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


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 Carrie *¿Dónde está el Elfo? * 04/19/2010 at 03:32 PM

Alexis- Rafa has felt strongly about the compressed Euro schedule for years (which essentially just lasts from mid April to very start of June). Some folks may want him to shut up about it as is thier perogative but I do think this will always be something that he feels strongly about. Barcelona is a tournament that means a lot to many Spaniards and is one of the most historic tournaments in tennis. So it is not like he is just skipping Memphis.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 03:33 PM

Hell ar there any players left in Barcelona.A few also have injuries.

Well I am going for a David Ferrer win.He has run up to Rafa there so many times

The guy needs a break

Vamos David for Barcelona

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 03:38 PM

Plus Barcelona is Rafa's club and he has strong thoughts and feelings there.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis, 2010 USO Champ!!!) 04/19/2010 at 03:38 PM

CL, doesn't mean he's still not shanking up a storm...all hail the Fed the shankerer, dude was probably on a delayed honeymoon with Mirka and the TMBs, and probs figured he should post a photo of himself, probs photoshopped clay into the better not shank in Rome, it might get

Posted by rafadoc 04/19/2010 at 03:39 PM

Driving by to agree...good decision by team Nadal. I think he probably planned it that way...if he won at MC, pull out of Barcelona.

I agree with those who want him to play Rome and skip Madrid too. Maybe he should get those teeth removed. Ahem.

That will mean a long break after Rome, but he should be able to play himself into RG if he has his continued good form in Rome.

*crosses fingers*

...back to work now...

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 04/19/2010 at 03:42 PM

It was perfectly appropriate of him to use his w/d as a platform to talk about the schedule. This is his home tournament that he's won 5 times and yet he still finds it necessary to miss it in order to be able to participate in other required events. I'm sure he's disappointed and angry. It's all the evil blue lord's fault. He moved Madrid from the fall to right smack before the french. the big hairy smelly jerk who has those ball models that I cannot stand. Mr.X, I know you will vehemently disagree with me on that last point. So be it.

And AM, you called this one for months now. See??? Rafa listened to you woman! Now see if you can get him skip madrid too.

Posted by CL 04/19/2010 at 03:43 PM

Carrie- what ya got against Memphis? ;-)

I take your point but the thing is, Rafa has certainly made his point as well. Repeatedly. So maybe he, and any other players on the council who agree with him, should work a bit more behind the scenes. Indeed, he, and they, may well be doing so. If so, he is not helping his cause, IMO, by being quite so repeatedly vocal about the situation.

It seems to be that is is a simple accident of birth and history that give him trouble. He really WANTS to play Barcelona, but the way is it squeezed into the schedule, it makes it hard for him to play his hometown. It is perfectly understandable. But that, in a way, is kinda HIS problem.

Basel, though not a required tournament, I don't think, is a tournament it would make all kinds of sense for Fed to skip. Mostly, just due to where it falls in the season. But it is HIS hometown tournament and so far, more often than not, he has played there..though I expect that might well change sooner rather than later. But in any case, it seems to me that he understands it is his decision to make. And live with the consequences. (Besides, Fed has used up most of his complaint chips on the DC schedule. ;-))

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 03:44 PM

Well If Rafa's bloody teeth start playing up in this clay swing I will personally go over and knock the tooth out myself

He had time in his last rehab to get that fixed.Though he was preoccuped with you know what.

See I have moved on.

Posted by imjimmy 04/19/2010 at 03:49 PM

""He had time in his last rehab to get that fixed.Though he was preoccuped with you know what.""

Gallivanting with the hot Shakira or getting a tooth fixed? Is that a trick question? LOL!

Posted by Carrie *¿Dónde está el Elfo? * 04/19/2010 at 03:50 PM

CL- I do see what you are saying. He doesn’t always have to be so vocal about it.

But I can’t say that his concerns about the squeezing of the Euro clay season is something that is nothing beyond his personal problem. I do feel that the Euro clay season is squeezed. Three masters and one of the most historic tennis tournaments over a span of five weeks…I do think that is greatly compressed. Others may not agree. But I can’t say that the compression of the schedule is only about Rafa and is only HIS problem. His inablity to play a compressed schedule any more is his problem- but I think the larger issue of the compressed schedule is not just about him.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 03:51 PM

imjimmy either way lol!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 03:56 PM

Wasnt there talk that Madrid and Rome are going to be swapped around next year? or was I dreaming that.I thought Pspace had info there.Like who plays on a clay hard court with altitude mind you just before RG.Insane!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by just a note 04/19/2010 at 04:04 PM

Hi everyone. Just a quick look and saw Rafa w/d from B.

imjimmy - “Anyway let's hope that the knees are ok for RG, that is surely the most important thing.”

