Withdrawals and retirements: What changes between men's and women's tennis?

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Withdrawals and retirements: What changes between men's and women's tennis?

What are the reasons for withdrawals and retirements in men's and women's tennis? Different types of injuries, different athletic training, playing surfaces, times of the season and pressure can play a fundamental role in these situations.

A 2017 study, titled Withdrawals and Retirements in Professional Tennis Players, and published on Sports Health, gave some interesting results. "Background. Injuries and illnesses for professional tennis athletes disrupt training, competition, and progression in the sport and represent a major reason for athlete withdrawal or retirement from a tournament.

Few descriptive epidemiological studies have focused on these trends in elite tennis athletes. Purpose. To examine the causes of professional tennis player withdrawal or retirement from United States Tennis Association (USTA) Pro Circuit tournaments during 2013.

Study design. Descriptive epidemiology study. Methods. Tournament records from the 2013 USTA Pro Circuit season were retrospectively reviewed for incidences of injury and illness that resulted in athlete withdrawal from the tournament.

Data were reported as incidence rates per 1000 match exposures and rate ratios. Results. There were 70 medical conditions over the course of 27 competitions (20,988 match exposures), for an overall incidence rate of 3.34 per 1000 match exposures.

Women were more likely to injure themselves on clay courts compared with hard courts (rate ratio, 4.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.41-19.85) and in the first half of the season compared with the second half (rate ratio, 3.95; 95% CI, 1.13-21.17).

Men had a higher injury rate than women (rate ratio, 1.88; 95% CI, 1.17-3.63), and muscle-/tendon-related injuries were 6 times more likely than all other injuries (95% CI, 2.81-14.69). Conclusions. Women were more likely to experience an injury when playing on clay court surfaces, and they also experienced more injuries during the first half of the season.

Injury rates for men often peaked during the months that players could qualify for Grand Slam competitions. There was a predominance of injuries in men compared with women."