Australian Open

Walking wounded: The long list of injuries and illnesses ahead of Australian Open

The first Grand Slam of 2018 has been marked by an unusually long list of injuries and illnesses, despite it being just the start of the season.

The first Grand Slam of 2018 has been marked by an unusually long list of injuries and illnesses, despite it being just the start of a new season.

While many top players on men’s tour – which was hit by a spate of injury-forced withdrawals late last season – are making their return in Melbourne, their off-season hasn’t been as intense as they would have hoped for. The season-opening events saw many more withdrawals as well. In addition, many other players have been hit by niggles and sickness during the first two weeks of this season.

All this means that the Australian Open, which has already seen withdrawals by Serena Williams and Andy Murray, could well see many more walking wound on the courts. Whether this casts a shadow the overall tournament or gives us another remarkable story of triumphant injury comeback, remains to be seen.

For now, here’s the causality list of the top players and what ails them.

Novak Djokovic

The six-time Melbourne champion has been sidelined since Wimbledon in July with a right elbow injury. While he admitted that his elbow still not 100%, he says he is at a level where he can play. At the Kooyong exhibition tournament last week he made a successful return to competitive tennis with a straight sets win over Dominic Thiem, wearing a sleeve to protect his elbow. A six-time champion in Melbourne, one cannot count the Serb out.

Rafael Nadal

The same knee injury that marred the Spanish world No 1’s otherwise terrific 2017, forced him out of the warm-up Brisbane International. But the top seed is no stranger to playing with pain and has said that he “feels good” after intensive practice sessions in Melbourne. Even without sufficient warm-up matches, last year’s finalist will be a force to reckon with.

Stan Wawrinka

The 2014 champion and his team made the decision to play the Australian Open as late as Saturday. He last played a competitive match in the first round of Wimbledon and is returning from two operations on a knee cartilage injury. While he has said that the knee was holding up well, he is still feeling pain.

Milos Raonic

Calf and wrist problems have kept the tall Canadian out of action since last October. While he made his return at the Brisbane International, he was bundled out by a wildcard, raising concerns over his match fitness.

Nick Kyrgios

After calling time on his season in October last year, he made a strong return lifting the Brisbane title this year. However, his leg was strapped at the event which he said related to fluid on the back of his left knee. While the strapping didn’t seem to trouble Australia’s big hope, it remains to be seen ow it holds up over the course of five-set matches.

Dominic Thiem

The Austrian world number five pulled out of the warm-up Qatar Open just hours before his semi-final with flu and a fever. The same issue forced him out of a scheduled match at the Kooyong Classic last week.

Jack Sock

The American who had an upsurge late last season retired from a match at the Hopman Cup with an injured hip, but returned two days later when he lost to Roger Federer.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

The 2008 Australian Open runner-up withdrew from the Qatar Open before it started with a wrist injury.

Garbine Muguruza

The world number three retired from Brisbane after collapsing with severe leg cramps. She also pulled out of the Sydney International last week with a thigh injury, but said it had responded well to treatment ahead of her bid to win her third Major.

Sloane Stephens

The US Open champion withdrew from Brisbane to rest a troublesome knee and was knocked out of Sydney in the first round. However, she insisted the knee was now “all good” as she attempts to win her first match since her first Grand Slam triumph.

Johanna Konta

A semi-finalist in Melbourne two years ago, the Briton’s Brisbane campaign ended early when she retired with a right hip injury. She was bundled out of the Sydney International in the first round but said this week she was “so far, so good” on the injury front.

Caroline Garcia

The rising French star was in tears when she was forced to retire from Brisbane with a back injury in the opening round, saying she could barely move.

Petra Kvitova

The two-time Wimbledon champion pulled out of Brisbane with a viral illness and was knocked out of Sydney in round two. She missed last year’s Australian Open after a knife attack by a burglar but made a good comeback later in the year.

Julia Goerges

The German, ranked 12, withdrew from the Sydney International just hours after beating Caroline Wozniacki to win the warm-up Auckland Classic, citing a right knee injury.

Eugenie Bouchard

The Canadian lost all three matches at the Hopman Cup and was eliminated in the first round at Hobart, but said a buttock injury suffered in Perth was now fine.

With inputs from AFP

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

It’s the new year and it’s already time to plan your next holiday

Here are some great destinations for you to consider.