Gosh, I agree. I do hope this is preventative because it gives me pause to think after his wonderful win at MC (5 matches, not dropping a set and playing relatively few service games) vs. the FO where it’s 3 of 5 sets and seven matches.

Posted by Master Ace 04/19/2010 at 04:06 PM

Correct on Madrid and Rome being swapped in 2011. Rome(and Cincinnati also) will be like Indian Wells, Miami and Madrid where it will be a joint ATP/WTA event.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 04:16 PM

Master Ace Thanks good idea.

Rafa will always have some sort of knee pain regardless.I am not about to hit panic buttons at all.Though I did hit panic buttons last year in Madrid in that s/final and final he knees were "stuffed" it was soo obvious.I knew then his chances of winning RG were poor.

Posted by CL 04/19/2010 at 04:21 PM

Carrie- And I get what you are saying too. But there ARE is just that they are mostly lesser of evil type choices. For many of the guys. The Djoker encounters this at the Serbian open which he practically runs and yet is at a time of year when he could really benefit from NOT playing a tournament. Same with Fed and Basel. This year Rafa has made a smart choice, albeit an unpleasant one. Such is life.

Beckham - I am sure Fed will be in fullshank glory for early Rome - best thing to hope for is that he gets the less experienced clay courters early.

Ya know- it sure took a while, but eventually Fed...or Luthi..or Fed via Luthi..cottoned on to what Andrew and Crazyone had been saying was wrong with is serve for much of late 2008 into spring 2009. Andmade the adjustment. I wonder if they will be sharp enough to also pick up on what Skip and a few other people said about Fed the shankster..that he wasn't watching the ball in Miami & IW with his usual intense yet relaxed focus as well as he has done in the past. Of course, the Fed is such a talented shankster he can probably shank with his eyes literally glued on the ball.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 04/19/2010 at 04:22 PM

Hi everyone:

I'm happy to add my approval to others for Rafa's withdrawal from the Barcelona tournament this week, I think it is a very sensible decision. He will be 24 in June and if he wishes to prolong his career, which I think he does, then he has obviously "seen the light" at last.

Posted by CL 04/19/2010 at 04:26 PM

aussiemarge - true that about knee pain. Early one, after Rafa's initial diagnosis. I remember Darren Cahill talking about his struggles with patella tendonitis. The good thing is, and I know this from my personal and limited experience, that there are also times when the knees are just not a problem. I know you have been through it too. It can be very quixotic and will 'o the wisp. Kinda like recovering from

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 04:27 PM

CL Roger is just a huge talent in all departments he makes everything look so easy.Even the shanks lol! when will it stop.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 04:31 PM

CL Yeah Mono lol! Well touch wood I have been healthy now for nearly 2 years and go again for my check up in June.Praise you know who! lol!

Posted by Alexis 04/19/2010 at 04:38 PM

"Barcelona is a tournament that means a lot to many Spaniards and is one of the most historic tournaments in tennis. So it is not like he is just skipping Memphis."

Well... maybe if you were from Memphis, you might feel differently, Carrie.

Posted by Carrie *¿Dónde está el Elfo? * 04/19/2010 at 04:41 PM

Alexis- my point was that for Rafa- as a Spaniard- he is not just skipping a tournament for which he as a Spaniard feels a connection too.

That was not meant to bash Memphis- which has had some champs like Connors, McEnroe, etc. I was just trying to make a point about the connection that the tournament may have had for Rafa but obvioulsy failed.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 04:42 PM

CL I have always thought it was Rogers opponents that make Roger shank anyway.Roger is all about timing on his shots.Those evil opponents of him sometimes play ill time balls to him,thus making him shank.

Posted by CL 04/19/2010 at 04:50 PM

aussiemarge - yes, this is true...Roger struggles to deal with less than perfection. DARN those opponents, srabbling around, ruining his 'riddum.' ;-)

And I forgot that you has mono as well as knee issues...So you can empathize with both 'camps' as it were...the beta tester of tennis pro injuries. Better be careful of your wrists...don't want to go the Delpo/DavyD route.

Posted by Alexis 04/19/2010 at 04:53 PM

Carrie, I understand what you are saying. Fed does the same thing about Basel. It is right before the required Paris TMS and ideally, he might take that week to practice before, but he doesn't. And if I'm not mistaken, before last year Fed used to play Madrid-Basel-Paris three straight weeks... and he did it because he wanted to play Basel. He didn't have to, but he chose to because it was his home tournament. That changed a bit last year when Madrid moved.

The point is, the player has to make tough decisions for his schedule. If Rafa wants to play Barcelona and doesn't feel he can play three straight weeks, then he doesn't have to play MC - it's not required.

