Friday, May 21, 2010

Body Count

I wrote a couple of days back about the sad story of Mario Ancic and how talent just wasn't enough for him, because his body just wouldn't hold out. Well, Roland Garros hasn't even started yet and we already have a substantial body count. And that makes me sad.

Firstly, Juan Martin del Potro. He is out for a long stretch of forever and won't be able to defend his US Open title. It's one thing to take an extended break from the game - it didn't seem to do Kimmie and JuJu any harm - but it's another altogether to have such a substantial injury and come back. Whether Juan M is still a Slam contender when he comes back... we'll just to have to wait and see. But this is not good news for him.

Then there's Kimmie - alas, poor Kimmie. She'll get better, but even two Slams in, I'm so used to seeing her there that it seems like a big loss being without her. I'm sure JuJu, broken finger aside, will manage to hold up the Belgian end of the deal very well (not to mention Yanina Wickmayer), but still, boo.

And now Caroline Wozniacki might be in doubt. Much as I find her brand of tennis incredibly boring, this is sad, because she is a genuine Slam contender these days. The women's draw is incredibly open this tournament and she might just have been able to take a stab at it. She might be fit, but then she might not be.

It's hard to imagine how big a toll tennis takes on someone's body when you watch it. We all saw how Rafa's body gave out on him last year - he who always seems so strong and indomitable was beaten by his knees. And even perenially uninjured I-walk-on-water Roger Federer has said he plays in pain 80% of the time. Which is, you know, a lot.

I don't know what there is to be done about this, apart from Federesque sensible scheduling. But it's always something to think about, when we watch these matches - this sport can really wear a person down.

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