30 July

Stay safe and don't beat yourself!

Getting injured is a unfortunate hazard of playing any sport, but suffering an avoidable, dare we say silly, injury is definitely not clever. Here's our guide to emerging unscathed from a match with your dignity intact!

Roger Fender injured his knee running a bath; Sam Querrey cut himself badly when a glass table he tried to sit on broke; and Kim Clijsters tripped over her dog and was out of action for several days. But these accidents of everyday life while regrettable are far more forgivable than on-court injuries for which you are almost entirely to blame. 

Tennis can ring pulls

These lethal items might just as well be martial arts weapons given their ability to draw blood and wound. They are at their most dangerous when tossed in a tennis bag. You only have to go look for a wrist band to cut your hand or finger. The result may not be life-threatening, but like a paper cut, ring-pull cuts can cause a lot of bleeding, are often painful and can seriously interfere with your tennis.

Move that ball

You've heard it so many times and you know it makes sense, and yet we all do it - we play on when there is a stray ball on court just waiting for you to trip over. The resulting injuries can be so devastating if you only break an ankle you might well be grateful.

Ball catching

Who doesn't like to show-off their cricketing skills by catching a ball that has been thumped out of court. Great, but though we are not dealing with 160 grams of leather-clad bullet, a fast-moving tennis ball can still dislocate a finger. Why risk it? (Oh, and if you are in the habit of catching your opponents balls before they hit the ground because you think they are going out, don't. It is rude and against the rules; you should lose the point).

Tracksuit shuffle

Your opponent is waiting and in any case your trackies have elasticated bottoms, so you give it a go: the on-one-leg attempt to remove your tracksuit bottoms over your brand-new Mizunos. Aside from the fact that the resulting cross-court stagger is rarely cool, this is the almost guaranteed way to pull a muscle in your back. Have a seat, and practise tying your laces. You know it makes sense.

The shin-cracker serve

Strictly speaking this injury, while one of the most irritating of the lot and one that definitely makes you look daft, is not that stupid - it happens to us all. But as it happens a lot, you do need to look at your serve action and make some tweaks. Not to do so would be daft. (Of course it is not just your shin that can get in the way of your racket and stories abound of players hitting their head while serving!).

The warm-up refusenik

Admittedly there are differences of medical opinion about whether or not to stretch before starting a match, but not warming up at all is potentially dangerous. A proper warm up increases the overall body temperature and prepares your muscles and ligaments for the match. Academic reviews of the available evidence suggests the warm up - and the warm down - reduces the risk of injury.

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