Posted by Mr.X (Live, from Minionland!) 04/19/2010 at 05:00 PM

Hi everyone.
Finally, Rafa. FINALLY, damnit.
The guy wins a tournament after 11 months (it was on clay, so not a huge surprise) and then makes a good scheduling decission (that IS an enormous surprise).
He probably would like to play Barcelona, but let's face the facts: he has chronic tendinitis in his knees. So he has to arrange his schedule so that he never pushes it too much and can get to the Slams in his best form. I guess the example of what happened last year got into him. Playing 3 weeks in a row, with a good chance of playing all 3 finals, was just wrong looking ahead to RG. Now, he has a title, he can rest for a week, play Rome, have another week of rest, and then decide if he plays Madrid (which now seems much more likely, and the only bad part of this is that it's a lost chance to screw the Evil Blue Lord:)

Posted by Alexis 04/19/2010 at 05:02 PM

It is interesting to note that the players from years gone by played a helluva lot more than the guys now do. I mean, these guys played every week, and didn't have the travel niceties that the players today enjoy. The big problem, like I said before, is how much more physical the game is compared to then. And how much deeper the fields are. All that makes it very tough to play every week... and of course, if you play too much... it will take a toll on you.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 05:04 PM

Well next year Rafa has a chance to use that loose term "screw the Evil Blue Lord" cause he can by ATP rule skip a mandatory Master series event.

Though seeing its in Spain and Rafa is a Spainard well last time I checked he was.I really cant see it happening.

Though with his recent off court thingys nothing will surprise me.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 04/19/2010 at 05:10 PM

OK, here's my theory but I need to warn Fed fans: it may contain mention of the "K" word so you may want to find your scroll button.

ahem, I think it's pretty obvious he's hurting in the major joint of the lower extremities and it started in Miami. Otherwise he would be going for a 6th straight title at his home club, no? But given that Rome is immediately after Barca and that it is a mandatory, he has no option but to pull out of Barcelona. Now the next, even bigger question in my mind is whether he'll do Madrid. My guess is no. He will have to use those weeks between Rome and RG to rest said joints if he wants to make the major push through wimby. It's such a shame that he has to limit the number of clay tournaments he can play when the clay season is so short to begin with.

Posted by Mr.X (Live, from Minionland!) 04/19/2010 at 05:10 PM

"Well next year Rafa has a chance to use that loose term "screw the Evil Blue Lord""
You surprise me, AM. I would never have expected that kind of language from a lady in your position:)

It's true though that the man known as Nadal comes from Minionland, where people bow down at the mere sight of him in the streets. Oh, and i would certainly take the she-wolf over the Evil Blue Lord:)

Apart from that, i'm confused again. Most people seem to be here, but Pete's most recent post isnt too on-topic. I guess we are once again not really sure where to be.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 05:13 PM

Mr X When pushed I too can be "loose" watch it.

Posted by Mr.X (Live, from Minionland!) 04/19/2010 at 05:15 PM

I dont see major reasons to be worried to be honest. Do his knees hurt? Probably. I dont know. But they probably will always hurt, to some extent. He has to learn to adapt his schedule in a way that he con control the pain. And i think that's what he's doing. As for Madrid, there's a week of rest between Rome and Madrid, so that probably will be a factor. But if it's necessary, skip it too. There's no point in killing your knees to get points in Madrid and Barcelona if you come up lame in RG and dont even play Wimbledon. He has to make his priorities clear.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 04/19/2010 at 05:22 PM

So glad to hear Vee is still considering playing. The US really needs her, right now the US team is pretty weak.

Posted by imjimmy 04/19/2010 at 05:28 PM

"" I guess the example of what happened last year got into him. Playing 3 weeks in a row, with a good chance of playing all 3 finals, was just wrong looking ahead to RG""

Mr X: Perhaps the simple reason could be that Nadal's knees "really are" hurting and that's why he withdrew. I mean he's played and won through pain before, and he wasn't pushed in MC at all. And quite frankly he did not have a super tough draw (with no disrespect to the Spanish trio Ferrer, Ferraro and Verdasco). If you look carefully: his movement is not as fluid as it was a year ago, he's erratic at the net (4 out of 9 pts won against Ferrer- the only volley he does is drop volley in the middle of the court), his serving needs to improve, the return of serve is also short and same for the groundies. I would wait until he plays Fed, Djokovic, Delpotro and Soderling as those are the ONLY 4 players with chances of beating Nadal on clay (of course with due respect to the rest of the tour).

Posted by Master Ace 04/19/2010 at 05:31 PM

Samanatha Elin,
Did you see what Sokol posted earlier that Vera may play against USA since she is already here and the volcanic ash is causing global travel headaches?

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 05:32 PM

imjimmy Well that game was against David.What were you thoughts in the final then?

I am still geting over the 1 handed b/hand slice cross court passer lol!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 05:35 PM

Rafa's movement to me will perhaps never been the same as in 08.He has lost a lot of the quickness there.

