With the ATP Tour currently on suspension, many tennis players have taken up hobbies to pass the time. However, Australian James Duckworth decided to use this free time to undergo an inevitable surgery.

Prior to the 2020 season, the 28-year old had undergone seven surgeries ranging from right elbow surgery in 2012 to another procedure on the same elbow in 2018. He had an eighth surgery done on his right shoulder in March 2020, as it had been bothering him for nine months.

“It’s a bit different to my seven other operations,” Duckworth told ATPTour.com, smiling. “We don’t really know what to prepare for. I’m a bit more conservative in my rehab than I have been previously because I’m not rushing to get back into competition. We’re trying to do all the right things rehab-wise, get it as strong as possible and hopefully have some reduced pain when the season starts again.

“I wouldn’t have had anything done if it wasn’t for the coronavirus. I would have just kept pushing through. But if I hadn’t done something for the shoulder now, I might have been kicking myself when the season started again. It might not work, but my mindset is that at least I tried something.”

Duckworth has been rehabbing his shoulder at home, and despite all the hard work has never considered hanging up his racquets.

“When I was going through such a long phase of not being able to hop and jump and push off like I needed to… I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do this or not. My dad is a shoulder and elbow surgeon, so he knows a lot in the medical world, and he wasn’t sure if my last foot surgery would work,” Duckworth said. “I was pretty nervous because if this didn’t work, there aren’t many other options. There was never a stage where I thought that I’m done, but there were times I thought that I might be in trouble.”

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Author: Arthur Ajayi