My Wimbledon Perspective

Not sure what happened yesterday, but it seems that some serious injuries were forcing these players to not play. Rumors were going around Wimbledon that the grass courts could be the reason, but Richard Lewis, CEO of the All England Club, published a statement regarding this subject.

“The court preparation has been to exactly the same meticulous standard as in previous years and it is well known that grass surfaces tend to be more lush at the start of an event. The factual evidence, which is independently checked, is that the courts are almost identical to last year, as dry and firm as they should be, and we expect them to continue to play to their usual high quality.”

Richard Lewis, Chief Executive
The All England Club

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Cause and effect of tennis injuries: Injury culture

As far as tennis goes, we all know injuries come with the territory.

Sharapova had shoulder surgery. (Photo courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Sharapova had shoulder surgery. (Photo courtesy of Cynthia Lum)

Tennis is a year-round sport. There is no “off season,” and high performance and athletic prowess are not only required for years upon years by the athletes themselves, but also demanded by their fans.

With my personal experience (which, granted has been worst than most) I find the culture surrounding injuries in modern tennis interesting. In a sport that puts the human body under extreme strain, injuries are prevalent, yet the response from the world is usually less than understanding. This is not always the case, but often: If you’re playing injured you’re criticized for mentioning it because it’s seen as creating an excuse for poor performance or loss. If you’re playing injured and don’t mention it, then have a bad performance because of that injury, you’re criticized for playing horrible tennis. If you’re not playing because you’re injured, it’s common to get criticized about whether you’re not being tough enough or why your recovery is taking so long.

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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,
Kana