM


That's the beauty of internet. Everybody can upload anything on the net and get away with it. Anyone can write a name+corruption and get thousands of hits. Mother Thresa+ the c word shows over 270.000 hits. Even Ghandi+c gets more than 800.000. But is the information truthful and related to them?. NO, most of the times. Coubertin+corruption gets 90.000 hits, by the way.

Even at the very beginning, the IOC had political issues. Business and favoritisms were already playing a role. Coubertin couldn't have gone on with his idea of celebrating (partial) Olympic Games in 1894 without Demetrius Vikelas (a rich Greek merchant). Coubertin, for example vetoed the presence of a German representative in their Executive Committee because of the French animosity towards the other European country. And so history goes on...

I was surprised and angry when the IOC chose Beijing as an OG venue. What to do with those athletes preparing for that special occasion? Watch them or ignore their participation? Everybody who watched the OG is "guilty" of supporting the IOC's choice.
And Samaranch wasn't one of the 15 members of the Executive Board who made the decission. Sport+politics+money is the formula of the modern OG whether one likes it or not.

Next meeting awaits.

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 05:14 AM

AM: Yeah. That is a good sign! Hope Hewitt makes good progress in doubles here.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 05:17 AM

RG its a tight match at the moment on serve at the moment

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 05:18 AM

Well they just broke the other team and won the 1st set 6-4

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 05:41 AM

Hope Mark Lopez proves lucky for Lleyton too!

I read somewhere that Lleyton and Rafa practice sometimes. It is sometimes to see certain players mix with certain players. I for one found it interesting to see Soderling practice with Roger. I would somehow have imagined Rafa practicing with his Spanish group and Roger sticking with Stanislas and his contemporaries like Safin, Lleyton..

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 05:55 AM

RG Rafa and Lleyton have played doubles together long time ago.Rafa admires Lleyton because of his mindset and he never gives up regardless.Lleyton had This Is Your Like program some years ago and Rafa sent a live message of congratulating him of all the success he has had as a tennis player reaching no 1 etc

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 05:57 AM

oops Lleyton and Mark were leading 4-2 in the 2nd set got broken back

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 05:59 AM

AM: Ah! Now I remember that they played doubles together. Also when Rafa wanted to play a pre-wimbledon exho last year to test his state, he played Hewitt! Good to know that they are friends despite the slight language barrier.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 06:15 AM

Lleyton/Mark won 6-4,7-6

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 06:16 AM

AM: Congrats! Match done and dusted in straight sets.

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 06:37 AM

AM: I think Amelie Mauresmo will make a comeback too..What say? During Wimbledon. The Williams are injured and if she does ask for a wildcard do not think the All England Club would refuse it...

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 06:44 AM

RG Nadal It was Davenport last night now Amelie? lol! What about Mary Pierce as well

I dont think she would come back for Wimby she has won it.What about RG? she never won that.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 06:46 AM

RG I hope Serna and Vee will be right before Wimby

I am hoping Vee can reclaim her Wimby title.

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 06:52 AM

AM: lol. If she shows up at RG, she would not stand a chance against the likes of Cibulkova,Pavlyuchenkova, etc. Also, she feels way too much pressure at RG. I think Mary Pierce recently said that she is not completely healed. Whehn she does play for an hour or two per day, it still hurts.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 06:53 AM

David Ferrer seems more on track tonight leading Bolelli 3-0

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 07:00 AM

Poor Simon Bolelli. How many matches did he win this year? Faring very poorly! At least the other Simon is injured. This fella is healthy and not faring well!

Posted by chicklet 04/22/2010 at 07:08 AM

Ferrer has already bageled Bolelli to take the first set.
Belucci is up a break over Garcia-Lopez. Tennistv starts coverage with Tsonga-Almagro today.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 07:12 AM

RG Nadal Not many.Last time I saw Bolelli played was at Medibank 09.

