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Discussion Starter #1
In light of the current Venus pulling out of Munich bruhaha, I've compiled a list of injuries from Sanex's Daily Notes. (Additional note: I've added the no. of tournaments played. Thanks to xan for passing along the numbers.)

Jennifer Capriati (19)<br />- exhaustion

Lindsay Davenport (18)<br />- right knee bone bruise

Kim Clijsters (23)<br />- right quadriceps strain

Elena Dementieva (23)<br />- plantar fascia tear on sole of left foot<br />- right shoulder tendonitis

Justine Henin (21)<br />- sprained right ankle<br />- recurrence of ankle injury<br />- inflammation of sesmoid bone of right foot<br />- left thigh injury<br />- irritation of previous thigh injury

Anke Huber (19)<br />- right wrist injury

Amelie Mauresmo (15)<br />- recurring back injury<br />- fatigue<br />- fatigue<br />- fatigue<br />- left leg injury

Jelena Dokic (27)<br />- left ankle strain

Meghann Shaughnessy (27)<br />- right groin strain <br />- right calf strain<br />- right shoulder injury<br />- right forearm injury

Serena Williams (9)<br />- fatigue<br />- flu<br />- left thigh strain<br />- knee injury

Silvia Farina Elia (30)<br />- left thigh strain

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (25)<br />- knee injury

And just for reference:<br />Venus played 12 tournaments.

<br />These were just the ones they listed in the notes, basically as why 'X player' retired, lost or withdrew. I know that there's more than this (Testud hurting herself in Tokyo, Davenport's wrist acting up, Clijsters' right arm nerve thing, Serena's gastro-viral-whatever) but I think this listing is good enough.

The reason I haven't posted to the recent Venus threads is because I think the whole withdrawal thing is being blown out of proportion. And after compiling this list, I'm pretty comfortable with my assessment.

If Venus wasn't a slam champion and didn't have a talented sister (and hence wasn't the big tournament money-maker that she is) nobody would be making a big deal out of her withdrawing. I honestly don't see anything worse in her pulling out than Amelie Mauresmo citing fatigue three times! (Come on! Momo's schedule is light!)

I just give them the benefit of the doubt in cases like these, rather than come up with some sort of tasteless conspiracy theory. Really, it's between the Williams, the WTA and the tournaments. As much as it disappoints me not to see her play, it's really none of my concern.

Another thought:<br />Maybe Henin and Shaughnessy should cut down their schedules a bit...or do some extra conditioning work. Do they get injured like that because of style of play, being wiry or simple genetics?

Anyway, does anyone else have any comments on these injuries in general? I'd like to read your thoughts.

[ October 31, 2001: Message edited by: cynicole ]</p>
 

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my thought is that I agree with you 100%. These tourney directors and the WTA are too busy looking at Venus like a cash cow rather than a human being, who gets injured.

She's not the first athlete to pull out of a tourney and she certainly won't be the last. Last year she was out for 6 months because of her wrists. I hope she's ready to play in January.
 

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Thanks for the info on the withdrawals. I totally agree with your assessment on this one. Your list isn't complete and yet it speaks volumes. I know it would really end this "lying" theory of some posters if they could get a non-judgemental look at ALL players who cited injuries (and what some of the injuries were--some seem questionable--but when a player says they can't play, who are we to call them liars)

And does the WTA really want to become such vicious watchdogs as some want them to. I mean do they have a test for debunking 'fatique' or "exhaustion'? like do they send over a rep to see if the player can lift their racket or if their skin really looks pale or rosy? or do they post guards in the operating room to make sure players like Martina really have surgery? <br /> <br />It's too bad that the Williams' withdrawals get so much print. Enough already, everyone including the WTA should just chill out .
 

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Thank you cynicole. It's obvious you put a lot of time into compiling your list. Sadly, the WTA has fallen prey to the conspiracy theories regarding the Williams sisters, which I feel they will regret in the end. Cynicole you are not cynical <img src="graemlins/kiss.gif" border="0" alt="[Kiss]" />
 

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The only thing missing in this list is the number of tournaments played by abovementioned players with all those injuries. That number when put right to the names, not injuries alone, gets Williams sisters singled out as WTA saboteurs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
ys - I don't know if listing the number of tournaments makes much of a difference but if someone could pull out the numbers I'll edit my original post to include them.

