Two star players on the men’s tour, who were both involved in the IPTL in the off-season have now pulled out of the first grand slam of the year.
Frenchman, Joe Wilfred Tsonga who represented the Manila Mavericks has withdrawn due to forearm inflammation. This injury prevents him from competing where he reached his only grand slam final back in 2008.
Marin Cilic - the 2014 U.S Open champion - is the latest big name to pull out of the Australian Open due to a shoulder injury. The big serving Croat represented the UAE Royals in the IPTL and is a former semi-finalist in Melbourne.
Cilic stated he is not fit enough to compete at the highest level and has been advised by doctors to be careful to avoid even more serious problems.
Are these high profile withdrawals from the Australian open such a coincidence, considering the IPTL only concluded on the 13th of December?
This meant players involved in the IPTL only had a three week rest and recovery period in a sport that is so physically demanding. It is so disheartening to see star players withdraw from grand slam and tournament finals.
Even men’s finals matches are ending in non-events due to injury. This happened at the masters’ cup final in London in which Roger Federer withdrew due to a back injury and as recently as last week when Novak Djokovic had to withdraw from the Abu Dhabi final against Andy Murray due to illness.
With all the withdrawals by players due to injury or illness it may remind everyone involved that rest and recuperation is far more valuable than lucrative pay cheques for playing exhibition tournaments.
For years, players were pleading with the sport’s governing body to shorten the tennis season, to aid recovery after a long season and yet again players find themselves jetting off to play more tennis.