Biggest Comeback After >6 Months Absence?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by kOaMaster, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. kOaMaster

    kOaMaster Hall of Fame

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    No matter how great Nadal was - I now really doubt whether he can make his comeback even closely successful compared to what he did before.
    This is not mainly because of his age but more of the fact he was absent for such a long time. No matches, no competition, for many many weeks no training and last but not least, not being on the tour and perhaps having a life outside of that surely must change Nadals point of view somehow?

    So my question is - as I am only medium familiar with tennis history:
    What was the greatest comeback by any tennis player after being absent for more than 6 months?
    This means no matches at all, not just skipping the grand slams or dropping out of the rankings!
     
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  2. tick115

    tick115 New User

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    Decaprio in Jango.......... My Guy!!!!!
     
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  3. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    do you mean biggest comeback considering long-term playing or the first tournament played ?
     
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  4. kOaMaster

    kOaMaster Hall of Fame

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    long term playing.
     
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  5. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    how long was agassi away when he was on meth?
     
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  6. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    some comebacks...

    long-term ? mmmh then here are some players who deserve to be mentioned.

    cash after his 1985/1986 break.
    (#4 in 1988, 1 slam win & 2 finals after the break)

    mcenroe after his 1986 break.
    (#4 in 1989, several slam/masters SF + 1 WTC title after the break)

    i thought about agassi, but i don't think he stayed more than 6 full months without playing...
    muster's (1989) and rafter's (1999/2000) injury breaks were also a bit shorter than 6 months.

    krajicek was absent 6 months and a few days in 1992/1993, won his 1st return tournament on clay at barcelona.
    (#4 in 1999, 1 slam win after the break)

    martin (todd) after his 1997 break (6 months and a few days)
    (#4 in 1999, 1 slam F after the break)

    philippoussis after his 2001 break (6 months and a few days).
    (#9 in 2003, 1 slam final after the break)

    haas after his 2003 break.
    (#9 in 2007, 2 slam SF after the break... and still on the tour !)

    johansson (thomas) after in 2003 break.
    (#8 in 2005, 1 slam SF after the break)

    delpo after his 2010 break.
    (#5, 1 slam SF & 1 masters SF so far... and probaby better) ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
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  7. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    Krajicek missed 6 months and won his first event back, on clay? Nadal can definitely return and win acapulco then. but will he play it..
     
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  8. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    oh and there's also canas after his doping suspension......
    (#12 in 2007)
     
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  9. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    Brian Baker?

    Okay, he's more an honorable mention, but still!
     
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  10. 6-1 6-3 6-0

    6-1 6-3 6-0 Banned

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    It doesn't matter, because few players in history can compare to Nadal (what other players have won the career grand slam at the age of 24 in the open era, and in the same year winning slams on clay, grass and hard-court?). I wouldn't be surprised if Nadal took an 8-month absence and had the best year of his career. And Nadal can make a great start by winning Acapulco (which he did in 2005). :p

    [​IMG]
     
    #10
  11. beckstennis

    beckstennis New User

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    You make Stephen Hawkins look like Homer Simpson :oops:
     
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  12. Ralph

    Ralph Hall of Fame

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    And you're just boring with your continual copy & paste posts of multiple surfaces, career slam yada, yada....
     
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  13. beckstennis

    beckstennis New User

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    Hope thats directed at NSK and not me lol
     
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  14. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    I didnt realize that about Krajicek, pretty impressive
     
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  15. Ico

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    You guys forgot to end your replies with :p. That's the only way NSK recognizes a post these days.
     
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  16. Homeboy Hotel

    Homeboy Hotel Hall of Fame

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    :razz: is the facial expression when NSK pleasures himself looking at Nadal photos.

    Back to thread, it has to be Del Potro. Starts the year #250 something, then ends the year in the top #15
     
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  17. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    Didn't Joachim Johansson come back after one of his many injuries and got to the top 20 after being ranked almost #700th?
     
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  18. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    I'm going with Kim Clijsters. Retired, had a baby, decided to come back two years later. In her third tournament of her comeback she won the US Open unseeded, eventually made it back to #1 in the world.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
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  19. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    unfortunately he never came back even in the top 100... but he managed to beat several well-ranked players despite playing very sporadically (hewitt, del potro, davydenko, nadal, simon, monaco).
     