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 07:13 AM

Hello chicklet. Whom are you supporting at Barca?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 07:13 AM

Gee I wonder when we will have a new post this one is up to 11 pages already

Posted by chicklet 04/22/2010 at 07:19 AM

rg,nadal - I'll pulling for one of the minions to grab a title after all the work they put in at Monte Carlo. Ferrer has reached the final the last two years, so he's my sentimental favorite. JCF or Sauce would be nice to see as well.

Posted by chicklet 04/22/2010 at 07:31 AM

Bolelli has retired. Poor guy, Ferru didn't even let him win a game.
Bellucci takes the first set 6-4

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 07:35 AM

chicklet: Ah ok. Me cheering for JCF. Would like to see Almagro do well too.

Posted by chicklet 04/22/2010 at 07:36 AM

Eh, I've never warmed to Almagro. Hope Tsonga takes him down today.

Posted by mellow yellow 04/22/2010 at 07:42 AM

So Roddick has pulled out of Rome due to fatigue. LOL

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 07:45 AM

Hey is that true?

Roddick has in the past done ok in Rome

Posted by chicklet 04/22/2010 at 07:45 AM

Is RAndy planning to play anything on clay before RG? I guess there is still Madrid.

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 07:45 AM

Oh no! If he does that it would be the third time this year that Tsonga takes out Alamgro!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the Top 10) 04/22/2010 at 07:49 AM

Fatigue from what.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 07:51 AM

AA Maybe from winning Miami lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 07:53 AM

AA That horrid Waldron guy was in charge of Melbourne Storm for 5 years he was instrumental in this fraud.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the Top 10) 04/22/2010 at 07:54 AM

That was two weeks ago. Man that must be some hangover. I think it is ridiculous that the American guys don't go over and play on clay eg Roddick, Blake (though he does have a knee injury atm) etc.

Damn Sods and Florence are playing each other. Shame I won't be able to watch.

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 07:55 AM

chicklet: Think Murray will turn up at Rome!

ARod must be taking care of that shoulder of his. May be he can come to Madrid. After all, the surface is faster and may suit his clay court (!) game!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 08:04 AM

When is the Tsonga/Ferdasco match on pls?

Posted by Master Ace 04/22/2010 at 08:07 AM

Saw a picture where Roddick is in Hawaii with the SI cover lady as they celebrate their one year anniversary. Maybe Roddick is fatigued in Hawaii as he has not played since winning Miami. Also, Roddick avoides the real part of the season as much as he can.

Posted by Master Ace 04/22/2010 at 08:09 AM

Angel of the Surf,
As you know by now, it is a yearly tradition to play a low amount number of clay matches as possible. In the first 2 events in singles play, a total of one American played and that was Michael Russell in Barcelona.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the Top 10) 04/22/2010 at 08:10 AM

I think Brooklyn is filming in Hawaii.

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 08:11 AM

AM: It will start in another 30 minutes.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the Top 10) 04/22/2010 at 08:11 AM

MA I was hoping maybe Querry would go and play on clay.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 08:11 AM

Yes I too was fatiqued last time I was in Hawaii too.

Posted by chicklet 04/22/2010 at 08:12 AM

AM - Tsonga plays Almagro is about 25 minutes. That is followed by Verdasco-Melzer.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 08:13 AM

Thanks RG.Will there be any live streams at all

I am sick and tired at looking at SB

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 08:14 AM

Der to me.I meant the Tsonga/Almagro match see what SB does to you

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 08:15 AM

AM: Try this link:
http://www.fromsport.com/video-233246.html

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 08:17 AM

AM: wlcm. If the link does not work, check the conversations in the chat room next to the video screening. People would give better match links.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 08:20 AM

Thanks RG.I always get a good laugh from the chat room

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the Top 10) 04/22/2010 at 08:21 AM

AM Bet365 has stream, so at least I will get to some tennis tonight.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 08:22 AM

Yeah Sam Query can play on clay ok

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 08:22 AM

AM: Wlcm. Yeah..lol. Especially when they are hurling conspiracy theories and really funny allegations!