Maybe you could equate Shaughnessy's injuries with the fact that she plays so many tournaments? Perhaps we'd be better off listing the actual number of matches played or what surface these injuries were sustained on and which particular tournaments were missed, etc? Too many random factors.

You get a case where Anke Huber's injury knocked her out for months or Elena Dementieva's seriously altered her play. And then you have players like Hingis and Henin who played with injury (and, I think, paid for it). When you look at Henin's injuries, a couple of them are recurrences of earlier problems.

I wasn't implying that number of injuries/excuses was the significant factor here. I think the telling stat is that Amelie Mauresmo, who hasn't played a lot this year and didn't play on hardcourts as much as the others, cited "fatigue" at least three times.

And pulling out at the last minute is nothing new. It could be that the problem with Venus and Serena is that we don't actually see them getting battered on the court. When we see Davenport, Henin or Hingis retire from a match we get a good idea of what's wrong. The Williamses just don't seem to play to a point where they'd get injured like that.

If the WTA decides that the Williams Sisters didn't fulfull their obligations to the tour, well, that's for them to decide. Sure, Venus and Serena could've taken a wild card into a tournament here and there. Oh well.

I just rambled on this post. Sorry about that.
 

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Cynicole, what kind of "injuries" could explain Serena playing same number of tournaments as Kournikova who missed almost all season..
 

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ys, do you recall Serena FOOLISHLY playing to the point of excruciating pain at Ericsson 2001 and finishing the match, just to satisfy the crowd. Serena thereby made her injury much more significant than if she has forfeited. It took her almost until the US Open to get back to playing shape. If that match didn't teach the Williams sisters something then nothing will. <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">
 

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Williams sisters, while being the two best players around, are constantly challenging every single foundation of WTA - withdrawing when drawn together, faking injuries ( that's my opinion ),<br />withdrawing late, are not interested in playing WTA events, are not caring about their rankings. They are constant challenge to the current order of WTA.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, we would also have to look into how many tournaments Serena originally commited to/pulled out of (and why)? I honestly don't know. I don't specifically follow the Williams Sisters, committment lists, or the injuries of all the other players. Maybe if someone could lend more data it could help.

Anna Kournikova works mightily hard for the tour, apparently loves to compete and she deserves to be commended for her efforts. Didn't she play in more tournaments than anyone else last year? I don't really think her mentality is comparable to the Williams Sisters. She's more in the "play a lot" league with Sandrine Testud, Meghann Shaughnessy and, of course, Martina Hingis. It's a shame that many underrate her.

The only person that seems to adopt the "play less and on surfaces you like" mentality is Amelie Mauresmo.

I do think that Venus and Serena should take some wild cards into more events. I would like to see them play more. But what can the WTA do about that? They have fined Serena in the past...and it obviously hasn't put enough of a bite to make her play more. So they don't support the tour like others do. That's an issue between them and the tour.

I do think that Venus should've stated that she couldn't play in Munich (and Linz) sooner. Maybe she needs to more accurately assess her physical limitations so we don't have situations like this in the future.

I don't know. It's all speculation and I don't think that any of it is productive.

Oops, rambled again.
 

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The question of Henin and Shaughnessy playing less is a good one. Both have played a lot to boast up their ranking(as have Clijsters and Dokic). Next year all would be advised to cut down on so many events. Not only for the sake of reducing injuries, but to peak for major events.

Sanchez and Navratilova are 2 good examples of women who overplayed themselves into injury or staleness, then learned from it and cut down on tournaments. I just hope these young hopefuls don't learn the hard way........
 

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The question of Henin and Shaughnessy playing less is a good one. Both have played a lot to boast up their ranking(as have Clijsters and Dokic). Next year all would be advised to cut down on so many events. Not only for the sake of reducing injuries, but to peak for major events.

Sanchez and Navratilova are 2 good examples of women who overplayed themselves into injury or staleness, then learned from it and cut down on tournaments. I just hope these young hopefuls don't learn the hard way........
 

