How the “tennis bellies” hit Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu

How the “tennis bellies” hit Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu

Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu both fight with the same injury - GETTY IMAGES

Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu both fight with the same injury – GETTY IMAGES

The fact that Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray, the only two active grand slam champions in Britain, seem to be destined to be below their best at Wimbledon due to strikingly similar abdominal problems, is not a strange phenomenon at first glance.

For a player at the beginning of his top career and one nearing the end, susceptibility to such back injuries is a daily risk of exhausting demands for tennis seats on the body, according to experts.

“It’s a matter of cargo,” said Machar Reid, head of innovation at Tennis Australia. “The bellies – or trunk – rotate on all three levels, at high speeds and repeatedly in forehands, backhands and while serving.

“Cricket bowlers can make 20 overs in a day of six hours, but tennis players can achieve the same number of serve and then double the number of forwards and backs, in matches that last half a year. “This density and the force of rotation is just brutal.”

Although such overuse is largely unavoidable, the British couple suffers from the demands of their respective unique situations.

Faced with her first full year on the WTA Tour, 19-year-old US Open champion Raducanu had already retired from racing with hip and back injuries before her last retirement in the middle of the race in Nottingham earlier this month. as her body finds it difficult to cope with the step. enter the competition from the junior ranks.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Murray, 35, suffered a stomach injury after a rare run in the Stuttgart Open final, which tested his fragile body with more races in a short period of time than anywhere else. previous half years.

“Without knowing the details of the injury, it seems viable, because he has trained quite similarly in recent years and knows his body better than anyone on tour,” said Mark Kovacs, founder of the Kovacs Institute and former director of coaching. science of education and sports in the US Tennis Association.

“His body is not ready to do it yet. Hopefully in time, he will be able to return to this level. But it is very difficult when you return from a significant extended time of limited games. ”

Kovacs describes three main reasons why abdominal injuries break out in tennis players: to follow the transfer of energy from the ground up to the ball or there could be an ineffective training program or match, which causes excessive overload “.

Murray described his injury as “not significant” but “difficult”, revealing that although he is training back with coach Ivan Lendl, he has not gone to practice some shots, which almost certainly include the very important serve.

“The most common form of abdominal injury in professional tennis is often a strain on the non-dominant side – the side of the flying hand – on the serve,” Reid said.

“Players can feel it as they throw the ball and in the first part of the attempt to hit, as these muscles are stretched or elongated eccentrically.

“This part of the service action is crucial to the constant high-speed service and the ability to hit different points, so if you are limited in any way, it is incredibly frustrating and even exhausting.”

As Murray suggested, such a relatively minor injury should not be a cause for concern in the long run. However, the proximity to the British tennis show means that none of the players are likely to accept to lose their moment in south London.

Kovacs explained: “It’s a soft tissue injury, so there is a natural cycle of muscle recovery. You can use a variety of devices to speed up your recovery schedule compared to sitting and resting, but the biggest challenge is that you can not train it until it heals. If you try to train him while he is still injured, it slows down the process.

“It’s really challenging. As a tennis player you may feel that you can do almost anything else, but you may not be able to serve at full speed.

“Unless it’s serious, people will try to give it away, especially in a tournament like Wimbledon, and then hope it does not make it worse. “It is unlikely that he will get significantly worse playing in it, but he will delay his recovery for weeks.”

Both Raducanu and Murray will desperately accept this risk.

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