Posted by highpockets 04/19/2010 at 05:35 PM

Could someone with knee tendinitis (i.e. Rafa) receive a pain-killing injection before a match--then run like the wind throughout a tournament and end up with pain more severe than what he originally had?

If so, how long can that process go on? Months? Years?

Just curious.

Posted by Master Ace 04/19/2010 at 05:37 PM

Samantha Elin,
If Venus does play, BJCC better open up the upper parts of the arena as tickets will sell as quickly as possible. By the way, I already have my tickets so I will not be affected. Hopefully, the tie won't be delayed due to global travel headaches.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 05:40 PM

Miss Highpockets Any pain killing injection will only last for a period of time and then it either has to be "topped up".A lot of our football players here in Australia with knee problems,abs etc take to the field with injections.Also they have it "topped up" at half time.

Posted by Mr.X (Live, from Minionland!) 04/19/2010 at 05:44 PM

As i said, none of us can know if his knees are really hurting. If they are, resting is the best option, not what he did last year. If they arent, they were probably gonna hurt after 3 weeks, so resting is also the best option.
As for his game, his movement looked pretty good to me (it probably will never be what it once was), when he wasnt frozen with fear of actually winning (it was remarkable how bad he played suddenly towards the end of both his SF and his F). The serve can be improved, although i thought it was better in the final than in the SF (Ferrer is a very good returner). On the positive side, i havent seen the BH being so good in quite a while.
As for those with chances to beat him on clay, Delpo is just a big question mark, Nole needs to avoid playing any matches like his SF match (that was just horrible to watch, i even thought he could be tanking). Fed and Sod have proved that they can do it, although with Sod the question is can he do it more than once.

Posted by Grant 04/19/2010 at 05:44 PM

"If so, how long can that process go on? Months? Years?"

Until you retire, take some time off and then change up your schedule, or go to rehab for painkiller addiction.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 04/19/2010 at 05:44 PM

I really see little point in speculating anymore regarding "the knees" ... he seemed to be moving fairly well yesterday ... I'm afraid it's yet another case of let's wait and see. And I'm used to that now!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 05:46 PM

Grant lol!

Posted by chicklet 04/19/2010 at 05:49 PM

I'm going to remain optimistic and just feel relieved that Team Nadal is keeping health the priority over ranking points.

With all the withdrawls, the draw has opened up nicely for Soderling and Ferrer. JCF is also looking good if he can get past Tsonga again.
Poor Ferrer has lost in the finals the past two years. I'm pulling for him to finally grab the title.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 05:52 PM

chicklet I am with you all the way

Ferrer the Barcelona Champion 2010!!!

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis, 2010 USO Champ!!!) 04/19/2010 at 05:54 PM

CL, I know, I will be shocked if the Fed the shankerer doesn't show up...the fact that he put up a photo of him practising, just re-inforces it for me, so he can say, of course I was practising despite my shanking, didn't you see the photos...luckily for him I'm still obnoxiously

Ernie FTW in Barcelona!!!

Posted by highpockets 04/19/2010 at 05:55 PM

Grant, I wasn't talking about a morphine shot :)

(pictures Rafa lining up bottles after having a morphine shot)

Posted by chicklet 04/19/2010 at 05:56 PM

AM - haha, the minions must all be so excited! They finally have the chance to win on clay.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 05:57 PM

Beckham No,no, no,.Earnie needs to keep his eyes on the prize for the USO later even though he dosent know it as yet.Winning in Barcelona could make him come unstuck.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 05:59 PM

Chicklet Well Sauce did say in his speech at MC that he hopes one day Rafa will retire from playing at MC so it will give players some chance of winning it lol!

Posted by Game Lover 04/19/2010 at 06:00 PM

Yeah well, again good for him to take a small break!

Although ideally with his tendinitis he'd prefer to play on clay.

Also, yeah, you want to take breaks when you got it.


And screw Tiriac from me as well + his ball models.

Better/fair schedule for clay events would be nice though...

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 06:01 PM

Just heard on our news that Volcano has erupted again and sending ash townards England

Thank goodness Wimbledon isnt on.

Posted by Game Lover 04/19/2010 at 06:01 PM

AM: What Sauce said was actually that he "hopes that Rafa will get tired of winning MC and let them win as well" - which practically means the same thing, come to think about it.

Posted by Game Lover 04/19/2010 at 06:03 PM

Stupid volcano ash was moving towards Canada (NF) today. Reminds me what NASA said about 16 years ago, that they don't know much about these phenomena and just started to study them.

Posted by imjimmy 04/19/2010 at 06:03 PM

highpockets- Cortisone injections when used repeatedly can do some permanent soft tissue damage.

