Treating Tennis Elbow

tennis elbow terry newmyer

Tennis elbow has plagued tennis players for years, but you don’t necessarily need to be an enthusiast of the sport to develop the condition. Tennis elbow, or Lateral Epicondylitis, is caused by the tearing of the tendons around the elbow and not enough recovery time following the tear. Since tendons do not receive a lot of blood flow, the recovery time is much longer than with a muscle tear.

This condition typically affects those who rely on their wrist, arm, and elbow to complete a regular activity, such as tennis players, golfers, bowlers, assembly line workers, and housekeepers. Tennis elbow can be quite painful, but there are many actions you can take to alleviate the pain.

 

Learn Better Techniques

Though it can develop in many people who aren’t tennis athletes, if you have tennis elbow and do play tennis, it’s time to develop the way you play. Make sure your technique is strong by consulting a tennis instructor or personal trainer, who will be able to tell you if you need to revise your game.

 

Improve Blood Flow

Since the tendons do not receive good blood flow, it’s a good idea to receive a massage to increase blood flow and speed up healing time. Having a deep tissue massage can also break up the scar tissue around the tendon, which will allow the area to recover faster. Try to find a massage therapist who has experience and knowledge in working with this specific condition.

 

Invest in an Elbow Strap

Elbow straps relieve some of the tension and pain by providing a counter-force on the lateral epicondyle, allowing the wearer to have a better grip during their activities. Tennis elbow makes squeezing and gripping actions very painful, and an elbow strap will minimize this pain, allowing you to get back to the activities you love.

 

Warm Up and Stretch

Before you hit the court, make sure to warm up your muscles properly. Warming up the muscles around the affected area will help prevent further injury and will increase blood flow to the area. After you’re finished, remember to stretch properly using these stretches that are known to help tennis elbow.

 

Whether your tennis elbow was caused by your favorite sport or it’s a result of doing your job, if you take these steps it will help the tendons in your arm heal and ensure that you reduce the risk of injury in the future.

Results of the 2017 French Open

Each year the bring orange, clay tennis courts of the French Open are used from late May to early June. This year, stars were born, strong players dominated, and a legend sat out entirely.

thefrenchopen-terry newmyer

Roger Federer

The legacy of Roger Federer’s career is truly one of the most impressive in tennis history, which is why it came as a shock when he announced he would be skipping the French Open in order to prepare for Wimbledon. Unlike the French Open, Wimbledon uses a grass-court, which requires a completely different set of tennis skills in order to thrive on. In the end, Federer’s decision to stay off of the clay courts was upsetting for his fans, but strategically a good call.

 

Rafael Nadal

Men’s Single Winner

In the past, Nadal has already proven that he can dominate on the clay surfaced courts. According to Nadal, he had always dreamed of winning just once at the French Open, but this year marked his 10th win. Back in 2005, Nadal dominated at the French Open, and it’s a true testament to his skill in the sport that he has managed to win ten of the 12 French Open competitions he has played.

 

Jolena Ostapenko

Women’s Single Winner

In the Women’s Final, Ostapenko delivered an outstanding game against third-seeded Simona Halep. After losing the first set to Halep, Ostapenko came back strong in the second and third sets, ultimately giving her the win. This is 20-year-old Ostapenko’s first ever championship win, having entered the French Open as an unseeded player.

 

Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus

Men’s Doubles Winners

Ryan Harrison of the United States and Michael Venus of New Zealand beat Santiago Gonzalez and Donald Young at the Roland Garros. Michael Venus became the first winner of the French Open from New Zealand since 1974.

 

Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova

Women’s Doubles Winners

Bethanie Mattrek-Sands and Lucie Safarova successfully beat out Kristina Miadenovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova for the Women’s Double title at the open. Originally, Miadenovic was to play with Caroline Garcia, but Garcia dropped out of the open at the last minute.

The French Open

The French Open - Terry NewmyerThe French Open, also known as the Roland-Garros is a 2 week-long tennis tournament, held in Paris every year. The first tournament was held in 1891, and the players were all members of French clubs throughout the country. In 1897, women were allowed to play in the tournament, but the French Open didn’t gain international popularity until 1925, when players from around the world were able to compete.

The French Open is one of only 4 Grand Slam tournaments in the world. The other Grand Slam tournaments are the US Open, Wimbledon, and the Australian Open. A Grand Slam tournament are each 2 weeks long and considered the biggest major competitions for professional tennis players.

 

Surface of the Court

This Grand Slam tournament is regarded as the most difficult among some in the tennis community, partly because the playing surface is clay. Tennis balls react differently on a clay surface as opposed to the standard hard surface or grass courts. The clay allows players to slide to reach their shots and it’s favored by baseline players. Since the clay makes the ball bounce higher while also slowing it down, big servers often don’t do as well with this type of surface.

To compare, the US and Australian Opens both use hard surfaces and Wimbledon has a grass surface.

