There is something a bit like the Spanish Armada about the cancellation of Rafael Nadal due to a knee injury, joked Swiss Indoors President Roger Brennwald in an interview with Tele Basel. The seasoned promoter is taking the unprecedented level of injuries affecting male tennis in recent months in his stride. Six top ten stars are currently injured or have ended their season. They are Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka (photo, lying on his back) Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic and Andy Murray. The irony: Nadal and Roger Federer, last year's unlucky fellows, are again presenting champagne tennis this year after a break and a tough development programme.
In his TV interview, Brennwald argued that the number of 64 events today in the ATP World Tour is at the upper limit. On top of that are the four Majors with eight weeks and the Davis Cup. But insiders know that if the calendar of the official tournament chain is reduced, the exhibitions will mushroom immediately. The current misfortune also has other reasons: for the first time in years, the top four in the ranking are all older than 30. These titans obviously have a higher risk of injury. And the speed on the court has also increased. Injuries to the upper limbs are conspicuous. The reason is that the acceleration of the ball comes from the torso, shoulder, arm, wrist, hand and racket chain. Huge forces are at play here, which can hardly be compared with the old rackets made from strawberry wood.
One prediction is easy: this year, one of the “old ones”, either Nadal or Basel favourite Federer, will end the season as number 1 of the ranking.