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**Jelica**
Jan 10th, 2005, 12:30 PM
I just read this article, and I thought it was interesting. It comes from "The Age".


Players need more time off: Henin
January 8, 2005

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Shattered former world No.1 Justine Henin-Hardenne has rekindled calls for a shorter tennis season after a broken knee bone forced her to abandon her Australian Open defence before it even began.

Henin-Hardenne will fly home to Belgium on Sunday for desperately-needed rest after an MRI scan revealed a micro fracture of the right femural condyle bone.

The triple grand slam champion doesn't require surgery but doctors have told her to sit tight for another four to six weeks, ruling her out of the first grand slam of the year starting at Melbourne Park on January 17.

Henin-Hardenne said although she sustained the injury while practising in Florida at Christmas she pressed ahead with her plans to warm up for the Open at the Medibank International in Sydney next week.

"I took rest, I did everything I could. I came here. I was confident but then the rest didn't help and my pain is getting worse and worse," she said.

"To keep playing is not going to help me, so I have to take rest because it's a serious injury but it could me more serious if I keep playing.

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Advertisement"I don't want to stay out of the circuit for another six months so I have to be careful right now.

"I'll have to be smart. Making this decision is very hard to accept but I have to take it and I'm sure it's the good one."

Henin-Hardenne's late scratching has stunned Australian Open director Paul McNamee and left the tournament void of both last year's women's finalists.

Fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters on Friday officially declared herself a no show because of an ongoing wrist injury.

Henin-Hardenne's condition follows a nightmare 2004 in which the Belgian was largely bed-ridden for eight months with what, until Saturday, everyone deemed to have been a mystery virus.

But, in what must have been a worrying revelation for tennis officials, Henin-Hardenne claimed she was actually suffering from "burnout" - at just 22.

"It was more than a viral infection. I think it was a burnout," she said.

"In 2003, I played so many matches and worked so hard that I really never stopped playing, never took a break.

"This kind of thing happens to all of us. I remember at the end of 2002 Lleyton Hewitt had the same kind of problem and it's tough because when you're not 100 per cent, you cannot compete. It's frustrating."

Henin-Hardenne's debilitating illness, which sapped her energy and left her constantly feeling lethargic, restricted her to just nine tournaments in a stop-start 2004.

After making a brilliant start to the year with victories in Sydney and Dubai either side of her Australian Open triumph, Henin-Hardenne was first sidelined for seven weeks.

The world No.7 attempted a comeback at the French Open but was confined to bed again for almost three months after crashing out in the second round as the Roland Garros titleholder.

Henin-Hardenne made a brave and glorious return at the Athens Olympics, snaring the gold medal, only to lose in the fourth round at the US Open a week later.

She hasn't played since and has now joined the chorus of players hoping tennis's agenda setters reduce the length of the season some time in the near future.

"It's the opinion of all the players, that's for sure," Henin-Hardenne said.

"But it's not easy to make a good calendar for everyone. We have to find a good way. It's not an easy situation and I totally understand it."

Henin-Hardenne said she didn't want to go to Melbourne Park half-hearted.

"I don't want to go to the Australian Open with a 50 per cent chance because I am sure I cannot go to the end of the tournament like this," she said.

"It's disappointing because I was so happy to be back and playing again.

"I was working hard for the first time in a year and this injury with my knee is really bad luck.

"It's very bad for me to start 2005 like this. But I am sure everything is going to turn very soon.

"I'll have my time again, that's for sure."


I just thought it was interesting, cos she never before really spoke "tennis politics" even when she was number 1, and I think it's truth what she says. I really hope she is recoevered soon :sad:

jonny84
Jan 10th, 2005, 12:37 PM
Its true something needs to be done - and I believe that Larry Scott is working on it as part of this new five year project to improve the tour. Which includes creating a Masters Series similar to that of the men and a new ranking system.

They shortened it this year by moving the Fed Cup final to September but that only affects ten or so players and some of them are not top players either (ie Austria)

the cat
Jan 10th, 2005, 04:12 PM
Good luck to Juju this year because she's sure had a terrible run of bad luck. Her illness and injuries have shocked me because she's such a tough competitor.

It's up to players to play fewer tournaments so they can stay healthy. Playing too much tennis is a problem for tennis players. The money is there to be taken and that's quite an enticement and the main reasons players play so much.

Fingon
Jan 10th, 2005, 04:17 PM
Its true something needs to be done - and I believe that Larry Scott is working on it as part of this new five year project to improve the tour. Which includes creating a Masters Series similar to that of the men and a new ranking system.

They shortened it this year by moving the Fed Cup final to September but that only affects ten or so players and some of them are not top players either (ie Austria)
Ha,

working on improving the tour? he really isn't when the wta fines injured players for not showing up.

the previous wta management team was bad, but compared with Larry Scott and co they looked as they were running General Electric, this must be the most incompetent management team in american corporate history.

The wta is simplying renegating from its original purpose of representing the players, in other sports the players have someone that represents them, not in tennis.

