Where is Stan the Man?

by Jonas Eriksson

The plague of injuries on the ATP World Tour continues, Stan the Man has just revealed that he’s out until the clay court season. And he’s not alone.

This means that he will skip two twin Masters series tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami. Stan said: “Unfortunately I need to announce that I won’t be able to play in Indian Wells and Miami. They are both amazing events but coming back from a big surgery is complicated and after having discussed with my team that it is best for me to build on the progress and go back to practice. I’ve enjoyed being back on tour matches and this gives me even more motivation to go back on the practice court. My goal is to find my highest level again and in order to do I will keep working hard every single day.”

“I’m playing to be patient and give my body the time it needs, but as of now my goal is to come back on clay. I love that part of the season and hope to be ready by then. I want to thank all of my fans who are always a great support. I’m working hard on and off the court and hope to be back within a few weeks.”

Stan joins a whole group of players that will pull out of Indian Wells: Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet to name a few. Big question mark also if Novak Djokovic will be ready for the tournament that he has won so many times.

Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Abierto Telcel 500 ATP in Acapulco, Mexico earlier this week so there is also a question mark if he will be able to play Indian Wells or Miami. Most experts seem to agree that it would be a sensible decision for him to wait and recuperate in time for his favourite part of the season – the upcoming clay court tournaments in spring where he usually dominates.

I’ve written quite a lot about the increasing injuries on the ATP World Tour lately and I’ve wondered and keep on wondering what can be done to reduce this kind of dropout due to hurt players. Because it’s definitely not good for the sport to have such a decimated field for a couple of the most important tournaments of the years. This begs to ask the following questions:

  • Is the tennis calendar too long and gruelling?
  • Are the new strings and equipment increasing the speed and physicality of the sport too much?
  • Do players need to be much more careful about their scheduling and if that is the case, will the way tour points are calculated need to reflect this change?

Would be interesting to hear your opinions here! Please comment below!

Possibly there is a combination of all of the above. Since most of your readers like tennis gear, I think definitely there is a point to the use of stiff poly strings and the wear and tear they have on the body. I think most of us could happily use softer strings like multifilaments and natural gut and still enjoy and play our best tennis.


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Benicio March 2, 2018 - 15:00

Why not at least, host a tournament with height class? Controversial, but should be discussed.

J March 2, 2018 - 18:12

I agree that the reasons are probably a combination — too long a calendar, polys, and age. I remember reading years ago some people warning that polys and other equipment were having detrimental effects on players.
On the other hand I guess that tennis careers used to start to wind down after 30. With the revival of Fed we think that players can keep going longer. However, Fed’s recent run of success is, in addition to his own qualities, partly due to the fact that his stratospheric peer group, now 30+ too, is absent with injuries!

When I see the extreme movement of some young players (eg. Chung, Shapovalov) on hard courts, entertaining as it is, I wonder how long they are going to last.

Omar Teeth March 9, 2018 - 00:27

I’m gonna go with a conspiracy theory that Murray, Djoker, Wawrinka, Nishikori we’re all serving a doping ban :)

Coincidental that they all get “injuries” that leave them all out for 6 months.

Just speculating.

Stan March 13, 2018 - 17:02

The main reason is the legal headsize of the tennis racquets. I still don’t understand why ITF allowed to use it. My opinion is that they should allow the max size of a tennis racquet 80sq in and no more. That would keep the game much more entertaining and safe. It would also help the talented players and not the opposite as it is now.
Second reason are the surfaces. Grass is not really grass as it used to be, with red clay (in most of the cases) the same and the widespread hard courts are also partly responsible for the injuries. Indoor carpet is banned (I don’t know why)and it seems that all surfaces are more or less similar to the hard.

Tennisnerd March 14, 2018 - 11:56

Interesting point of view! I agree in part. Tennis was fun with more varied surfaces, but it’s also fun to see some power tennis at times. However, it might have gone too far for the players health…

Armin March 22, 2018 - 20:34

billie jean king suggested 2 set for mens in slams as well. that would certainly help too. and yeah i also agree to a limit of a tennis racket+´s head size to bring back more of the mental game. That hacking of tall players really isn´t what i want to see, but its the norm right now.

Secret Gopher April 15, 2018 - 19:27

Open stance ground strokes, hard poly strings and hard court sliding, regular old hard court pounding and too much of all of those things work in concert. And if a player isn’t displaying 100 effort on televised matches, commentators get a Habanero wedgie. I can’t prove this, but my guess is nylon wicking, no support/compression short and ultra light ultra no support shoes aren’t helping. (Not that some old combat boot weight sneakers were all that great either) But, Jeez Grasshopper, how about a little frigging balance now and then. On the smaller racquet heads and 2 set limit ideas… why not just makes it a seven iron and a coin toss? Progress is a good thing, but when field testing is replaced by trendy sheep think, economic drivers like cheap materials and construction in equipment, a solution won’t likely be found in more of the same in different colors.


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