Beatriz Haddad Maia and other players hurt from accidents not on a tennis court

Things do happen when players try to enjoy 'down time'. Strange but relaxing time may lead to more stress than playing tennis

by GALE MOORMAN
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Beatriz Haddad Maia and other players hurt from accidents not on a tennis court
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It was back in 1989, that Austria's Thomas Muster was overjoyed to defeat Yevgeny Kafelnikov in a gritty 5-set Miami semifinal. The Austrian was looking forward to his championship final the next day with Ivan Lendl. But it didn't happen.

It was just 2 hours afterwards that Muster was loading items he'd just bought into the trunk of his car. The parking lot was crowded and a car came careening down a lane and pushed a parked car into Muster's leg. He escaped without severe injuries but had enough scratches and bruises to stop him from playing the championship match.

Thomas Muster retired in 2011 at the Erste Bank Open at his native country of Austria. Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia was planning on playing her opponent Danielle Collins in the round of 64 this week. The Guadalajara Open in Mexico has an interesting environment and Beatriz wanted to be a part of that, but she had to withdraw.

Haddad Maia was merely starting to take a shower and as she attempted to push the glass shower door open, the frame loosened and fell on the no. 18 WTA player. It was her reflexes that told her to catch the slippery door but it fell, cutting her fingers.

She sustained lacerations on both hands needing multiple stitches. Fortunately she's ok and says "...apart from the scare, I'm fine." She's thankful and admits "It could be something much more serious...I'll need a few days now to heal...so that I can be back for the last part of the year..." It's the desire and passion to continue no matter what.

A veteran player Czech Petra Kvitova also knows what it's like to have a hand injury. It was in 2016, she was accosted by an intruder in her house who had a knife. She fought not thinking on getting injured but her left hand was severely damaged from the struggle.

"In my attempt to defend myself, I was badly injured on my left hand. "...I am shaken, but fortunate to be alive...If you know anything about me I am strong and will fight this..." There were hours of surgery to attach torn ligaments and tendons.

Rehab and recuperation was now all of Petra's life. But she regrouped, healed and went on to win a bronze at the Rio Olympics, WTA titles in Wuhan and Zhuhai. She'd won her 5th Fed Cup title with Czech teammates and played against comeback player Caroline Wozniacki at this year's U.S.

Open. When you hear the word concussion, it's usually associated with football. But the head injury can happen to anyone and it did by pure accident to WTA players Lauren Davis in 2011 and Eugenie Bouchard in 2016. Davis was innocently waiting for reports to interview her after a match.

A camera was hanging loosely, fell on her head knocking her unconscious. Davis wasn't able to do everyday chores accept barely eating, watching TV and sleeping. "I didn't do anything physical for a long time...I had a headache 24/7." Months out of competition, emergency room visits, she was determined to return to play.

Six years later she'd enter ITF events, won the Auckland Open and this year 2023 the Hobart International. Lauren's rankings has climbed from no. 63 when the concussion happened to no. 54 now. She's recently played the U.S. Open and the Guadalajara event.

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard also had to struggle to recuperate from an accident at the 2015 U.S. Open. She'd won her singles competition over Dominika Cibulkova in a gritty 3-setter. A trip to the locker room to refresh costed her nearly 2 years of playing and a concussion as she fell on a slippery floor banging her head.

She'd withdrew from the Toray Pan Pacific Open and many other tournaments in that year and a half rocked by the after effects of the fall and head injury. "I'm really disappointed to withdraw from the Toray Pan Pacific Open.

I haven't sufficiently recovered from the concussion I sustained...My fans in Japan are very special to me," Eugenie went on to say. Rehab, rest, medication helped in allowing the Canadian to bounce back and this year accepted the wild card for the Portugal event, one she hasn't played since 2014.

"I'm so excited to finally come back...It's been so long..." she happily said. Despite a few rounds there she is grateful and glad to be on the competitive courts again. Recently being at the Guadalajara Open, everyone knows there's more to come for Eugenie Bouchard.

Whether minor or major, accidents can happen. Taking care and consideration, players know they have to protect themselves at all times, but uncontrolled circumstances happen. It's not only their livelihood that makes them continue playing, but their passion for the sport they've learned since they were children a ton of years ago.

Beatriz Haddad Maia
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