With so many of the top players in the men’s game wounded and ailing, it’s worthwhile to go back a couple months to here from Roger Federer on why this is happening. And the Swiss gave the best explanation: It’s that the tour is so much older now.
Federer speaking at the ATP Finals in London:
Shave 10 years of our age, and we probably will do better.
A lot of the guys are just touching 30 plus, you know. Back in the day, at 30, a lot of guys were retiring. Edberg, Sampras, it was like normal at 29, 32, to start looking towards the end of your career. Now you guys expect everybody to play till 36. When somebody is injured at 31, it’s like, Oh, my God, how is this possible?
Actually, it’s a normal thing. If either you retire or you take a sufficient break so when you do come back you maybe have another few years left again because you really made sure your rehab is good.
So I think for the most part it’s age, coincidence. In the other guys, let’s say Nishikori, Raonic, wrist, I don’t know what they have. Wrist to me is not something that comes from overplaying, especially if it’s your left hand. That’s just a move I can’t relate to because I don’t play double-handed. From what I’ve been told, the wrist is always in a troubled position with that flicking that’s going on more and more these days.
I think Andy even broke his wrist. Maybe that was something else, I’m not sure. Del Potro has had three of them. I think these things tend to happen.
The season has been the same for many, many years, as we know. I think just when you get older, you maybe have to manage your schedule maybe a little bit differently. But some guys, they just go maybe all out for 15 years, and they do it until you sort of break down, then you just reset.
I think you can’t put them all together. But for the most part I think most guys are touching 30, so that has a big role to play.
Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka are all over 30. Kei Nishikori is 28, Milos Raonic 27.
Right now there are 10 players 30 or older in the Top 20. Ten years ago at the start of the 2008 season there were just two (Guillermo Canas – 30, Carlos Moya – 31). And 20 years ago at the start of the 1998 season there just one (Thomas Muster – 30).
30+ AGED PLAYERS TO START THE SEASON
Federer also brought up his point that the double-handed backhand can cause problems for your non-dominant wrist. And with the focus on power in the game and the increased physicality in points, we’ve seen a rise in wrist injuries it seems, with almost no top players immune.
Nadal, Djokovic, Nishikori, Raonic, Tsonga, del Potro and Murray have all had wrist issues while one-handers like Federer, Dimitrov and Wawrinka have not.
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