Coach: Serena Williams Has Same Knee Issues As Rafael Nadal
by Tom Gainey | November 4th, 2015, 11:21 am

According to her coach Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams is having the same knee issues that Rafael Nadal has suffered from.

“It’s the same as Rafa,” Mouratoglou told “It’s just playing for so many years, the cartilage is [almost] gone. Not all of it, but a big part, so the bones just hit themselves.

“She has bone bruises, and if you keep on playing with this for too long, too much, the next step is a stress fracture.”

The 34-year-old Serena hasn’t played since her stunning and crushing loss in the US Open semifinals, denying a chance at the calendar Slam. Mouratoglou admitted that Serena’s suffered from depression, but injuries have forced her off the tour including having to skip the WTA Finals.

“There was no other option, and we knew that at some point we had to do it, because she plays with pain all the time,” Mouratoglou said. “The injury can get really worse, and at her age her career could really be in danger if she went too far and got more injured, like Rafa did in the past.

“He kept on playing with the same problem and then it got worse and he had to stop for almost a year, we don’t want this to happen. She is 34, if she has to stop for a year then it is really bad for her future.

“I’m not a doctor, she has treatment, but I know without rest there is no chance because you keep on hitting the bones all the time.”

Despite the injury, he added that Serena is already back on the tennis court. And while she has missed the last month or so of the WTA season, Serena is still expected to be ready to play the lucrative IPTL Series in Asia next month and then another exo at the Hopman Cup to start 2016.

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13 Comments for Coach: Serena Williams Has Same Knee Issues As Rafael Nadal

Ben Pronin Says:

I thought Rafa just had tendinitis. I feel like almost every pro athlete is missing chunks of cartilage. Dwayne Wade has this same issue. I would bet a lot of football players do, too, just going by how many torn MCLs and ACLs and all the other stuff they get. It’s insane.

elina Says:

Great video here on Nadal’s knee problem.

Really interesting for me as I’ve had four operations on my knee including an acl repair.

One guess as to how I blew my knee out?

Still playing though.

jane Says:

rafa’s playing doubles still right, and singles of course, so clearly his knee must be fine right now.

Margot Says:

Ben, I watched the Winter Olympics one year. The repeated injuries those guys ‘n gals sustain is insane.
In comparison they make tennis injuries look inconsequential.
As do Rugby injuries BTW.

Ben Pronin Says:

Any kind of knee injury can’t be inconsequential.

Have you see the leg snaps some basketball players have endured? Paul George, Kevin Ware. Those were gruesome.

In 2013 Navarro Bowman got his ACL and MCL torn. His leg basically bent forward as like 10 or more players piled on top of him. That was nasty. And the refs gave possession to the Seahawks even though he clearly had the ball. Talk about adding insult to injury.

Margot Says:

And this:

One athlete describing how she’s had “torn ligaments in knee and shoulder, torn cartilege in her other knee and six concussions.”
Not too many concussions in tennis, but again loads in Rugby too.

Ben Pronin Says:

“The majority of injuries were the result of athletes hitting stationary objects”

I mean, what do you expect? Extreme sports, in cold weather, where everyone’s going super fast, and on ice which is as hard as anything. Not saying it doesn’t suck or anything but it sorta comes with the territory.

J-Kath Says:

Heck – You have another 5 decades after you stop sports – are they crazy?

Chrisford1 Says:

J-Kath, it is tough to jump off the chariot at the right time if you are an athlete that excels, sometimes makes great money, and performing is the only thing you do well. Even if you know that what you are doing is damaging your health and may give you significant impairments later in life.


On winter female athletes and Margot’s read on it – I remember a lot of discussion about this in the Vancouver Games. The amount of injuries the stunt skiers and snowboarders had was insane and horrific. Debate if female aerial ski jumping and halfpipe should even continue, given females having much weaker limb joint, neck, and spine cushioning and ligament structure. If I remember correctly, of 20 aerial skiers, 18 had had significant knee and spinal injury. Of the 20, most had had concussions from being less able to break a fall and stop the head from hitting ground with near full force.
This was countered by the feminists, out as usual with the usual “Woman’s Right to Choose” argument. It started with pregnancy termination and has morphed into “warrior princess” conceit. That females can be US Navy SEALS if they choooooose to be, jump off the equivalent of a two story building in X-sports and by laws of equality….and have the same injury rate as the men.

In tennis, the chronic injuries seen in retired athletes is more evident in men because they played a physical game longer than the women pros have (a more recent development). So Chris Evert is fine, while Jimmy Connors has had 3 hip replacements, two spinal disc operations, a knee replacement surgery, tennis elbow bone spur removal and lots and lots of cortisone shots.
Now with the women playing a physical game (or at least some of them with ambitions higher than just looking good on court) , you may be seeing the “pounders” like Serena facing long term chronic joint issues. And seeing the heavier women tennis pros that may have full cardiovascular fitness and be in great overall health – in general having that extra weight causing worsening, chronic ligament and bursa injury.
(Vika, Jaimie Hampton, Lisicki, Kvitova, etc.)

Ben Pronin Says:

Safina did retire pretty early because of back issues, if I remember right.

RZ Says:

When Kim Clijsters retired the first time, she said something like “I want to wake up one morning without any pain.”

Ben Pronin Says:

And then she came back because she realized that’s an impossibility anyway.

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