And of course Nadal is not anywhere near 100% or he would not skip his favorite events on clay. Certainly he never wanted to skip Barcelona. He is now going to Rome Masters for his 5th title there and then will set sails for Madrid. Regd. his movement for those who think it's as good as before, please watch RG 2008 or 2007. Clay is the wellspring from which the clay warrior flows. He still needs more matches (and wins) to play like the king of clay.

Posted by Game Lover 04/19/2010 at 06:05 PM

One can not do more then a couple of cortisone injections for tendinitis (I know I've passed on them).

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 06:07 PM

Game Lover Yes I think it does too.Though Rafa loves playing there and I cant see him tiring of it.

Posted by chicklet 04/19/2010 at 06:08 PM

And now that Sauce has an opening, watch him flame out against Gasquet in the first round.

That match-up is going to be such a train wreck. Big on potential, low on brains. Can't believe tennistv won't show it.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 06:10 PM

I would not advice cortisone injections for tendintis.Apart from having side effects which youcan have.You cant stay on them for long.That would be the last ditch I would imagine.Also with cortisone injections you have to slowly come down off them.

Posted by Mr.X (Live, from Minionland!) 04/19/2010 at 06:14 PM

"And screw Tiriac from me as well + his ball models."
Will i go there? Will i go there? Oh, the self-doubt. Let's just say that a word in that sentence has several different meanigns:)

Yeah, i agree about stopping the speculation regarding Nadal. We've been saying that he needed to skip one clay tournament to be ready in RG, so now he's done it. Let him rest for a week. Other guys have more worrying troubles at the moment. Delpo and Kolya at the top of the list of course, because they do have serious injuries that dont allow them to play. Also, poor Nalby cant seem to catch a break. Out of Barcelona AND Rome. It's gonna be difficult for him to have a succesful comeback this way. I'm sorry for his biggest fan Nancy. Not to mention Nole, who seemed to be doing very well and then played one of the worst matches i remember from him. I guess it wasnt all Todd Martin's fault. I have some more thoughts on Nole, but this post could get too long, so i'll save them for another one. Of course, Muzz isnt exactly in a happy place these days. And once again we're left with the Fed, who i'm guessing is just obnoxiously confident, as always:)

Oh, and just one question, out of curiosity: who's the member of TW that identifies as "fuhlfelder" in the ATP bracket challenge?:)

Posted by ladyjulia 04/19/2010 at 06:22 PM

I have to say I was surprised to read Nadal skipping Barcelona...but all in all, its a good decision. Rome is way more important than Barcelona in terms of points. I can't stand Uncle Toni, but whoever took the decision in his team deserves kudos for sound judgement.

I know Rafa has a sentimental attachment to Barcelona...but he isn't 17 or 18 anymore. He has competed at a high level for several years now and its only wise to reduce the schedule.

I think it makes as much sense for Rafa to concentrate on the slams as it is for Roger. They both have been competing at a ridiculous level since 2005. Rafa though is younger...cannot let his knees trouble him in the slams. They only come four times in a year.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 06:23 PM

I laughed to myself when people were saying Nole is back? after having One good game against Nalby at MC.Same can be said for Rafa in ways after beating those 2 players first up which he should have beaten easy anyway.

Consistant results in a tournament any tournament for that matter is the usual way to summ a how a player is truely playing.

Posted by Grant 04/19/2010 at 06:27 PM

"And of course Nadal is not anywhere near 100% or he would not skip his favorite events on clay."

or this means that he is finally aware that playing the event leaves him at serious risk of not being near 100% in the future

Posted by CL 04/19/2010 at 06:27 PM

highpockets - I wish I had a link of something, but I do remember this sort of dissertation that Killah Cahill did on his history with knee tendonitis. As I recall, he would rest/take pain meds/stop play/play take pain meds/ and variously feel relief from pain and then, suddenly, no relief from pain, then be ok again for awhile. It was, he said, very feel ok for awhile and then not so ok. Of course, everyone is different and clearly Rafa has learned to play with some level of pain - as Andy R. said, that is true of most of the pros. - now he is learning to manage to his schedule better to try and keep the pain under control.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 06:28 PM

Grant Yeah it has taken him awhile to finally grasp that point

Posted by CL 04/19/2010 at 06:29 PM

Beckham - it is true..even Fed's shanks have an arrogant, dismissive air about them..."ANYBODY can keep the ball in the silly white lines...see how beautifully I lose it in the cheap seats.."

Posted by highpockets 04/19/2010 at 06:31 PM

Thanks, AM, Imjimmy, et al., for the injection info.

Game Lover, I remember after the L.A. earthquake in the early 70's, a seismologist actually said this:

"Earthquakes make it difficult to measure the intensity of earthquakes."

I was young at the time, but I will never forget that quote.

Posted by highpockets 04/19/2010 at 06:36 PM

CL, I remember that rant by Cahill, which was actually very instructive. Seems like he was also saying that managing the pain took so much mental energy that it just became exhausting.

