2013 saw only the fifth edition of the Shanghai Rolex Masters, having only started in 2009. The tournament is still billed as one of the biggest in the world and has seen many of the world’s top stars taking to the courts to compete.
This year Djokovic took his second consecutive title with a victory over Juan Martin Del Potro in a little over two and half hours. The final was also his twentieth match win in a row in the country as well as being his seventh career title in China. Whilst Del Potro may not be a household name he was coming off the back of winning the Tokyo open last week and was a worthy challenger for the title.
By winning the Shanghai Rolex Masters, Djokovic now equals Andy Murray with two titles each, with Murray losing to Djokovic in 2012. Any Murray was unable to defend him title this year having been ruled out for the rest of the season from continual back injuries.
Each sport carries their own set of injury concerns and tennis is no different, from foot and ankle injuries to shoulder injuries. In such an intensive and fast paced sport a player will place a lot of pressure on their joints and muscles and from time to time will succumb to injury.
In considering Andy Murray’s back injuries, they could happen to anyone in any chosen sport. For a number of years he was been plagued with the same reoccurring issue with a trapped nerve in his lower back causing pain in his legs. Medical advice led to him taking surgery and missing out on the last few tournaments of the season, most recently the Shanghai Masters.
Surgery is often seen as a last resort for back injuries as no operation should ever be taken lightly. On considering tennis players the majority of back injuries will be muscle related from over stretching or overuse, though injuries such as that sustained by Murray can happen occasionally.
The back plays a vital role in tennis, with players stretching for shots, serving and turns rapidly. With this strain back injuries can be common with muscle complaints being at the top of the list. Muscle injuries can affect all areas of the back depending on where the weakness occurs. The severity of a muscle strain will determine the impact it has on a player, from either preventing them from taking that extra stretch for a shot to stopping them from finishing a match.
The majority of back injuries sustained are self-limiting, with the muscles repairing through rest. Ice can be used to help manage any pain and inflammation but it is important that you rest to ensure a full recovery. Failure to recover properly can lead to more serious injuries and leave you more open to further injuries in the future.
In an intensive sport where turning at speed is required the ankle joint can be open to injury, as seen most recently at Wimbledon. A number of players slipped on the court leading to ankle injuries and withdrawals from the tournament.
Ankle injuries occur as a result of damage to the ligaments, which are tough bands of tissue connecting the bones within a joint. A damaged ligament can vary in severity from a simple strain to a rupture or tear.
Ankle injuries in tennis can occur from slipping on the court, stretching for a shot or turning too quickly. Whilst a sprain can be very painful it is largely self-limiting and should heal within a few days following rest. During a match however, all forms of ankle injuries have the potential to stop you from completing a match with weight bearing and motion affected.
In more serious cases, ruptures or tears to a ligament can result in surgery to have the ligament repaired. This is quite a serious operation and will result in a player being out of action for a considerable amount of time, allowing time to heal and strengthen the ligament through physiotherapy before being able to commence training once again.
The most important thing to remember if you do roll your ankle is to stop and rest. Carrying on can lead to the ankle injuries becoming worse as a weakness in the joint can hinder stability, with an increased risk of more serious damage being caused should you roll the joint again.
Sporting injuries are something we all except and despite their inconvenience players and amateurs alike know the importance of being able to get back to full fitness. Back injuries and ankle injuries can happen in any sport and even outside of sport and can affect our daily routines, from being able to get out of a chair to walking to the car. If you are unsure as to the severity of an injury sustained then you should seek clinical advice for a professional diagnosis.