 

Grand Slams

When a tennis player is able to win in their division at all 4 Grand Slam tournaments, this is considered a major accomplishment in the world of tennis. There are many different categories of Grand Slams. A calendar Grand Slam means the player won all 4 slam tournaments in the same year. A non-calendar slam, means the player won each of the Super Slam tournament over the course of 2 years.

 

Golden Grand Slam Winners

Tennis players who win all 4 tournaments and the gold medal in the summer Olympics in the same year are known for completing the Golden Grand Slam. The tennis players who have achieved a Golden Grand Slam are on an incredibly short list because it is so difficult to do. The only tennis player who ever achieved a Golden Grand Slam was Steffi Graf in 1988.

A Brief History of Tennis

history of tennis - terry newmyer

Some people might be surprised to learn that the game of tennis has been around for at least several hundred years. Some historians even believe that a game similar to today’s tennis was being played in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, but there is very little evidence that the game existed during this time. What historians do have are words that describe tennis, but no drawings or descriptions that tie the game to these ancient locations.

 

Humble Beginnings

The evidence that we do have on record is that tennis from today evolved from a game in 12th century France called “Paume,” meaning palm. The game was played by European monks in a closed courtyard and they hit a ball back and forth with their hands. At this time, there were no racquets used, this would come later when the game was taken up by French royalty.

 

Reaching France

Once the game reached French nobility through the monks instruction, racquets were eventually added, and the whole game of tennis took off. At this time, the game was called “Royal Tennis” but it was played by people of all classes. The game had more solidified rules and Francis I of France was reportedly a huge fan of tennis, even setting up courts throughout the country for everyone to enjoy. According to historians, tennis was so popular among the people that there were as many as 1,800 courts throughout France by the 13th century.

 

Tennis Ball Evolution

At first, the tennis ball used was nothing like what we see today. It wasn’t until the 1800s when bouncier tennis balls were created. Before that, wads of hair, cotton, or wool were primarily used to hit the ball back and forth.

 

Putting Rules in Place

Tennis prior to more modern times did not have standardized rules and regulations, and they typically varied from place to place. In 1874, Major Walter Clopton Wingfield, an inventor and British officer created a patent of the rules and equipment that should be used for tennis, effectively making the game more easy to follow for everyone. His rules were the basis for modern tennis playing and most are still used today.

 

Finalizing the Game

In 1877, the first Wimbledon tournament was held and the rules of tennis were further adjusted, as was the size of the court and height of the tennis net. By 1882, the point system was finalized and the game of tennis continued to gain popularity with the masses.

Rivalry: Andy Murray and Milos Raonic

Here’s something that tennis enthusiasts will eat up: the official blog of the ATP has launched a series detailing some of the fiercest on-court rivalries this year. First up: Andy Murray and Milos Raonic.

At first glance, Murray vs. Raonic may not seem like much of a rivalry at all. They met six times throughout the year, with the Scot besting the Canadian in each outing. However, during each of their encounters Raonic showed flashes of brilliance, making none of Murray’s victories come easy. During the 2016 Australian Open, Raonic won the first two sets and had the current Number One on the ropes, before Murray rallied to advance to finals. The two athletes also met at the quarterfinals of the  Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and the finals of of both the Aegon Championships and Wimbledon. Raonic lost in each bout, and his the Wimbledon match resulted in his first runner-up finish. The two last met this month for the ATP World Tour Finals, with Murray winning in dramatic fashion.

Raonic is four years younger than Murray, and could very well gain the experience necessary to beat him in the coming years. Their budding rivalry also demonstrates that all wins aren’t landslides, and that a thorn in the side can stick around for ages.

2017 Australian Open Previews

The first Grand Slam Tournament of 2017 is fast approaching! Here are a few expert opinions and insights on what we can expect from some notable names at the Australian Open.

Andy Murray: He may be the current number one and have scooped his second Wimbledon championship and defended the top Olympic honors in the same year, but it’s the Australian Open that Andy Murray can’t get out of his mind. The UK tennis star has never won in the land down under, and even though he has the chance to close out the calendar year as World Number One, he’ll be coming into January hungrier than ever before.

Novak Djokovic: Turn Murray’s Australian Open misfortunes into victories and you’ve got a good picture of Djokovic’s performance. The Serbian athlete has won the Open six times, five of them against Andy Murray. If you’re sticking with the odds, Djokovic is the clear favorite to win again this year. And although Murray is poised to end 2016 as the Number One, Djokovic could lay claim to that spot come 2017.

Nick Kyrgios: A wild card, but ESPN’s Mark Philippoussis thinks he has a shot. The Australian is strong and talented enough to get it done, but Philippoussis warns against his impetuous temperament and youth. The 21-year old Kyrgios has been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and tanking in the past, and winning a Grand Slam requires a tremendous amount of mental fortitude in addition to raw physical talent. He’s only 21 and has a lot of growing to do, but anything could happen!