Posted by Mr.X (Live, from Minionland!) 04/19/2010 at 06:41 PM

As for Nole, maybe some (and i'm certainly including myself) were too critical of Todd Martin. Pretty Boy Feli Lopez was commentating on Spanish TV the SFs, and he had some interesting comments about Nole: he said hthat for a while he had been sharing a coach with Tipsarevic (i think the coach is Josep Perlas), and that when Nole changed his serve motion, Feli was very surprised and asked Janko why was it. Feli could imagine 2 options: either he was feeling pain on his shoulder, and he changed it to protect the shoulder more; or he was just trying to get more from his serve, which Feli said would have been terribly surprising, considering his serve had always been a very effective shot. Feli then said that the answer Tipsy gave him left him shocked: apparently, that change in Nole's serve motion had happened inadvertedly. Out of nowhere, his serve just got a hitch, and he has since tried to correct it, but it's difficult to doing it, because the hitch keeps appearing. So it wasnt Martin's idea, and it sounds more worrying to me, almost Ana-like (hopefully, it wont be so bad).
Of course, he also commented that when Nole's serve isnt working (as was happening in the Verdasco match), he gets very frustrated about it, and the rest of his game is very affected.
Those are not good news for Nole, IMO.

Posted by chicklet 04/19/2010 at 06:49 PM

Mr X. - If Feli has the right story, that's just awful. That would frustrate any player, not to mention one as high strung and emotional as Nole.
I think he can avoid the Ana-like fall from grace, but if he starts chasing his ball toss...

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 06:49 PM

Mr X The serve is the most important single shot in tennis.

Of course without it you game falls apart and you cant set up your f/hand.b/hand etc.

Todd Martin from what I read wanted Nole to come more forward in his game.I feel it was a case of having 2 coaches with 2 different ideas which of coruse leads to confusion in ways.

Noles serve has been missing on a consistant basis for sometime now.Cant blame his tools all the time either.He didnt have to change racquets for one.I guess its not going to change over night either.

Posted by chicklet 04/19/2010 at 07:01 PM

Mr X. - On a less serious note, how did the Pretty Boy do with the commentating gig? He's never seemed like the most articulate guy.

Posted by just a note 04/19/2010 at 07:09 PM

Well, I'm watching Rafa on The Tennis Channel, 2005 Rome final against Coria. I've heard this is one of the best.

Posted by Corrie 04/19/2010 at 07:09 PM

Novak's serving yips sound a bit like the problems of Anna K and Ana I. He does seem sometimes to have anxiety on court like they do/did. The constant deep breathing makes me feel like he's on the verge of frequent panic attacks. In the past when he was younger he used to resort to mid match rubdowns and MTOs until he got so much flak for it, and maybe that was a way of relaxing him.

Fed seems to be practising hard. There's a whole series of photos showing him on a clay court, hopefully somewhere near Rome so that he doesn't need to fly there.

Posted by mellow yellow 04/19/2010 at 07:16 PM

Just heard about Nadal withdrawing from Barcelona. Kind of surprised since Monte Carlo didn't seem too taxing. I figured he'd probably withdraw from Madrid....unless he's afraid of Tiriac? As far as the schedule, I'm sure a lot of players could say their favorite tournament isn't placed well in the calendar. Basel is played right before Paris Masters and London WTF. Even though you have two straight weeks of 250 events in October. Prior to 2009 Basel was smack dab in the middle of two Masters - Madrid and Paris. I know many Fed fans wishing he would skip Basel so he wouldn't withdraw from Paris or crash out early.

I'm sure American players don't really enjoy being in Europe for 2+ months in the spring and then again being in Asia and Europe for 2 months in the fall. In the summer you have the clay events in Europe for guys who don't want to be in the States for 2 1/2 months.

No doubt improvements can be made in the schedule but as long as we have the immovable objects (the slams) which are the biggest revenue generators in the sport I don't see much changing.

Posted by Alexis 04/19/2010 at 07:16 PM

That's an interesting story about Djoker's serve suddenly getting a glitch. You wonder how that can even happen? Maybe it coincided with his racquet switch? No idea.

Posted by Mr.X (Live, from Minionland!) 04/19/2010 at 07:17 PM

I thought he wasnt bad, although he didnt quite get the timing right most times, and he found himself speaking in the middle of the point. However, you gotta give him a pass. It was probably the first time he had done it. And he did provide some nice insight, like the one i mentioned before. You also need to consider that commentating in Spanish TV is always decidely and shamelessly partial to the Spanish guy. We like to hear praise tou our fellowe citizens of Minionland, apparently:)

just a note,
I remember it as a terrific match, specially towards the end. Rafa was down a double break in the 5th, if i remember correctly, and he came back in spectacular manner. Crowd was going nuts, and i sorta remember him after almost 5 hours, when the game when he would get the second break back was about to start. He was almost dancing on the baseline. You could see it coming.

