Article on tennis injuries

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by sureshs, May 14, 2006.

  1. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Oct 1, 2005
    Came across this on The article is couple of years old. Didn't know which section of the board this would fit in, so here it is.

    Note one very interesting opinion that 2 H BH causes injuries

    From codeine to a dose of code two
    October 30, 2004

    A Sydneysider who fears tennis has brought itself to breaking point is lobbying for a revolutionary version of the sport to end the pain, writes Philip Derriman.

    During his long career as a broadcaster, Alan McGilvray often called on cricket authorities to do away with the leg bye, arguing it was plainly nonsensical since, by definition, it rewarded the batting side for a batsman's error - trying to hit the ball and missing.

    McGilvray was an influential figure in cricket, yet his crusade against the leg bye got nowhere, showing how hard it is for an individual to persuade a sport to change its rules.

    Gary Simmonds of Sydney, a student of tennis and former coach, is aware of this, yet he has begun a similar crusade of his own: trying to persuade tennis authorities to introduce new rules - or, rather, revert to old rules - to reduce injuries. His submission is about to be forwarded to the International Tennis Federation.

    He says injuries in elite tennis are occurring at an alarming rate. In the past three years, Gustavo Kuerten, Guillermo Coria, Tommy Haas, Mark Philippoussis, Pat Rafter, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Johansson, Lindsay Davenport, Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams, Alicia Molik and Martina Hingis have all had surgery to repair various injuries.

    Numerous others have been sidelined by injury for certain periods, among them Juan Carlos Ferrero, Andre Agassi, Carlos Moya, Marat Safin, Venus Williams and Jennifer Capriati.

    While nobody doubts the nature of the modern game is responsible for the injuries, few people seem to understand why and how. Even fewer have come up with a remedy.

    Having spent three years researching the subject, Simmonds is not only convinced he has identified the causes of the injuries, but believes he knows how the problem can be fixed.

    He argues the bulk of the injuries stem from five features of modern tennis - the airborne serve; double-handed groundstrokes; the extreme groundstroke grips, both forehand and backhand, that are encouraged by big-headed racquets; the obsession with fitness, which leads to overtraining; and unsuitable court surfaces.

    He has produced a detailed analysis to show how each of the five factors puts the body under extra stress. The airborne serve means a player lands on the same foot over and over, jarring the leg and hip; double-handed shots force players to take an extra half-step to get to the ball, resulting in stretching and straining; and extreme grips cause players to contort themselves while dealing with low balls, thereby harming spines and various joints.

    Because all these factors are the product of rule changes in past decades, his solution is to change the rules back. Thus, Simmonds would like to see players keep one foot on the ground while serving (obligatory until 1958), double-handed ground strokes prohibited and racquet heads reduced in size.

    In other words, tennis would be played much as it was until the 1950s, when, significantly, injuries were not nearly as common.

    According to Simmonds, although the ITF might see the logic, it would be reluctant to act for fear of being sued by racquet manufacturers, which have invested heavily in big-headed racquets, and by players, who might claim loss of livelihood.

    He therefore proposes that the ITF should introduce a second version of tennis incorporating the safer rules, which he calls "code two" tennis. There would be no risk of litigation, he says, since everyone could choose to keep playing under current rules with modern racquets, but he believes players would gradually switch of their own accord to code two tennis to avoid injury.

    As a bonus, he says, the game would regain much of its old style, variety and subtlety and so have more appeal for spectators.

    "Tennis players are great imitators," Simmonds says. "If they see a successful player doing something, they'll incorporate it without knowing whether it's beneficial or harmful."

    The worst example of this, in his view, is John McEnroe's serving stance. McEnroe stood facing the side of the court, then hopped front-on to get into a follow-through position. "Players with the McEnroe stance - they've got troubles, all of them," Simmonds says. "It upsets the shoulders and the front leg."

    Simmonds says large-headed racquets have much to answer for. By making top-spin strokes with extreme grips easier, they have encouraged a baseline running game, which has required players to be super fit - leading to injuries from overtraining.

