It's hard to imagine when you watch the US Open Tennis tournament that elite players have ever battled injury. Unless you see a traumatic fall during a game, injuries are kept away from the public eye for very good reasons. Injuries for athletes are not only frustrating, they can threaten to end careers. With a multi directional sport like tennis that requires players to train power, endurance and agility injuries are likely to occur. What I find inspirational is that elite athletes often make a full recovery, get back on the court and continue on with their careers. So in celebration of the US Open which started on Monday 29th August, with finals on Sunday 11th September, here are 5 elite tennis players who have suffered quite serious injuries and bounced back to achieve greatness. Recovery from injury is 100% possible - it happens all the time. So here is a little inspiration for you...
Roger Federer suffered meniscus damage in February of this year. He says it was not an on court injury. He was running a bath for his two twin girls heard a click as he made a seemingly unassuming movement. An MRI confirmed a torn meniscus, a crescent shaped cartilage based structure of the knee that helps reduce friction between bones. It is a notoriously painful injury! Federer underwent arthroscopic surgery a few days later and was back on court within 3 weeks. Unfortunately, there were complications with his knee since the operation which forced him to pull out of the Rio Olympics this summer. He ended his 2016 season after Wimbledon to focus on extensive rehabilitation so he can play the ATP tour for another few years. What an inspirational player and I love the dedication he has to rehabilitating thoroughly.
In 2013 Andy Murray had back surgery in September 2013, just a few months after winning his first Wimbledon tournament after suffering at least 18 months of back pain. It was reported that he had a micro-discectomy, a keyhole surgical operation to remove disc material pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord. He spent the following 16 days after surgery on bed rest, doing absolutely nothing, not even walking. He returned to the circuit just 4 months later in January 2014 at the Qatar Open. One of the most interesting things Murray said about his injury experience was, "My back's fine, and I have confidence in it for the first time in a long time. But the rest of my body needs to get used to playing matches again, and it's hard to know how ling that will take." It's the same in any rehabilitation process - the rest of the busy needs to get used to moving again after the injury has healed.
Rafael Nadal has suffered with knee injuries since 2008. It is reported that he has had recurrent bouts of patella tendonitis, inflammation of the patella tendon located at the front of the knee often occurring as a result of overuse. When the tendon is overused, the occurrence of micro tears exceeds the body's ability to heal them and results in injury. What is interesting about Nadal's knees is that he had a revolutionary treatment to heal them and get him back on court. In 2012 he took 7 months out of the sport to undergo rehabilitation which included the use of Plasma Rich Platelet Therapy - a process of blood spinning and injecting plasma rich blood back into the tendons of the knee. This accompanied by extensive rest and comprehensive physio is what got Nadal back on court. HE went on to win the French and US Open in 2013 after a full recovery.
So there you have it, three different examples of world class athletes and their dedication to the rehabilitation process - with amazing results (I have no doubt Federer will follow suit).
So with new found inspiration and motivation I encourage you to go and do your rehab programme - stat! :D