OK, time for me to leave. Since this "fuhlfelder" person has appeared, i just want to warn him/her taht i'm chasing him/her:)
See you tomorrow, everyone.

Posted by CL 04/19/2010 at 07:19 PM

Highpockets -'re right about the mental drain..I remember that.

And as for injections - Andre A wrote a lot about the problems going that route in "Open." But has Rafa ever had those kind of injections? I thought he was going more along the ultra/sound/magnetic/heat type therapy.

Posted by Alexis 04/19/2010 at 07:21 PM

good point, mellow. I bet alot of players don't like the placement of a tournament or two - especially if it's one they really like. As you say, not much is going to change as long as the GS stay firm. We'll never have a true grasscourt season as long as RG and Wimbledon stay where they are. We'll never have a good buildup to the AO as long as it is where it is (although it is better than in December when it used to be played).

As a top player, you just can't play every event even though worldwide fans and sponsors would love you to. We fans who are lucky enough to live near a major or a TMS event can count our lucky stars because we know we'll always see the best opposed to the 'little' venues.

Posted by Alexis 04/19/2010 at 07:23 PM

And Coria never recovered. Too bad. He was a great clay courter too.

Posted by Carrie *¿Dónde está el Elfo? * 04/19/2010 at 07:30 PM

You all do bring up some good points about there being setnimental tournaments who are placed at an inopportune time for a number of players in the calender.

In fact- I wonder if that is what happened to Memphis- it used to have players the likes of Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Edberg, Lendl etc. playing. Now it does get some very good players/great players off an on like Murray and Roddick but it does seem like it has definately dipped in terms of how many players of the highest ranks try to be there. Not to mention a tournament like Newport. I do like to see tournaments that have been around for a long time be able to stay around and have its loyal players- but with the issues nowadays with higher injury, etc. I think that some of the traditional tournaments may suffer. And I think it is a shame- but what can be done?

And with Barcelona- I do have to say that I have a much softer spot for that than Madrid. Madrid may be a Masters but it also seems to be Ion Tirac's plaything.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 04/19/2010 at 07:31 PM

Yeah, Patrick, I saw that and I have a feeling Bepa will play for Russia as she still lives there and has always been very loyal to the team. If she play, and Venus doesn't, the the US won't have a chance. Oudin's game doesn't match up well against her, she has beat her in their last two matches. Even if Vee plays, it's going to be tough for the US with only one good singles player against a tough Russian team. The two previous teams the US faced were the Czechs and Argentina, not anywhere near the level of Russia. I think if V could play all the singles and then play doubles with Huber then the US would have a good shot as she has little problems with Vera and an excellent record against Demmy.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 04/19/2010 at 07:33 PM

Mme.Highpockets: What AM and Grant were saying about cortisone injections was correct. I used to get them in my hips and I was only allowed 3 a year. Sometimes they worked (miraculously) and sometimes they didn't. But too much cortisone can damage the tissues so it's a tough balance. And, Grant, your joke about ending up in rehab for painkiller addiction is too true. Almost happened to me. I did get addicted to painkillers but I didn't need rehab to get off them. I was lucky. And I've often wondered if narcotics are banned by wada. anybody know? are they considered peds?

Posted by beth ( we came , we saw , we conquered IW ) 04/19/2010 at 07:41 PM

shocked but not necessarily unhappy about Rafa's decision to withdraw from the Barcelona event
I would say it is a wise scheduling move to take a week off . I know he hates to disappoint his home crowd , but in the long run , playing at the French and Wimbledon have to be a bigger priority in terms of points on the computer

As for the tendonitis and injections , as someone mentioned cortisone injections can only be used sparingly . They are not a long term solution to the problem. The weird thing about tendonitis , is that once you warm up , the pain is not too bad . And then , when you cool down , the pain comes back. So it is totally possible for a player to run like a rabbit during the game , and then be in serious discomfort after the match .

on a picky note - I see that folks are dissing my former home town of Memphis- and after I was taken to task for my little jibes at Cincinnati :)
Really , Memphis is also a nice home town - just an incredibly dull one - and I can think of no reason to go there , unless you are an Elvis fan or have relatives in the city .

Posted by beth ( we came , we saw , we conquered IW ) 04/19/2010 at 07:45 PM

Narcotics are not considered peds - but they are most decidedly banned by WADA .
even prescription ones
I believe that Gasquet was quoted in his drug case defense - that he was so afraid of making a mistake with the meds and the legal drugs - that most players himself included - were fearful of taking even so much as an aspirin without asking the officials if it was ok .

