Friday, October 21, 2005

The WTA has a serious health crisis

First, the great Justine Henin-Hardenne contracted a virus that put her out of play for a year, and made her feel, at times, that she would never be able to do much of anything again. Vera Zvonareva's game decreased significantly in quality, and it turns out that she, too, had a serious virus. Australia's Alicia Molik--who worked for years before getting herself to the upper part of the rankings--contracted an ear infection and was out for months. Her comeback has been unsuccessful, she is still ill, and she has announced that she is leaving tennis for now, with hope that she can heal and eventually return to the tour.

Henin-Hardenne announced this week that, because of a hamstring injury, she is finished for the season, and she is expected to give up her slot in the Year End Championships. Henin-Hardenne is also very cautious about getting run down and having her viral infection return.

Amelie Mauresmo, known for both her fitness and her postive attitude, announced this week that she "can't stand anymore." World number 4 Mauresmo suffered big defeats in both Moscow and Zurich, a signal that something was very wrong. In an interview with L'Equipe today, Mauresmo said she had no more energy, and was considering withdrawing from the Year End Championships.

U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters was out for about a year because of a wrist injury. Serena Williams has been plagued with multiple injuries for the past couple of years. There have always been injuries in women's tennis, but not like this. Top players are constantly sidelined because of injuries now. The tour has taken its toll on the players, and something needs to change.

25 Comments:

In my opinion, I think the tour suffers from its own success. There are so many tournaments in so many locations that no sooner have the competitors finished one than they're off to another.

Plus, women are getting bigger, stronger and more competitive. I simply think that the tip of the iceberg has been reached and is now on the downward side. The competitive life of the average NFL player is about 4-6 years, dependant upon position and a number of different factors. But, ask any of them, and they'll tell you that the pain is nearly insurmountable. Admittedly, tennis doesn't require the physical contact of football, but the strain their bodies go through is enormous. Factor in dietary problems, time zone changes and off-court schedules & commitments and it isn't hard for me to understand. Yes, they did it in the 'old days' too, I think that now they're pushing the envelope so far that something has to give, and it seems to be thier health.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:22 PM  

You're right, Bob. And once again, the elimination of wooden racquets puts more stress on the players. And they train harder than they used to. An outsider might say, "Just don't enter as many tournaments," but then a player loses valuable ranking points.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:50 PM  

Plus, there's another factor that remains, for the most part, undiscussed. HGH and other designer steroids are rumored to be used in all quarters. While it probably isn't as wide-spread as it is in the NFL or MLB, there can be little doubt that some of the physical problems could probably be laid upon the doorstep of anaebolic substances.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:40 PM  

The top WTA tour players are constantly tested. I don't want to be naive enough to think that no one in the WTA would take steroids, but the testing is chronic.

By Blogger Diane, at 9:55 PM  

THESE WOMEN HAVE MORE STRESS ON THEM THEN THE MEN!
1- NOT ONLY DO THEY HAVE TO PERFORM WITH SKILL AND POWER, BUT THE MEDIA CELEBRATES THEIR BEAUTY MORE THAN THEIR ABILITY TO PLAY THE GAME. I DON'T HEAR COMMENTS MADE ABOUT "WHAT'S FEDDERER WEARING AND HOW GOOD HE LOOKS."
2- A WOMAN'S BODY CAN NOT DEAL PHYSICALLY WITH THE STRESSES PUT ON THE BODY OR EMOTIONALLY DUE TO A WOMAN'S MONTHLY.
3- TENNIS, IS A NINE/TEN MONTH EVENT... THAT SHOULD CHANGE! AND ONLY THE PLAYERS CAN MAKE THAT HAPPEN.
4- THE RATINGS ON TV ARE HIGHER FOR WOMEN THAN MEN IN THE PAST 10-12 YEARS THANKS TO ANNA K.., MARIA S. AND MOST OF ALL THE WILLIAMS SISTERS WITH ADVANTAGE... SERENA.
ALL IN ALL, NOW I THINK 3-5 YEARS OF SUCCESS IN WOMEN'S TENNIS AS A CHAMPION- THEN YOU'RE DONE.
BACK IN THE DAY, MARTINA N., STEFFI G. ETC, THESE WOMEN HAD LITTLE COMPETITION THEREFORE, WINNING 15 GRAND SLAMS WAS A WALK IN THE PARK.
THANKS.

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