The dawn of a new tennis season is always filled with hope, anticipation and possibility. We can’t help ourselves. It’s like we completely forget about how we complained a mere two months about the length of the tennis season and how much we longed for a break. Nope, things are new, we’re happy, and we’re ready to go.
Until players start dropping like flies due to injury and we’re left wondering why we got all that excited in the first place. Andrea Petkovic is the sobering reminder of that fact. Her run of bad luck continued when she tore the meniscus in her right knee in her first match of the season. Much like Rafael Nadal, Petkovic’s injury is too serious to allow her to compete this month, and she’s already returned home to Germany for surgery and rehab.
Those catastrophic injuries may grab the headlines, but tennis is as much a sport of niggles. Major injuries knock you off tour, which in a sick way can be a blessing. It gives players time to actually commit to their fitness and get better, as opposed to simply managing their bodies so things don’t get worse. But those less-than-major aches and pains? It’s like being in purgatory. Being in competition doesn’t afford anyone the luxury of being at 100 percent for long stretches of time.
The Australian Open is a mere 10 days away, and while some players can’t wait to strike their first ball of the 2013 slam season, a small handfull of others probably wouldn’t mind a longer break. The worst luck you can have is to suffer an injury at the start of the season, a time when the conditions are at their toughest, the courts unforgiving and no meaningful break in sight to give your body extended rest.
Here are five players whose early injury woes could spell doom to their Australian Open chances.