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  20. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    ^^^^^
    This is the winner...

    But the WTA has had several comebacks after 6+ month lapses. Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati are comparable examples. Both of the Williams sisters have had comebacks after long layoffs. Goolagong came back after she had her baby.

    As for the ATP tour, vive le beau jeu ! provided a pretty comprehensive list of the men's comeback players from the past 30 years. What is interesting is that I believe that only Agassi, Krajicek, and Muster ended up winning any Slams after such extended breaks, and those Slam wins took some time to pull of. Most of the other guys just seemed to lose some steam after being away so long. I believe Delpo has another Slam in him, but notice how long it's taken him to get back to the level where he's competitive. As great as Nadal is, I don't see him contending right away, and we'll see if he has the same heart to fight that has separated him in the past.

    Another interesting note is about Muster's knee injury. He was hit by a drunk driver, and his leg was crushed under the bumper of a car. Both his ACL and MCL ligaments were severed, and had such massive abrasions down the length of his leg, he had to be hospitalized for fear of infection. He wore a cast that extended from his ankle to the top of his thigh for 3 months. This video shows some of the rehabilitation Muster did in order to come back:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uNB4tMl8P8

    Muster's injury occurred on April 1st, 1989. His first comeback match on the ATP tour was on September 19th, 1989, which he won. That represents a 170 day break between matches, and less than 6 months. In contrast, Nadal's injury seems to be much less severe (with surgery to help repair a tear - not a rupture - on the patellor tendon)... yet, Nadal has been off the tour for 184 days now, and isn't scheduled to play again for at least another 57 days. This makes me think that there is more to Nadal's absence than just knee pain. I'm not talking about a "silent ban" but more likely a lack of passion to get back on tour. Muster was hitting balls from a wheel chair, but all the pictures I've seen of Nadal so far show him lounging on a boat, getting a tan, and fishing. I think the guy is burned out, and is not in a rush to get back. Unlike Muster, who was cut down just after breaking into the top 10, Nadal doesn't have anything to prove - which does not bode well for a return to top form.
     
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  21. Atherton2003

    Atherton2003 Hall of Fame

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    Clisters came back after having a baby...so can Nadal.
     
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  22. Clarky21

    Clarky21 Banned

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    Nadal must be a medical marvel. :lol:
     
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  23. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    No, I don't think Nadal can have a baby.
     
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  24. Atherton2003

    Atherton2003 Hall of Fame

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    You never know.....
     
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  25. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    even i would be congratulating the nadal if he does it ! :)
     
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  26. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thomas Muster spent a few weeks after the 1st April 1989 in despair, thinking his career was either over or would never be the same again. His coach, Ronnie Leitgeb, had a specially designed chair made for him, and convinced Thomas to get back on court hitting balls using the chair, and that he'd soon be back on the tour giving everything he's got. Muster was convinced, and threw everything into his rehabilitation and comeback. It's amazing what Muster was able to do from April 1989 to December 1990. He was fanatical about getting over the injury, hitting balls, getting fit, getting back on the tour, and then winning big clay tournaments, big Davis Cup matches etc.

    Leitgeb once said of Muster "He's lazy, until you convince him to do something. Once you do, he is fanatical about doing it with 100% desire and enthusiasm."
     
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  27. The_Order

    The_Order Legend

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    Guys it's Rafa, all those other players that were missing for 6+ months don't hold a candle to him.

    RG2013 is going to Rafa bookmark it!
     
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  28. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    cash also won a slam after his extended break, which occured early in his career (even younger than del potro or muster).

    i edited my post and added the most significant performances in the main events for these players.
     
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  29. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    umm, no, there was a certain john mcenroe in that list ....

    rafa is favourite for RG 2013, but we'll still have to see in what shape/form he is when he comes back ...
     
    #29
  30. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    I think the greatest comeback was that of Pancho Gonzalez who had a pause of two years and came back as No.3 player.
     
