With all the injuries hitting the men’s game – Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic are all out of the US Open – what’s going on? Roger Federer has an answer, and it’s not to answer the season. It’s age related.
“You can cut down the season by half, and then, if then there is an injury, we cut it down half again, and at the end we play two months of the year eventually at some stage, and we’ll still be injured because now we’re not playing enough,” Federer said Saturday during his US Open pre-tournament presser.
“I believe it’s just that the guys who are hurt lately, it’s mostly because they are 30-plus,” he pointed out. “Wear and tear just takes its toll. Maybe some players have just had enough of playing hurt and told just themselves, When I come back I just want to be 100%. Not always playing be at 85, 90, 95%. It’s just not fun this way.
“Now, Nishikori and Raonic have had some injuries as of late. It’s always been a bit of come and go with them. So I guess they just really want to figure it out now, and they also both have been hurt, so I hope they will be back strong again.
“But for the most part I think it’s the age more than anything. I don’t think there needs to be that much addressing, because the players, they have the option not to play as much as sometimes they have to or want to.
I don’t think the tour is doing much wrong, to be quite honest.”
Djokovic is 30, Murray is 30, Wawrinka is 32 while Nishikori is 27 and Raonic 26.
Added Nadal, who mentioned the different balls play a role, too, “Don’t forget that Sampras probably at my age was not playing tennis, Borg was not playing tennis. A lot of great players were not playing tennis at our age.
Is normal that we are still playing, we try our best, but it’s normal that we have more troubles during this.”
Federer himself is also injured with a recent back issue. Marin Cilic also comes in short on matches because of an adductor injury.
Federer also reminded that with so many out, the draw opens up.
“When somebody is injured, somebody else wins,” Federer said. “We saw that last year when Rafa and me weren’t around, somebody else stepped up. Always seems somebody takes advantage of the fact, and that some players are not around. Yeah, then you have got to be in the right place at the right time and be healthy and fresh and all that.”
So maybe at the end of the US Open the freshest player is the winner?
“I think it’s a huge opportunity for guys ranked outside of the Top 10,” Federer added. “Because there is less guys to beat, getting to quarters or semis, potentially, depending on your section.”
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