Injuries Sustained from Tennis

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Statistics reveal that the most common injury sustained from playing tennis is a sprained ankle; followed by shoulder injuries, calf strain and stress fractures.

In the majority of cases, the ankle sprain is caused by landing on the outside of the foot. When the foot turns too far inwards, the lateral ankle ligaments can be injured. Recovering from a sprained ankle, particularly in cases of severe ligament damage, can be a slow and frustrating process, possibly with the need for physiotherapy.

Dislocations and Fractures

Shoulder pain can occur due to repeated stress during tennis strokes, particularly when serving. This can cause bursitis, an inflammation of the sac of fluid around the joint. Shoulder dislocation is another common tennis injury. If recurring shoulder pains are left untreated, this can lead to the more serious osteoarthritis.

Calf strains can occur due to a sudden contraction of the calf muscles such as during a sprint or when the player reacts quickly to an opponent’s shot – thus stretching the muscles beyond their limits.

A stress fracture can occur when the muscles tire, putting more stress on the bone and causing it to crack if it can’t adjust rapidly enough. These cracks, rather than being an actual break, cause pain but are not a displacement of the bone. They commonly occur in the leg, foot and back.

Playing Surfaces

The importance of having a good, well-maintained tennis court is paramount to reduce the risk of injury to players. A surface that’s too slippery, uneven or badly maintained can cause slipping and tripping injuries or put an unnecessary strain on ankles, calves and groins through general play.

The type of surface can also affect safety – the three main surfaces are hard courts of asphalt or concrete, clay and grass. The hard and clay courts are generally slower than grass courts. The surfaced courts, when properly maintained, are less likely to be slippery and it’s also easier to ensure their surface is flat and smooth.

Grass is the fastest surface but it is also the most difficult to maintain. The surface can be uneven and it takes an experienced grounds person to get it perfectly smooth. Grass can also be slippery, even if there hasn’t been a downpour.

Injuries at Wimbledon

In June 2013, seven players sustained injuries after slipping on the famous grass courts during the Wimbledon championship. This led to the surface being branded ‘dangerous’ after a record number of players bowed out of the tournament due to accidents. In fact, almost a quarter of the second-round matches ended up being walkovers because so many players were injured.

Among those who slipped were the world’s number two female player, Victoria Azarenka, whose jarring fall caused her to retire from the tournament with a knee injury.

Number six men’s seed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, also suffered a knee injury, while world number three woman, Maria Sharapova, fell three times. Other players who withdrew included Steve Darcis, who had earlier defeated Rafael Nadal and world number 10 man, Marin Čilić of Croatia.

A Wimbledon spokesman suggested the ‘freakish conditions’ of particularly muggy weather might be to blame.