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  31. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    1. agassi was out for 5 months in 93-94 with wrist surgery and did well after that
    2. connors was out for over 1 year with wrist problems and surgery in 1990 and came back successfully but it was age that caught up with him not his injury or lack of play.

    nadal reminds me of connors, when he comes back he will be ready
     
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  32. reaper

    reaper Professional

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    There are 2 differences between Nadal and other players who have come back from long term lay offs:

    1) Nadal is an 11 time Grand Slam Champion at the age of 26
    2) Despite being absent for 8 months Nadal will still be ranked number 5 when he comes back so will retain favourable draws through his seeding: He will likely be seeded top 4 at Wimbledon

    Form is temporary: Class is permanent and by any measure Nadal would have to be ranked in the top 5 players of the past 30 years. If he retains his determination and desire his comeback will be successful.
     
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  33. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    First, John McEnroe was 27 and a 7 time Slam champion when he voluntarily left the game for 6 months, so this kind of absence for a player of Nadal's talent level is not unprecedented. As we all know, McEnroe's rivals overtook him and he was never the same player again after the break. Taking 8 months off will be detrimental for Nadal, especially since this was due to a reoccurring injury.

    Speaking of the injury, I'll go back to the point I made earlier in this thread. When Muster's ACL and MCL ligaments were severed in the accident with the drunk driver, he trained his butt off to recover - hitting balls from a wheel chair, and doing painful therapy just weeks after surgery. He made it back on tour and was winning matches within 170 days (5.5 months), but it still took about a year to fully get back to where he left off. Muster was extremely driven and had a chip on his shoulder to show that his talent couldn't be stolen by an accident.

    From Nadal's actions so far, I don't see that same "determination and desire" that you spoke of in his comeback. His knee injury is a lot less severe than Muster's, yet Nadal is not tackling the recovery with the same passion. 184+ days is more than enough time for him to recover and train from the issue he supposedly has, and even a temporary stomach bug shouldn't have been enough to knock him out for an additional 2 months if he was really motivated.

    Winning the French was a big deal for Nadal last year (setting the record and becoming the clay GOAT), and I don't think he has anything left to prove. I think he's burned out, and won't be able to get the mojo back to dominate like he used to. Besides, his rivals (Djokovic and Murray, primarily) have gotten better, Federer is still hanging around, and there will be additional champs (Tsonga and Berdych, anyone?) nipping at his heels when he gets back on the court. Nobody is going to feel sorry for Nadal when he returns, and they will all be gunning for him while he's down, with their own chances to make history.

    If anyone is doubting that this is a mental break for Nadal more than an injury issue, pictures speak louder than words...

    Muster, less than two months after his catastrophic knee injury:

    [​IMG]

    Nadal, less than two weeks (seriously, on July 8th of this year!) after his knee "injury":

    [​IMG]

    Quite the contrast... :roll:

    And finally, Nadal's ranking is in serious jeopardy. By missing the Australian and Doha, he'll drop to 5400 points which would put him at #5 right now. However, Berdych, Del Potro, and Tsonga could all pass him by March if they perform well. Then, Nadal has semifinal points at both Indian Wells and Miami to defend (720 total), not to mention 4,090 points to retain in the clay season. If he doesn't come back winning right away (which I think he won't), he could possibly be outside the top 10 by Wimbledon. This is going to be an uphill struggle all the way.
     
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  34. The_Order

    The_Order Legend

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    Mac NEVER dominated a major like Rafa dominates RG. No comparison. He'll win it, or rather you tell me who will beat him up there???
     
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  35. reaper

    reaper Professional

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    Tommy Haas is a player who has twice had more than 12 months off due to injury, was never able to win a Grand Slam tournament, and never got to number 1. His highest career ranking was in 2002. In 2012, at age 34 and 10 years past his peak as a player he was able to get back to number 21 in the world. His record is decidedly modest in comparison to Nadal. It suggests that as a much younger man, and a vastly superior player coming off a shorter lay off, Nadal should be able to get back to the very top. Knee and desire permitting.
     
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  36. kOaMaster

    kOaMaster Hall of Fame

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    just to summarise - no matter how great nadal was, it would be already a great surprise and almost a miracle if nadal won more than one slam.
    I'm not saying he can't but I'm saying he probably won't and with each day he's away it is getting harder and harder to come back.
     
    #36
  37. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    Why do some people think Agassi stopped playing tennis during his 1997-meth year?

    He did not stop playing tennis at all, he played the whole year of 1997 (he played 14 tournaments + Davis Cup that year).


