A Player's Dilemma: "I may need to withdraw, but..."

At times a player may not want to withdraw from a tournament. The clear cut reasons are obvious, but the advantage and consequences are questioned.

by GALE MOORMAN
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A Player's Dilemma: "I may need to withdraw, but..."
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"The scheduling is tight and the demands of traveling across various time zones after high-intensity tournaments is a challenge..." Iga Swiatek, WTA's no. 2 in the world proclaimed as she willfully withdrew from the Billie Jean King Cup.

The Poland team will feel the void of their chief player helping them win but Swiatek was exhausted from play and travel. Andy Murray has had more than a battle coming back from multiple surgeries and going back to competing at all levels of tournaments.

He's captured a few titles since his resurgence but the Asian swing didn't treat the Brit too well as he had experienced losses at the opening rounds in all three tournaments: Zhuhai, the China Open and the Shanghai Masters.

He chose to withdraw from the Japan Open due to injury and says "...If I start to go backwards...instead of moving up, things might change..."Murray hasn't beaten a top-10 opponent this year and feels that withdrawing is a wise choice.

The advantages of withdrawing from an upcoming tournament are many. First, players get a chance to rest if they're exhausted from a previous competition. Secondly, they may have an injury or ailment that has recurred and need time for treatment and rehab.

Carlos Alcaraz had explained "...I will not be able to play in Basel this year....I have a problem in my left food and...my lower back needs treatment..." Thirdly, some also need to withdraw because they've become sick with colds and other infections.

Tennis often affects the emotional/mental side of competing. If a player is still on a 'high' from winning a title, they simply can't play another event right away. Coco Gauff had gone through this after winning the U.S. Open. There was no way she'd have the physical and mental stamina to play the Zhengzhou Open, so she withdrew.

The only part of the Asian swing she did play was the China Open and went through to the semifinal but to be defeated by Iga Swiatek. They have met 8 times with Coco winning only once. She also decided to withdraw from the Billie Jean King Cup.

She will be missed by her USA teammates for her fiery play and defiant winning manner, but physically and emotionally she needed the rest. Jannik Sinner left everything on the court by playing the Asian swing, but he's gotten the Beijing Championship title despite sickness.

He was defeated in the fourth round of the Shanghai Masters by the gritty play of Ben Shelton which left the Italian depleted of physical and mental energy. Sinner withdrew from Antwerp, a title of which he won three years ago.

It was much of the same with the 6 other players who decided to give Antwerp a miss including Grigor Dimitrov, Sebastian Korda and Ugo Humbert, pleading exhaustion as their reason. Players who withdraw also give their replacements a chance to play tournaments they would never qualify for at the present time.

But withdrawals can prove a disadvantage for the tournament, the organizers and the fans. Ticket sales will fall as well as profits from souvenir shops, tennis products sold on the grounds of the event and food courts will suffer.

If more than a few players withdrawing will cause the ATP and/or WTA to fork over money to support financially the tournament for its losses. Players may feel obligated to compete while not at their healthy best while others will not be there but feel sentimental on miss meeting the organizers and fans that support them every year.

The idea of withdrawing can really hurt, but players will be getting a much needed rest; something the tournament organizers wont be getting. They'll have to struggle and scramble around to produce replacement players for the event that the fans and tennis community will enjoy and be satisfied in watching play. Withdrawals are difficult to make but more difficult to deal with in the long run.

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