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 07:50 PM

Beth Seeing I am not a Elvis fan odds for me watching tennis at Memphis are nil

Posted by beth ( we came , we saw , we conquered IW ) 04/19/2010 at 07:53 PM

AM - I totally understand :)
I used to go to the Memphis event when I lived there . The club where the event is held is very close to my home where I grew up . We used to get some good players there . Now , when I look at the lineup , it is not the same caliber - even though Roddick has played there for a few years now.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 04/19/2010 at 07:54 PM

beth, I gotta stick up for carrie about the memphis thing. She really wasn't taking a swipe at the city. honestly. She was just saying that rafa pulling out of Barca was a big deal since it's his home club and not like pulling out of memphis. It was a completely benign remark and the poor kids getting creamed!

back to the narcotics thing. Why are they banned? what is this - I don't believe in suffering. This drives me nuts. Like Elf getting his teeth done without any pain meds. criminy.

Posted by beth ( we came , we saw , we conquered IW ) 04/19/2010 at 07:59 PM

ah - Annie - I knew she was just teasing - I just had to say it , since last week I made some stupid joke about Cincinnati and their chili over spaghetti noodles - and I got reamed .
It 's no big deal , really
I am not offended by any remarks Carrie made

I have no idea why prescription pain meds are banned - they just are
same as Rogaine - why they won't let a poor guy who is upset about going bald use a med that theoretically helps the problem is beyond me .
However, with the narcotics - if you are in such pain that you would need a narcotic to relieve it , I would suggest staying off the court and getting well rather than playing on through the pain . Just a thought .

Posted by just a note 04/19/2010 at 08:11 PM

Mr.X, thanks. I’ll pay close attention to the end of the 5th set. :) I’m recording ‘cause I’ll never stay awake until 1am. This was back in the day when they went 3 out of 5 sets and even going to 1am, I wonder how much they’ll have to cut. It’s and hour and ten minutes into the match and it’s 5/4 in the 1st set.

Alexis, I loved Coria too. Of Course, Nadal’s not bad on the red stuff. ;)

Posted by beth ( we came , we saw , we conquered IW ) 04/19/2010 at 08:13 PM

are they showing the Nadal / Coria match from Rome on TTC?
That is one brutal match - and when you see the blisters on Nadal's hands - well
if you are squeamish , cover your eyes !

Posted by crazyone 04/19/2010 at 08:17 PM

Mr X: thanks for that anecdote from Feli. I thought I had read that Todd was charged with changing the motion due to shoulder pain that Djokovic was feeling...maybe that was the "official" story. Anyway, I feel bad for Djokovic, and I never believed it was "Todd Martin's fault" (though I was a Todd Martin fan when he was playing, so it's mostly my own bias), though having two coaches with two contrasting styles probably made things confusing.

Posted by sod'sfriend 04/19/2010 at 08:20 PM

wisdom teeth extraction shouldn't sideline any person more than a week - esp. a young, active athlete who can heal faster.

had mine pulled here a while back, and i was eating solid foods after 72 hours. didn't play tennis, but i bet i could have if i'd wanted to after a week.

Posted by crazyone 04/19/2010 at 08:23 PM

also, were you listening to Feli commentate the Fer-Nole match? Was Feli dripping with love for Fer?

Posted by just a note 04/19/2010 at 08:25 PM

beth, yes the 2005 one. They've only shown his hand with bandages on one finger. Thanks for the heads up; I don't care to see painful looking injuries.

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Save the Knees!) 04/19/2010 at 08:26 PM

beth - Yep. Just started the second set.

Watching this match is kinda bittersweet. Fun to see some of the best duke it out on clay, but watching Coria pre-yips always make a little sad, as does seeing Rafa scamper around like a highly caffeinated jackrabbit on speed, in light of the current issues with EPG.

Posted by beth ( we came , we saw , we conquered IW ) 04/19/2010 at 08:29 PM

I agree with sod'sfriend . The wisdom tooth extraction should not sideline a player for very long . And realistically , unless there are complications in the extraction , narcotic pain relievers should not be necessary for more than 3 days if that long. The problem comes in the halflife of the metabolites. I don't know how long the stuff stays in your system and would be picked up on a drug test . The anesthetic used would also have a similar "showing " on a drug test if a player were required to take one a few days post op.
So probably best to give a wide berth to the time you will have the extraction and the return to the court .

Posted by beth ( we came , we saw , we conquered IW ) 04/19/2010 at 08:32 PM

just a note glad i could help
I believe the bad blisters show up late in the match
so as it is a long one , you have a while to watch

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 04/19/2010 at 08:41 PM

Beth I agree with your thoughts that pain killers are just a tempory thing.Its really a bandage it ways getting to the real problem.I know with my chronic illness I was offered anti depressants I declined however.Long term they can be addictive.Though I know in other areas they do work and have benefits.

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