    The only time when Agassi really stop playing tennis for some months (from 24-9-1993 to 21-2-1994, almost 5 months) it was because of a wrist surgery.
     
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  38. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    LMAO! :)
     
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  39. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    14 tournaments is not that much. And he took at least a full month off during the season, according to his own book. BG told him either to get back in shape or just to call it a day, so he spent a month retraining and building back his strength and stamina before starting over on the challenger circuit.
     
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  40. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    One month or even two months not playing any tournament is not that much. Most players have had periods like that.

    I've read some people writting here (not in this thread) that Agassi stopped playing tennis for 2 or 3 years and that is why he was so strong later on. That (and many other things) only makes you realize that many people that write here didn't even follow tennis 10+ years ago.

    As I said, Agassi's real break from playing tennis was a 5 month period after his wrist surgery at the end of 1993, and he came back really strong (from 1994 Canadian Open to 1995 US OPEN was his best 13 months of tennis of his whole career).

    Nadal's around 8 months absence is starting to look a bit too much. We will see soon if he can make a good come back or not ( I personally think Nadal won't win another GS except for maybe another RG).
     
    #40
  41. Phoenix1983

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    Of Open Era players, Muster's comeback was the most impressive for me.

    Such a tough *******. :)
     
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  42. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    I think he is 6 months in.....he will be due in March.
     
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  43. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    impressive, beating Santoro, Chesnokov, Bruguera, Agenor & Carlos Costa. didn't drop a set.

    its a shame tennis didn't receive as much coverage back then.
     
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  44. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    Agassi?
    10 chars
     
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  45. Harry_Wild

    Harry_Wild Professional

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    Kim Clusters - 2 U.S. Opens and 2 other Grand Slam Finals
     
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  46. psYcon

    psYcon Semi-Pro

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    Ivanisevic comeback as a wild-card into Wimbledon and win the whole thing in 2001.
     
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  47. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Wouldn't it be Agassi? Wasn't he out for six months at some point, and then he packed in all those Slams in the latter half of his career.

    Serena's been out for months at a time several times, but was it ever six months? I remember her coming into 2008 or 2009 AO really out of shape and having been out for a while and winning and then regrouping and winning more Slams in the ensuing years. But, I don't think she was off for six months.

    Seles of course, was out from Spring of 1993 to the summer of 1995 after the horrific stabbing, and came back and immediately won a Tier 1 and made the USO final, then won the 1996 AO, and also made the 1996 USO and 1998 FO finals, and also had a lot of other "good" Slam performances (QFs or better) thereafter, though she obviously never returned to pre-stabbing form.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
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  48. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    Serena Williams has been off the tour for 6 months or more three times, and made comebacks.

    • First, after winning Wimbledon in 2003, she injured her knee in practice and required surgery, causing her to miss the remainder of the year. During this absence, her sister Yetunde was murdered, which was an emotional hurdle as well. Williams didn't return to the tour until the end of March, 2004, where she won the Miami tournament. She was out for 8 months total.
    • Second, Williams was off the tour from mid-January to mid-July 2006 as well (a 6 month layoff) due to reoccurring knee and back injuries, related to the issues she had in 2003 that caused the first surgery.
    • Third, Serena was out of competition from July 2010 until mid-June 2011, almost a full year. She injured her foot in a bizarre accident at a restaurant after Wimbledon where she lacerated a tendon stepping on a broken wine glass, which required surgery and caused her to miss the rest of the year. Then, while still recovering from surgery, she ended up having a pulmonary embolism in her lung in March of 2011. She didn't return to the tour until the Eastbourne tournament, as a warm-up for the 2011 Wimbledon, where she was the defending champion. She ended up losing that year to Bartoli in the round of 16. However, as we all know, she went on to make the US Open final later that summer, and then won both Wimbledon and the US Open this year.
    As you pointed out, Serena has also had shorter absences from tour due to other injuries and motivational issues. I'm not a fan of hers, but I have to respect the resiliency with these comebacks. Nobody on the men's tour has ever been able to do what she's done in this regard.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
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  49. SLD76

    SLD76 Legend

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    its not the age its the, mileage.
     
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  50. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    It has to be Agassi. Dropped out of the top 100. Came back and got back to #1 at 28/29 years old.
     
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