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Number of Tour Events played in 2001:

Capriati: 19

Davenport: 18

Clijsters: 23

Dementieva: 23

Henin: 21

Huber: 19

Mauresmo: 15

Dokic: 27

Shaughnessy: 27

Serena: 9 (nine)

Farina Elia: 30

Sanchez Vicario: 25

Venus: 12

I think these figures show that Venus and Serena have not played their fair quota of tournaments. Farina, Dokic, meghann and ASV on the other hand have been rarely away from the courts. perhaps playing too often.
 

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What about the tournament that Lindsay and Martina pulled out of, that happened one week before the USOPen biting injuries, and then Lindsay won the tournament she was playing the next day? A lot of people seemed to have done double takes on that one. And both were committed to the event (was it Pilot pen?).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
rmc - I think you're referring to Toronto. I think it was two weeks before the U.S. Open. Apparently, Hingis had some ankle problems and I think Davenport's wrist was acting up. (And I believe them too.) People do play when they're hurt. Sometimes we call it admirable (Dokic in Moscow); sometimes we call it stupid (Hingis at Wimbledon).

With Hingis and Davenport the same general "big deal" rule applies: they're both slam champions.

Pilot Pen (New Haven) was the week before the U.S. Open and Davenport was beaten there in the finals...by Venus, of course.

[ October 31, 2001: Message edited by: cynicole ]</p>
 

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Instead of looking at tournaments played, it's better to look at actual matches played, as some players play 25 tournaments, but 8 of those are first round losses.

So, here's the count:

Capriati - 68<br />Hingis - 75<br />Davenport - 68<br />Venus - 51<br />Clijsters - 68<br />Henin - 72<br />Mauresmo - 54<br />Seles - 50<br />Dokic - 74<br />Serena - 42<br />Tauziat - 54<br />Dementieva - 55<br />Shaughnessy - 68<br />Testud - 78<br />Farina Elia - 71<br />Maleeva - 58<br />Coetzer - 52<br />ASV - 54<br />Huber - 56<br />Schett - 56<br />Nagyova - 48<br />Kournikova - 20<br />Likhovtseva - 50<br />Martinez - 33<br />Montolio - 58<br />Tulyaganova - 54<br />Tanasugarn - 46<br />Grande - 63<br />Bedanova - 43<br />Suarez - 44<br />Raymond - 54<br />Serna - 57

As you can see, Venus plays about the same number of matches as a player in the mid-20's.

Serena plays about as many matches as a player ranked in the 60's.

These are some interesting stats, but sometimes players are just incabapable of playing more than 12 or so tournaments a year. Their body sometimes cannot physically handle that.

I am THE BIGGEST Venus/Serena fan there is, and if this inability to play fewer tournaments causes their ranking to be lower, so be it. As long as they keep winning the Grand Slams, as a fan, that's all I want.

However, Venus and Serena have NEVER EVER lied about an injury. The are extremely injury prone, trust me. When Venus played 18 tournaments in 1998, she was out for six months for extreme chronic wrist tendonitis. Players have to take care fo themselves, and whether it is playing 200 matches, or 2 tournaments, whatever they choose to do so is their right.

Also, some people get mad at players because of chronic injury and thus not being able to sponsor the tour, well one thing I have to say is that some players, like Venus, Serena, Kournikova, et. al. support the tour so damn much (just because of their name), despite small tournament numbers, so players should just be happy with that and take care of themselves and stop worrying about everybody else.
 

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I think that Venus and Serena may actually be slightly more prone to injury because of the style of their play.

They always give about 120% on court, hitting with power, moving with speed, runing fast with many quick changes of direction. This sort of play would tend to produce injuries. This is one of the reasons I think that players like Henin, Kournikova and Shaughnessy get a lot of injuries too. They are slim-built and tend to hit more than their weight.

However I still feel that Venus, Serena and Anna take more time off than even a prone-ness to injury demands. They don't seem to me, to be as fully committed to full-time tennis as most of the other players on the circuit. The figures show that other players with significant injuries have played a lot more. It probably isn't a case of "lying" about injuries, it probably IS a case that Venus, Serena and Anna are not as prepared to "play through" slight injuries as other players are.

I remember reading one interview with a WTA player when she said that "Something is always hurting. That's life as a professional tennis player."
 
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