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.

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.

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.

Rebirth of American Tennis [INFOGRAPHIC]

Here’s a graphic companion to my previous post on the next generation of American tennis!

 

The Rebirth of American Tennis

Let’s be honest: when’s the last time you and your friends gathered around the TV to watch hyper-competitive kids duke it out on the court or the field? The Little League World Series gets a lot of attention, sure; but for all the viewership records it sets, it pales in comparison to its professional cousin. And then there’s Under-21 soccer and basketball, which are huge for the youthful athletes. But again, we’re not spending advertising dollars or throwing watch parties. We save it for the pros.

closeup of tennis court

But that doesn’t meant they’re not worth watching. It’s kind of cool to see a junior athlete grow up to be a top professional! And if these competitions are any indication of tomorrow’s success, the tennis world is due for a shakeup.

Why? Because American tennis is poised for a huge comeback.

Fivethrityeight’s Wiley Schubert Reed broke it down for us: out of the top five boys in competition today, four are American. The Red, White, and Blue has also taken four of the last six junior Grand Slam titles, and the 2015 US Open junior final was an all-American affair.

This kind of tennis pedigree hasn’t been particularly common in the past, but these youngsters have a nurturing coaching system that wants to see them succeed. While it may seem like something any athlete would take for granted, access to this kind of training wasn’t available even a generation ago.

The data is very favourable for top-10 juniors to have a major impact on the professional level. However, that data only covers a 20 year period from 1987 to 2008. In the seven years since, it has becoming increasingly difficult for junior talent to crack the top 25 in the pros. Reed notes that these two conflicting data sets raises a very interesting question: are the juniors just less competitive than they used to be, or are the current pros staying on the court longer?

Well, remember when I mentioned that junior competitors are taking advantage of a better athletic and coaching system? Turns out the pros are using it as well. They’re fast, leaner, and stronger— not to mention that they’re staying fit for longer. This increased athletic longevity just cements their position.

Data is awesome, but it can’t predict the future; nothing can. So we’ll have to wait and see what our talented young athletes can do. Whatever the outcome, we’re in for a treat.

US Open 2015 Preview

The 2015 US Open is set to begin at the end of the month. We aren’t entirely sure who’s participating (although the usual suspects are sure to make appearances), and the only guarantees so far are Wimbledon 2015 champion Novak Djokovic for Men and three-time defending champion Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova for Women.

But even with so much uncertainty, there is still much excitement to feel! The US Open signals the beginning of autumn and a ending to an exciting year for tennis. At the Australian Open, we’ve seen Djokovic take the crown from defending champ Stanislas Wawrinka, only for the wily Swiss to return to a champion’s Throne at Roland-Garros. We saw the living legend that is Roger Federer secure his 1,000th win at Brisbane, and fall to Djokovic in a classic Wimbledon showdown.

As for the women, the story has been of one player: Serena Williams. She’s been dominating the court with an unstoppable consistence, winning all three major tournaments this year with poise and superb athleticism. We watched her complete her second Serena Slam at Wimbledon, as she now holds all four grand slam singles titles at once.

So, what’s in store for the US Open? We’ll have a Djockovic looking to further assert himself as the men’s number one, and a Roger Federer looking for his first major singles title of 2015. Although he’s 34, you certainly cannot count him out! And then there’s Nadal who, struggling to return to a healthy form, has not been able to advance past the Quarterfinals. That kind of hunger can be dangerous on a tennis court, and make for very inspired play.

Will Serena stay miles ahead of the competition? No doubt it can be a privilege to see such a master play with such goodness, but it can also be exciting to witness an underdog David toppling a champion Goliath.

August 31 can’t come soon enough!

Wimbledon 2015: A Tournament to Remember

Wimbledon left many a tennis fan breathless this year. A furious back and forth between tennis champions brought many to their feet in the final moments of matches, but only one can step off the clay a champion. After the dust settled on Wimbledon 2015, several surprise names were left standing.

Facing well-known tennis champ Roger Federer is no small challenge. However, Novak Djokovic was more than able to meet the obstacle. Crushing his opposition during the games, Djokovic carried an unprecedented 48-3 by Slam’s end. Slated to win the upcoming U.S. Open, Novak is the odds on favorite to win in the men’s category. The former 2014 champion, Rafael Nadal, struggled early in the game, ultimately being knocked out early. Though many point to his injury as the cause of his struggle, analysts found that his lack of confidence and technical skill was his downfall.

The women’s side saw the return of powerhouse, Serena Williams, and another triumphant win in her long list of victories. The holder of all four tennis Grand Slams for the second time, Serena is the Wimbledon 2015 women’s champion. On the heels of her victory, however, came a series of biting remarks about the champion. Decrying her technique and physique as “belonging to a man,” former tennis champion Martina Navratilova came to the champions defense, stating “Serena is built like a man? I don’t think so. She has the curves of a woman. Her strength seems to have become an issue as she is perhaps, the most powerful tennis player.” With more than double her closest rival’s points, Serena is the top-ranked player ever.

Wimbledon may be over, but tennis fans are still buzzing over the action. Champions from all around the world are preparing for the next great tournament, and the final chance to prove themselves at the U.S. Open. In a few weeks, the courts will open, and heads will roll.