COLUMN: Is the ATP pushing its players too hard? The body count rises

Tuesday, 07 May 2024 at 12:27
carlos alcaraz imago1040887892h
The numerous injuries that have occurred at the Madrid Open have highlighted how dangerous the current ATP system is with tournaments from January to November without any rest for the players;
After a start of the season in which tennis players have to face the first Grand Slam (Australian Open) and the first two Masters 1000 (Indian Wells and Miami), a beastly clay court tour is coming up that includes three more Masters (Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome) and the second Grand Slam (Roland Garros).
The physical intensity of the matches is increasing and the bodies suffer more and more. Playing a full clay court season takes its toll (how many times in his career Rafael Nadal has ended up dead after Wimbledon and has suffered to be able to face the second part of the year with physical guarantees).
We have seen a Madrid Open in which the 3 top seeds of the tournament have been injured: Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev. Neither the Italian nor the Spaniard will play in Rome and the Russian said a few hours ago that going to defend his title at the Foro Italico would be a "risk".
We are "enjoying" one of the most important periods of the year in the tennis calendar with a plague of injuries. Needless to say that Novak Djokovic is going his own way and for years he has minimized his calendar to the maximum to focus on accumulating more Grand Slams and ignores everything else. The Serb is doing well... But only Nole can afford that at 37 years old, Carlitos or Jannik can't do that...
Thus, the ATP must react as soon as possible. It must shorten the season. Allow the players to have a few more weeks of rest between the Masters Cup and the start of the campaign in Australia. Oxygenate the clay tour (which then joins the grass tour and ends up at the All England Club with half of the circuit in tatters).
I understand that everything is for the money: more tournaments, more matches, more television distribution, more prize money and everyone wins: tennis players, sponsors .... But they also run the risk of exhausting the spectators by "imposing" tournaments 11 months and more per year. It is too much. It is unnecessary and, as we are seeing, it is not healthy for athletes. And the tournaments run the risk of having unattractive finals like those in Madrid or draws with many casualties as will happen in Rome.
Gentlemen of the ATP, please, take action on the matter. Oh, and by the way, stop changing the balls in every tournament. There are many tennis players who get injured because of this circumstance. It is all very well that each tournament has its own brand of balls. But this is 2024. Everything is measured to the millimeter. Tennis players take care of every technical aspect in detail and the different weight of the balls from one week to another in tournaments played on the same surface is proving to be harmful;
Changes are needed and they are needed now.

Non è facile scrivere questo messaggio ma dopo aver parlato di nuovo con i medici e gli specialisti dei miei problemi all'anca devo annunciare che putroppo non potrò giocare a Roma. Ovviamente sono molto triste di non aver recuperato, essendo uno dei miei tornei preferiti in…


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