Vacation planning can get serious and strategic. Some people swear by the save and splurge approach that allows for one mini getaway and one dream holiday in a year. Others use the solo to family tactic and distribute their budget across solo trips, couple getaways and family holidays. Regardless of what strategy you implement to plan your trip, the holiday list is a handy tool for eager travellers. After having extensively studied the 2018 holiday list, here’s what we recommend:

March: 10 days of literature, art and culture in Toronto

For those you have pledged to read more or have more artistic experiences in 2018, Toronto offers the Biblio-Mat, the world’s first randomising vending machine for old books. You can find the Biblio-Mat, paper artefacts, rare books and more at The Monkey’s Paw, an antiquarian bookseller. If you can tear yourself away from this eclectic bookstore, head over to The Public Library in Toronto for the Merril Collection of over 72000 items of science fiction, fantasy magic realism and graphic novels. With your bag full of books, grab a coffee at Room 2046 – a café cum store cum studio that celebrates all things whimsical and creative. Next, experience art while cycling across the 80km Pan Am Path. Built for walking, running, cycling and wheeling, the Pan Am Path is a recreational pathway that offers a green, scenic and river views along with art projects sprinkled throughout the route. You can opt for a guided tour of the path or wander aimlessly for serendipitous discoveries.

Nothing beats camping to ruminate over all those new ideas collected over the past few days. Make way to Killarney Provincial Park for 2-3 days for some quiet time amongst lakes and hills. You can grab a canoe, go hiking or get back to nature, but don’t forget to bring a tent.

If you use the long-weekend of 2nd March to extend your trip, you get to experience the Toronto Light Festival as a dazzling bonus.

June: 10 days of culinary treats, happy feet and a million laughs in Chicago

Famous for creating the deep-dish pizza and improv comedy, Chicago promises to banish that mid-year lull. Get tickets for The Second City’s Legendary Laughs at The UP-Comedy Club - the company that gave us the legendary Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Key & Peele. All that laughter can sure work up an appetite, one that can be satiated with Lou Malnati’s classic deep-dish pizza. For dessert, head over to the Ferrara Original Bakery for mouth-watering treats.

Chicago in June is pleasant and warm enough to explore the outdoors and what better way to soak in the sunshine, than by having a picnic at the Maggie Daley Park. Picnic groves, wall climbing, mini golf, roller blading – the park offers a plethora of activities for individuals as well as families.

If you use the long weekend of 15th June, you can extend your trip to go for Country LakeShake – Chicago’s country music festival featuring Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley.

August: 7 days in London for Europe’s biggest street festival

Since 1964, the Notting Hill Carnival has been celebrating London’s Caribbean communities with dancing, masquerade and music ranging from reggae to salsa. Watch London burst into colours and sparkle at the Notting Hill Carnival. Home to Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens Museum, London is best experienced by wandering through its tiny streets. Chance encounters with bookstores such as Foyles and Housemans, soaking in historic sights while enjoying breakfast at Arthur’s Café or Blackbird Bakery, rummaging the stalls at Broadway market or Camden Market – you can do so much in London while doing nothing at all.

The Museum of Brand, Packaging and Advertising can send you reminiscing about those old ads, while the Clowns Gallery Museum can give you an insight in clown-culture. If you’d rather not roam aimlessly, book a street-art tour run by Alternative London or a Jack the Ripper Tour.

October: 10 days of an out-of-body experience in Vegas

About 16 km south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, lies a visual spectacle. Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation by Ugo Rondinone, stands far away from the wild vibe that people expect in Las Vegas and instead offers a sense of wonder. Imagine seven pillars of huge, neon boulders, stacked up against one another stretched towards the sky. There’s a lot more where that came from, in Las Vegas. Captivating colour at the permanent James Turrell exhibit in Louis Vuitton, outdoor adventures at the Bootleg Canyon and vintage shopping at Patina Décor offer experiences that are not usually associated with Vegas. For that quintessential Vegas show, go for Shannon McBeath: Absinthe for some circus-style entertainment. If you put the holiday list to use, you can make it for the risefestival – think thousands of lanterns floating in the sky, right above you.

It’s time to get on with the vacation planning for the new year. So, pin up the holiday list, look up deals on hotels and flights and start booking. Save money by taking advantage of the British Airways Holiday Sale. With up to 25% off on flight, the offer is available to book until 31st January 2018 for travel up to 31st December in economy and premium economy and up to 31st August for business class. For great fares to great destinations, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of British Airways and not by the Scroll editorial team.