I believe the fact that a player like Justine speaks publicly shows the increasing unhappiness of the players with the wta, it's quite obvious that not only Justine but Serena, Jennifer and others are not happy.

If the wta doesn't get its act together (which means firing Larry Scott) the players will end up finding a new BJK and creating another organization, then maybe Larry Scott can find a job selling burgers.

Fingon
Jan 10th, 2005, 04:30 PM
Good luck to Juju this year because she's sure had a terrible run of bad luck. Her illness and injuries have shocked me because she's such a tough competitor.

It's up to players to play fewer tournaments so they can stay healthy. Playing too much tennis is a problem for tennis players. The money is there to be taken and that's quite an enticement and the main reasons players play so much.
It's not that simple
First, there are rules forcing gold exempt players to play a minimum number of events, it's not heavy for a healthy players (I believe it's about 13 events in total), but for an injured player or a player coming off an injury is bad, and there are no exceptions.
Second, the insane scheduling, and I am not talking about the lenght of the season, but the date.
Many players simply can't afford to miss certain events
Indian Wells, Miami, Amelia Island, Charleston, all back to back.
Pan Pacific inmediately after Australian Open.
The only tier 2 on grass a week before Wimbledon.
The Australian Open too early in the year for such an important event.
Third: ranking preasures, the system as we all know favours quantity over quality, sure, the players could choose to give a damn about the ranking, but after all, it's their job, they need to be ranked higuer to get a better seed, to get paid by their sponsors, and while players like Serena or Justine (if they are in a good form) might be able to reduce their schedule and still be ranked high, that isn't true for most of the tour.
fourth: the age eligibility rule. Most players when they are over the age simply overplay to compensate. Again, it's up to the players but the wta is encouraging that.
The high number of injuries in the wta it's a clear indication something is wrong.
Yes, some players had bad luck, but all of them?
some players have to blame themselves, but are all wta players stupid? (don't answer that).
What would the NBA do if Briant, O'Neal, Duncan and Garnett and a number of other players were all injured at the same time, and when at any given time 40-50% of the top players are injured? don't you think they would look into it?
No Larry Scott, he is happy with the stupid deal he got, what her forgets is that without the players there is not wta, he is chopping off the trees to sell the wood and not planting new seeds, he will run out of trees at some point.

DA FOREHAND
Jan 10th, 2005, 04:31 PM
Why do players keep complaining about needing more time off, if you need time off take it...it's really that simple! IN the past it's always been the players playing exhibitions after the season is over that complained about the lack of time off.

jrm
Jan 10th, 2005, 04:40 PM
Why do players keep complaining about needing more time off, if you need time off take it...it's really that simple! IN the past it's always been the players playing exhibitions after the season is over that complained about the lack of time off.


:clap2: :clap2: :clap2:

I think it has to do with the amount of training girls are putting in these days. The level of tennis has changed and if you want to be top you need to go (mostly) beyond your capabilities which sometimes your body cannot handle!

Fingon
Jan 10th, 2005, 06:15 PM
Why do players keep complaining about needing more time off, if you need time off take it...it's really that simple! IN the past it's always been the players playing exhibitions after the season is over that complained about the lack of time off.
they can't.

if a player qualifies for the wta championships they can't skip it or they get fined.

Even if they are injured they have to show up for promotional stuff :rolleyes:

And again, playing tennis is their job and a big part of it is related to their ranking. The system clearly favours quantity over quality. The WTA admitted the reason why the change from an average system to the current one was to force top players to play more.

An exhibition is a completely different matter, they don't have to practice, there is no stress, they don't have to put an extra effort during the match, it's basically like playing for fun.

to say they can't complain if they play exhibitions is the same as saying they can't complain if they climb mountings during their time off.

DA FOREHAND
Jan 10th, 2005, 06:26 PM
they can't.

if a player qualifies for the wta championships they can't skip it or they get fined.

Even if they are injured they have to show up for promotional stuff :rolleyes:

And again, playing tennis is their job and a big part of it is related to their ranking. The system clearly favours quantity over quality. The WTA admitted the reason why the change from an average system to the current one was to force top players to play more.

An exhibition is a completely different matter, they don't have to practice, there is no stress, they don't have to put an extra effort during the match, it's basically like playing for fun.

to say they can't complain if they play exhibitions is the same as saying they can't complain if they climb mountings during their time off.

I never said they can't complain, they can complain all they wish, but until they do something about thier sceduling nothing will change.

How many tournaments did Serena play when she dominated 02? The players are in charge, they even have a players union, if the players collectively felt enough is enough the tour would be forced to change. It's not as if the players have no say in how often they play.

mboyle
Jan 10th, 2005, 06:48 PM
Play for 6 or 7 months and then stop. Thta's what should be done.

Greenout
Jan 10th, 2005, 11:41 PM
You can't use the exhibition/greed factor on Justine. She has annually
until 2004 only played two exhibitions a year! Those are her Christmas
charity ones.

She never did exhibitions during the season- and she to my
knowledge has never gone to Asia nor the USA or even South America
for any exhibitions from the 2001- 2005 season for the promotional
appearance fees.