    "There's now a huge emphasis on running. It's constant-movement tennis. All Lleyton Hewitt does is run, run, run. When you run and run, back and forwards, people in the gallery start to feel tired, too. Players are not only wearing themselves out, they're wearing spectators out. The game is speeded up and every shot looks the same."

    A return to old rules would revive obsolete shots such as the underspin lob, which could usually be retrieved, allowing the rally to continue. Instead, today's big-headed racquets enable moderately skilled players to hit top-spin lobs for winners, deterring players from coming to the net.

    "There's no incentive to come in and volley, which is why there are only a few serve-volleyers left," says Simmonds. "Once you get down to baseline tennis only, the game is reduced because you're not using the whole court."
  2. Venetian

    Venetian Professional

    Apr 30, 2004
    Haha this dude pretty much hates everything about tennis. The "obsession with fitness" is a problem huh?

    Injuries are pretty common in gymnastics too. Maybe they should not allow all that jumping around and tumbling. And forget twirling with batons and doing the splits. It's just much too dangerous.

    I love when people try to make crazy rules for sports that none of the actual pro athletes want anything to do with.
  3. Slazenger

    Slazenger Professional

    Nov 1, 2005
    I knew it right from the start of the article that this was going to be a 'let's revert to serve and volley' article.

    The rules are definitely not going to be reverted to keep one foot on the ground for serves. That's just crazy talk. And "prohibiting' double handed groundstrokes??

    This guy is too biased. Why would anyone choose to slice lob, when you can hit the topspin lob higher and have a better chance of getting it in? And it is harder to track down?

    If any tennis body introduced Code 2 tennis no pro player in their right mind would do it.

    The fact of the matter is that times change. You adapt or you lose, end of story.
  4. MTChong

    MTChong Professional

    Jun 21, 2005
    What a guy...

    He does not seem to take note of the fact that the tennis season virtually has no off-season. One month? Perhaps that's what really causes lots of the injuries: the neverending grind!
  5. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

    Dec 11, 2005
    I see the following problems in order of importance for PROS:

    1. Too many tournaments equals too little rest;
    2. Too many hard court tournaments equals too much pounding;
    3. Extreme groundstrokes are ligament/tendon KILLERS;
    4. The leaping serve does cause hip problems. I had them in college because I would leap about 8 inches on my serve;
    5. Big racquets are an abomination, I agree, but their importance is overstated in the article. Better to focus on softer strings, IMHO, strung lower;
    6. Fitness levels of the pros are at the highest they've ever been and that's good, but to be super fit and STAY HEALTHY you must ENFORCE REST. This is not done by many of the best athletes. Would you run a horse like Citation in races 10 days out of 14? Why do humans think they are stronger than horses?

    I do think that Nadal will have a much shorter career than Federer because of the way he plays. It's exciting to watch, but he is going to be paying for his style of play later on if he doesn't start resting more and getting a bit more economical on the court. Federer looks like he did a time and motion study of his play. Very little wasted motion. RAFA is killing his joints.

    No, I think this fellow's ideas are very thought provoking and should be discussed widely.

  6. travlerajm

    travlerajm Legend

    Mar 14, 2006
    IMO, this article is ridiculous. If I were the editor, I would have rejected it.
  7. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Oct 1, 2005
    I think he was saying that a top spin lob is much harder to return than a sliced lob, and top spin lobs are easier with big racquets, which puts a S&V-er at a disadvantage.

    I see only confirmation from someone about airborne serve injuries and the point of too many tournaments, but nothing yet to contradict what was in the article.
  8. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

    Jul 13, 2004
    Although I like the current regulations, changes or modifications to rules are common in all sports for a variety of reasons - the poster has stated his case but turning back the clock is seldom the answer. One of the objections I would have to his suggestions would be the "enforcement" factor which would, in my opinion, be almost impossible.

    Getting some of these suggestions incorporated into the current rules would be another huge factor (assuming they were in fact valid and made sense) because of all the "special interest" groups involved with the sport. Even when there is a logical reason to make a change, it takes years to pass/implement prospective rule changes.

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