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Kim Clijsters defends her new world number one ranking in Toronto, a tournament that's once again beset by injury and withdrawals. No fewer than six of the world's top women have dropped out hurt. More than ever, the grind of the WTA tour appears to be taking its toll, writes Alejandra Sanchez.

The WTA season includes total of 59 tournaments and players are expected to play between 15 and 17 of them a year.

The pressure to take part is hard to resist.

Not only do the players have to maintain their place in the rankings, but they also want to avoid getting rusty.

But the line is thin between being battle-ready and battle-weary.

Late scratches abounded in both San Diego and Los Angeles, including former world number one Venus Williams, who's also passing on Toronto.

For one of those beset by injury in San Diego - three times Grand Slam champion and world number one Jennifer Capriati - the explanation is simple.

"It's a long season and, with the grind of the tour, there's not much time to take a break, let alone recover".

But the length of the season isn't the only cause of injury. Ever since the Williams sisters hit the tennis scene, strength and speed have become vital ingredients to winning.

No soft touch herself, Capriati believes the power game is taking its toll:

"The game is so much more powerful now and maybe some of the girls are over-training trying to get stronger."

CALENDAR QUANDRIES

Some are savvier than others when it comes to managing their time.

The only top player to have played the full schedule without being injured this season is Roland Garros champion Justine Henin Hardenne. That boils down to a sound management of her schedule.

Before the start of the U.S. Open, Henin will have played only two WTA Tour events: San Diego and Toronto where she's the second seed. During the clay season, Henin played Charleston and Berlin - which she both won - before heading for her first grand slam crown.

The harder hitting Serena Williams herself picks and chooses her tournaments. But that doesn't make her invulnerable to injuries. She won't defend her U.S. Open crown due to knee surgery.

With less than two weeks left before Flushing Meadows, and a total of 9 withdrawals in San Diego, 12 in Los Angeles and 6 in Toronto should send a wake up call to the WTA.

Tour organisers should revise the calendar year and allow players to play fewer tournaments in order to allow them to recover properly for the big events.
 

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Glenn said:
The only top player to have played the full schedule without being injured this season is Roland Garros champion Justine Henin Hardenne.
She had a little injury but nothing serious. But what injury did Kim Clijsters have this season. Have I forgotten about it, or is this article wrong?
 

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I don't know... I don't follow Kim too closely, but I don't think she's withdrawn from anything yet... :confused:
 

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Justine had her hand injury and withdrew from Rosmalen.
 

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with Justine it's not just a smart scheduling, but also lots of off court training... strengthening and stretching
 

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azza said:
:eek: i thought that was alexandra stevenson :eek:
It is!
If you read the article you will see it's just a general article, not just about Kim or Justine, I guess you didn't bother to read the article first... if that is the case, you shouldn't just post to increase your number of posts. :rolleyes:
 

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the season is too long IMO. i love tennis and kinda miss it during the off season but most of the players seem to be injured right now!!

but the WTA is intent on making money, so whatever
 

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i don't think it is because of the long season. again it is about smart management and too many hard court tournaments. it is hard courts which undeniably stress the skeletal system the most.

serena and venus don't play a lot and yet get injured a lot as well as amelie. and yet Kim and Justine play quite a bit and have stayed relatively healthy. also jenn has had more injuries this year than usual but she also takes a lot of time off. if jenn were smart she would use her great athleticism to incorporate more finesse and net play in her game to find some other ways to win points besides "outlasting" her opponents by hitting 10 powerful groundstrokes for every single point!
 

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:topic: Sorry but:



"Oh, Alex, you'd lose your head if it wasn't screwed on! Now hold still while I tighten this baby up..."
 

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controlfreak said:
:topic: Sorry but:



"Oh, Alex, you'd lose your head if it wasn't screwed on! Now hold still while I tighten this baby up..."
:haha:
 

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I think some players are just stupid the amount they play. however I dont see the big deal about Alex. What the norm for her two matches a week if she lucky.
 

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treufreund said:
i don't think it is because of the long season. again it is about smart management and too many hard court tournaments. it is hard courts which undeniably stress the skeletal system the most.

serena and venus don't play a lot and yet get injured a lot as well as amelie. and yet Kim and Justine play quite a bit and have stayed relatively healthy. also jenn has had more injuries this year than usual but she also takes a lot of time off. if jenn were smart she would use her great athleticism to incorporate more finesse and net play in her game to find some other ways to win points besides "outlasting" her opponents by hitting 10 powerful groundstrokes for every single point!
no, its because of the long season please believe ;)

what other sport is 11 months a year?

also, im not just talking about the W/S. im talking about the whole tour. a 1 month off season isnt enough. yes players can pick and chose their tournaments but if they want to keep their ranking, they have to play a lot.

i dont think there is too many hardcourts. what would you want more of, clay? a lot get injured in the clay season too. i think they should make the grass season longer however.
 

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I don't see how a longer season is the problem when u can pick and choose what tourneys to play. Look at Serena and Venus. they played the fewest tourneys and still manage to be ranked in the top 5...

The schedule is there for the other players to fluff up their ranking.......imagine some have like 6 first round losses and yet manage to be in the top thirty for a year.........yes I am talking about Alex. I like her but the system also makes u less willing to work on your game cos u have a year just to repeat that one or two weeks in the fall......and the rest of the year is just for sho'

I think the system is messed up
to make things interesting shouldn't they have some doubles only tourneys. Plus add to the fact that the players have to play fed cup and also prepare for grandslams and the year end.......maybe they should change the format....

have a play-off season in the fall......make the post USopen more like a qualifying thing where the top 6 players are entered along with the other next ranked 16 players in like 4 tourneys after the Open....

the top players like in basketball will end up with 4 finalists and with that give u the year end championships....more than likely it will be the top players in world.....

have a semis and a final.....that is all for the year end and make it a week after the final tourney.....cutting the year and the matches played for the top players....
why would u invest in the fall schedule if you know the last grandslam has been played....make the tourneys have a bonus touch to it......the players who didn't make the cut for the post season will have more time to work on their game and hopefully come back next time better than before......
 

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This is what I was talking about:

After the Usopen there are like 12 tourneys. In those 12 tourneys there two tier I tourneys....the only change is to move Generali before Swisscom ..

Have only 32 direct entry draws...the top 32 players in the rankings..

same kinda draw with different combos for Shanghai-tier II; Sparkassan -tier II; and the decider tourney being Kremlin Cup....

After that the top 16 in the rankings will only be invited and the draw and matches will be few giving players more time off and less match play....this same formula will be used for the next three tourneys which would be Porsche-tier II; Generali-tier II and the tiebreaker would be Swisscom a tier I tourney with more points to offer...

Now the tour ends up in US with Advanta hosting the warmup tourney now having the playing field down to 8 .......the tour could either have the field narrow down to four players and doubles at Advanta or they could use it as a warm-up to set the draws or seeds to see who plays who...
The Year-end will then be a quarterfinal or semifinal format not a round robin format. then the final.....

this is good cos it gives the players and fans more top level tennis......there is no reason why a lower ranked player should be around til the end of the season.......because like in baseball if u don' make the playoff season then u go home early and that is what the wta should do......end the season after the Usopen.....and start the playoff season therefore the USopen would have the interest of being the grandslam that could continue ur year.....it would add more interest to the sport.........with the lower ranked players going home early then the top ranked players can stay and yet play fewer matches like half of the normal matches which is like an average of 3 matches per tourneys......
 
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