Anatomically Built Wrong

Click, click, click, buzz. Let me sail, let me sail. Click, click, click, buzz. Let the Orinoco flow. I closed my eyes, tried to breathe normally, and let my body fall into a hypnotic sleep to the sounds of the MRI machine and Enya.

A few weeks on and a few weeks off of tennis turned into one week on and three weeks off. Each hitting session was followed by regret because of the pain, yet it still satisfied the love of the game. The sound of the shots, the smell of a fresh can of balls, and that winner that feels oh so good! Pain is only weakness leaving the body, right?

In my last blog, I was trying to be Miss Fitness in terms of body strengthening to help prevent other injuries. A few weeks after I wrote that, my shoulder took a crash and so did my workouts. As Chris and Spencer have been preparing for their upcoming doubles tournament, I figured I should start listening to my body and rest up so I could channel my own “Gotta Want It” and possibly play in Open Doubles with Danny Castro. Unfortunately, for the last weeks I still haven’t been able to sleep on my right shoulder. I finally succumbed to an MRI, and the conclusion, Rotator Cuff Disease. Not “injury,” but “disease.”

According to the specialist, my shoulder is anatomically built wrong so I will always have pain. Not only am I the size of some 12-year-old tennis players, my shoulder isn’t even built for the rotations of swinging a racquet! If this were Tennis Gattaca, I would’ve wished my parents pay extra for a little more height and a better anatomical make.

In my shoulder, I have tendinitis, bursitis, and small tears, which of course, with my wonderfully built shoulder structure are chronic problems I have to deal with. We all know how the nagging pain of those three injuries can be a nuisance to the game. For now, I just have to be careful and try to strengthen as much as I can. What to look forward to? Changing to a double handled racquet? Not quite yet, Battistone brothers! I’m going to rest my shoulder a bit more, strengthen my body (especially rotator cuff exercises), and hope I will never have to go under the knife.

For those of you who have advanced your injuries to the point of surgery or have already gone under the knife, I wish you luck for recovery as I can only imagine how that pain must feel. For love of the game, keep your hopes high and you’ll be experience the tennis bliss again.

Peace Sign,

All About the Drama

The Sopranos, Flash Forward, 24, Lost. What do all these TV shows have in common? They all make for great dramatic television. They’re what people turn to for entertainment because of the twists and turns, the endings that you don’t see coming, the great cast and leading actors.

You know what else has all these elements? Sports. More specifically, tennis. Even more specifically, the Grand Slams. For my money, I’ll take a 3rd round matchup at Roland Garros over an episode of Grey’s Anatomy any day. What makes sports great is that they’re not scripted, they are real and filled with real drama, real emotions. I’m not including World Wrestling Entertainment and their Wrestlemania event in this argument. Sorry Hulkamaniacs, everyone knows that The Undertaker is going to end up winning. That tombstone piledriver is simply unstoppable!

Roland Garros is now underway. The 2010 French Open is in its first week, and unforeseen plot lines and stories are already unfolding. You want twists and turns? How about the unseeded Gisela Dulko completely dominating the #10 seed Victoria Azarenka in the very first round? On the ATP side, we have two big names in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (#8) and Andy Murray (#4) being forced to rally and win in five sets in their first matches. Day 2 saw a match between Micahel Yani and Lukas Lacko that started Sunday and ended on Monday because of the length. The match tied for the most games ever played in Roland Garros history. In the end, the scoreboard read 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 12-10 in favor of Lacko. The 21st, 23rd and 27th men’s seeds are all already gone from the tournament. All this drama in just the first 2 days! That’s like having Jack Bauer kill off 20 terrorists in the first 35 minutes of the season. Wait, that happens all the time in the show? OK, forget that last analogy then.

With more than 10 days left at Roland Garros, no one knows what will happen and how the road to the finals will take shape. Well, unless you’re Ms. Cleo, and let’s face it, if you are Ms. Cleo and have the ability to see the future, then you shouldn’t be on late night infomercials. I digress. There is no spoiler message board I can google to find out what happens at the end. That’s the beauty of sports. And the Grand Slams magnify it even more so for tennis. Sure, most everyone thinks it’s going to be a Federer/Nadal final, but really, who knows. We all KNEW it would happen last year, and then some guy named Robin Soderling played the match of his life and defeated the 4 time defending champion Nadal. What do we KNOW will happen this year that won’t?

You can have your Losts, 24s, Sopranos and Flash Forwards. I’ll take the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and U.S Open any day of the year.

Enjoy the drama that is the French Open. I know I will. Check back later for more blogs regarding Roland Garros.

Jason, TW

A new take on skorts

This year Wilson has noticeably stepped up the design and performance aspects of its apparel. While in previous years, I might have thought Wilson apparel was just, well, standard tennis apparel, in 2010, the designs are stylish and are pushing the envelope — in a good way.

For example, let’s take a look at skorts. When it comes to women’s tennis bottoms, there’s always the question of where we are going to store the tennis ball. Some women, like me, prefer the compression short under the skirt and simply slip the ball under the short. Other women, however, find this cumbersome, uncomfortable or maybe just don’t like the look of the ball lump on the leg or hip (can’t blame anyone there!). Other options include Fancy Pants under the skirt, shorts with pockets — which are far and few between for women — or clip-on ball holders like the Gamma Love Cup.

Enter Wilson with a new approach. The summer collection’s Tea Lawn Skort and Garden Skort from spring both feature an innovative feature: a built-in ball pocket on the left hip. I had never seen this before, so I tried on the skort and found it easy to put a ball in there without worry that it would slip out during play. I’m sure it would take me a while to routinely put the ball there and would go for the short without even thinking about it, but it’s good to know that designers are aware of the ball storage dilemma we female tennis players face.

Wilson also went for form and function with the spring Yarra Skort. Very modern in its design, the Yarra Skort has a fold-over waist, which is so popular with yoga and other fitness apparel. This fold-down waist style also has enough elastic to hold a tennis ball. This is a great idea and lets me know that Wilson’s designers are paying attention to how women are dressing as I’ve seen a lot of women in Southern California sporting yoga-style pants on the tennis courts.

I, for one, am a fan of the direction Wilson is going with these skorts. Let me know if any of you have tried these or have any other creative ways of storing tennis balls when you’re on the court.

Happy Hitting,
Tiffani, TW