A timely piece by tennis commentator Richard Evans named Heat is not the primary problem touches on the continual question in tennis. Is it too physical. Does tennis at the top level push the human body too far?
I feel it will be an eternal question given the continual march of progress in all sports. I’m a formula one and athletics fan too and the debate rages on in those sports too. With F1 technology has had arguably an even greater impact there. In theory tech has made F1 safer but in reality that’s probably more to do with efforts to make the sport safer due to pressure both from within and without.
Tennis however doesn’t have the obvious risks of Formula One. So you could argue that there is less pressure to protect the players from the increasing demands. The resistance I keep hearing to raising the age youngster can compete and take on a full adult schedule is an example. The same goes for resistance to reducing the length of the tour itself. Surprising on both counts but true.
Richard is an insider in the tennis world and includes opinons from coaches of top players like Magnus Wawrinka, coach to Stanislas Wawrinka, and Nicak Saviano coach of Eugenie Bouchard, who both talk about the need to prevent over training. The biggest and most misunderstood reason athletes get injured.
What I notice is the Federer and Djokovic are the two players of recent times who seem to know what nobody else seems to. How to stay injury free the whole year and for years in a row. Feds 10 year run on slam quaterfinals shows that. He doesn’t just turn up but go deep. Novak is creating his own run to much reaching the quaterfinal at least of every slam since the french open of 2009. That’s 3.5 years or 14 slams in a row. He’s now reached the semi final or greater in all slams since Wimbledon of 2010. Quite a streak.
The first thing that comes to mind is that both Roger and Novak have a tendency to play less lead up tournaments yet do well at slams. That seems to be a key part of managing their calendar well. Novak played no competitive matches before the Australian Open and Roger doesn’t always play a tournament before Wimbledon and still used to win it.
Check out the full article and let me know what you think.
Richard Evans has covered tennis since the 1960s, reporting on more than 160 Grand Slams. He is author of 16 books, including the official history of the Davis Cup and the unofficial history of the modern game in “Open Tennis.” He was the play-by-play commentator for BBC Radio at Wimbledon for twenty years.
Follow him on twitter @Ringham7