Lizette Cabrera: Kyrgios may be the wild card pick to win, but his fellow countrywoman Lizette Cabrera is an actual wildcard draw. The 18-year old received her wildcard invitation during her time at a camp with some of Australia’s finest tennis players, meaning she won’t need to participate in the Australian Open Wildcard Playoffs. Cabrera still has youth on her side and is only getting better— she recently beat her first top 100 player, no. 75 Kirumi Nara of Japan.

“Why are Tennis Balls Yellow?” and Other Tennis Questions

It’s probably not a question that was at the front of your mind. But who knows, maybe one day you’ll be able to share this tennis trivia at a party!

tennis ball on tableTennis balls, for decades, were white. But in 1972, the International Tennis Federation switched to yellow. Why? Because these balls were easier to see on television! For fourteen years, Wimbledon held out, using white balls until the adaptation of yellow in 1986. Other properties of the ball, like the deformation range, were experimented with until perfected in 1996. 2002 saw the acceptance of type 1 and type 3 balls. We’ve been playing with these standards ever since?

Why Are the Balls Fuzzy?

Good question. Tennis balls are made of rubber— they have been for over a century. However, as the game picked up popularity and sought to become more uniform, the balls were hollowed out and pressurized with gas. In order to prevent wear and tear during the course of play, manufacturers began to stitch flannel onto the ball. The result was a more durable tennis ball that also had physical properties allowing it to be spun more easily.

Facts courtesy of ITF website.

How the ATP Rankings Work

How many times have you looked at the little number next to a tennis player’s name and wondered what it meant? Not what the ranking was, per se, but how it got there?

black and white picture of tennis player on court

Ilie Nastase, the first World Number 1

In the beginning of the modern tennis era, rankings were determined by a collection of journalists, national tennis federations, and other experts on the sport. The method was informal and subjective. Of course one country’s ruling tennis body would want their star to be number one! In early days of the open era, countries were allowed to nominate four of their players to compete in the major tournaments. So, a new model of the ATP rankings was formulated. It gave the sport much needed rankings objectivity, even though some athletes didn’t immediately accept it.

The current ranking system isn’t as clandestine as you may think, even though the official explanation is a bit dense. You can read about the Emirates ATP Rankings over at their official site, but here are a few details to keep in mind:

  • The ATP rankings uses a points system, so there is no “who beat whom” situation
  • Point totals are taken from the Grand Slams, the World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
  • Also added to the score are the best six results for a player’s performance in all ATP World Tour 500, ATP World Tour 250, ATP Challenger Tour and Futures tournaments

Following along? Great! Now here’s what lowers a ranking:

  • Every time a player is not part of the main draw in Grand Slam or mandatory ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, their ranking increases by 1.
  • If the player does make the main draw, the tournament result will count towards the ranking (whether or not he actually plays).

Making the main draw in a Grand Slam or World Tour Masters 1000 is difficult, and the longer a player stays out of contention, the further back they’ll slip.

del Potro is Back

Argentine Juan Martin del Potro fell to American Sam Querrey in the Delray beach Semi-Finals. But what del Potro’s participation meant is much more important than the outcome. This competition was his first professional outing in 11 months.

His career is of great note for tennis fans because of all of the thoughts of what could have been. In 2009, he became the first player to beat powerhouses Nadal and Federer in the same Major. But shortly after his win, he underwent a surgery on his wrist. It was the first of many— over five years he has had four surgeries. One on the right, and three on the left. It was a question of if, not when, he could return to his powerful style of play.

When he entered the tournament, del Potro held a ranking of 1,042. During the tournament, flashes of his old brilliance were present, and he exited with a ranking of 420. Still a ways to go to the top, but that’s not a leap to balk at.

Fan or not, it is hard not to respect the drive that del Potro has had to overcome pain and injury to resume doing what he loves. It is truly a lesson for us all.

The Novak Foundation

For decades, people have been arguing about whether or not sports figured should also be role models. But Tennis super-star Novak Djokovic is looking to put that to rest. He’s taken a fir stance on the issue, saying that athletes do serve as role models and have responsibilities to match.

And it’s not all talk, either. The Djoker and his wife Jelena have launched a foundation that bears the Tennis Star’s name. Their partnership was a perfect match— they are both passionate about charitable causes and Jelena has a business degree, which is a huge help since as she serves as director.

The mission of the Novak Djokovic foundation is making sure that Serbian children under the age of six have a fair educational community.

 

Why This Charity?

The 1990’s were a particularly devastating time for Serbia. The European country was involved in several bloody armed conflicts throughout the decade, including the Yugoslav Wars, the Bosnian War, the Kosovo War, and the Croatian War. Djokovic recalls that he was lucky enough to escape the violence and pursue his passion for tennis. But he acknowledges that many young children did not have that opportunity, and lacked the mental stimulation so crucial for our development. His foundation never wants to see that happen again.

It was actually this wish that helped him perform so well on the court. His desire to give back actually fueled his tennis goals, and he dreamed of the day that he could use his stardom to make a difference.

Djokovic became UNICEF’s Serbian ambassador in 2012, one year after he won the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open; and topped the ATP rankings at #1.