Two recent injury announcements have me worried for the long-term prospects of two great tennis players:
“Unfortunately, I will not be able to play in Indian Wells this year because of the back injury that’s been bothering me since the end of last season.
“Thanks to all my fans for their support during this difficult period. Keep checking my site for updates on my recovery.”
Actually, Dinara’s just trying to make us feel better. Her back injuries have been bothering her for a little longer than “since the end of last season.” When she first revealed her injury at the year-ending championships in Doha last October, she told the press: “I’ve had this pain in my back for about three months now. I was advised to take a break after the US Open but at Tokyo and Beijing, it didn’t bother me that much.”
After returning to the tour for an Australian Open tune-up in Sydney, she was forced to pull out of Melbourne’s main event in the Round of 16 with what she called “exactly the same injury as in Doha.”
So if we count backwards, Dinara’s been dealing with a serious back injury for at least seven months.
“I don’t know what happened. It’s shocking.” Dinara said in her last press conference Down Under.
What’s really shocking is that the No. 2 player in the world has been struggling with a possibly career-threatening injury for the better part of a year and we still know very little about it. Let’s hope that no news – or very little – is good news and that Dinara’s back on the courts soon (but not too soon). At least this extended absence has made hearts grow fonder, and a little softer, when it comes to the non-Major-winning former No. 1.
On the men’s side, Tommy Haas is out of Indian Wells after undergoing hip surgery on Friday. He retired from a match in Delray Beach earlier in the week. Via his website:
Tommy Haas, 31, has suffered a setback. On Friday, the German underwent an operation in Vail, Colorado, where Dr. Marc J. Philippon performed surgery on the tennis pro’s right hip. Tommy Haas: “I had to have the operation now. The pain was simply too great.” What does the operation mean for the future career of Haas, whose last appearance was in Delray Beach in late February? His agent Lars Schriewer: “Tommy has been operated upon by the best medical doctor in this field. He is in the best of hands. Every thing else remains to be seen.“
Yeah, I’d say this is more than just a “setback.” The German press is speculating that he could be out for as many as six months. Time is starting to run out for the 31-year-old player, who has yet to make it to a Major final in his career. After suffering through a variety of ailments over the years – major shoulder surgery, a freak on-court accident at Wimbledon, and swine flu to name just a few – is this the end for Tommy?
Of course, he should look to fellow-veteran Lleyton Hewitt for hope. Lleyton underwent his second hip surgery after the Australian Open this year, and expects to be back in full health by the clay court season.
Sometimes I wonder if Haas is hanging on for that huge karmic pay-off. Will the Tennis Gods show some mercy and grant him one miraculous run?