Posted by Master Ace 04/22/2010 at 08:33 AM

Believe it or not, ESPN3 will be streaming from Barcelona starting today?

Posted by rg.nadal 04/22/2010 at 08:38 AM

All right. Gtg now. Ciao everyone!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 08:39 AM

Bye RG

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Just Do It 04/22/2010 at 08:51 AM

Well I am tired had a busy day.I think I will call it a night

Good luck to Sauce and JCF.

Bye For Now

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the Top 10) 04/22/2010 at 08:56 AM

My stream is a bit dodgey.

Posted by jb 04/22/2010 at 09:12 AM

"The Russians are gonna take the tie easily!"

It will all depend on Dementieva. If she'll be in a good mood Russia will win easily, if she'll be in a bad moon Russia will win it the hard way :-))

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 04/22/2010 at 09:13 AM

AM: I know Roddick usually skip the clay until Madrid or RG. Since there are 2 mandatory tourneys before Mdrid, how does he handle the powers that be when he doesn't show up? He's probably accumulated enough matches to not have to play one MS tourney

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the Top 10) 04/22/2010 at 09:13 AM

Nico breaks Tsonga, hopefully he can consolidate the break.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the Top 10) 04/22/2010 at 09:25 AM

TBB playing well he is level 5-5 with JCF.

Posted by mellow yellow 04/22/2010 at 09:36 AM

Not a fan of players skipping out on tournaments/seasons just because it's their least favorite surface. Roddick's just saving himself for Wimbledon. But since Rome is a required MS 1000 event he should be there. There is no evidence he's injured or what exactly his 'fatigue' is from. And clay being his least favorite surface isn't an excuse.

You know if Roddick actually put in some real effort on the clay he might have decent results on it.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the Top 10) 04/22/2010 at 09:41 AM

Really strong set of tennis from Nico, especially the last two games. He has been volleying quite well. Wish my stream was a little bit though.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the Top 10) 04/22/2010 at 09:49 AM

Wow TBB won the first set over JCF. I am a bit surprised.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the Top 10) 04/22/2010 at 09:58 AM

Night all, vamos Nico, JCF, Verdasco and Florence but if RR wins that is cool.

Posted by Peg 04/22/2010 at 11:10 AM

ZOMG, Thiemo's up 5-2 in the 3rd set STB.

Seriously torn. Starting to adore the kid but JCF's pic in Spanish Elle ...

Posted by Peg 04/22/2010 at 11:18 AM

Thiemo wins! *happy scream* *clinks glasses of bessenjenever with zenggi and Angel*

Commiserations to Juanqui fans. No idea if he actually played that bad -- FS @ 80%, but it looks like the kid out-aced him 16 to 2, among other things. And at least you all have Spanish Elle. (For those of you who haven't seen it yet: http://tiny.cc/1gcxp )

Posted by zenggi 04/22/2010 at 11:45 AM

OMG, Peg and Angel,

Thiemo did it!!. Happy dance for him. I've just arrived home and I haven't watched the match. I'll drink one Heineken if you don't mind to celebrate his victory. I hate jenever with a vengeance. I'm curious about his message in twitter later.

I'm sorry for JCF because he's always be one of my favourites. Way before those pictures in Elle. I'm going to find the stats of the match.

Posted by Master Ace 04/22/2010 at 11:49 AM

Zenggi,
Congrats to DeBakker for learning his lessons from the King of Clay last week and used them to good will today.

TWibe,
Pete has a new thread up so we can have a place to discuss tennis and etc...

Posted by zenggi 04/22/2010 at 12:03 PM

Thank you, Master Ace. I don't think Thiemo had time to learn anything from Rafa last week. The thrashing went so fast :)

Poor Juan Carlos 51% points won and he lost the match. Ouch!.

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