Australian Open 2016: Injury crisis hits top ranking women tennis stars
Serena Williams during a practice session in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP
Serena Williams (World No 1)
The American star battled knee problems in the latter half of 2015 and was forced out of the mixed-teams Hopman Cup in Perth this month with a similar issue. She insisted this week her body was now “feeling great”. “Obviously, I had a hiccup but right now it is doing much better. I've had a few days of training so it's looking good,” Williams said.
Simona Halep (World No 2)
The Romanian pocket-rocket has been suffering from an achilles injury that saw her pull out of the Brisbane International. But she opted to play the Sydney International this week and has made the semi-finals.
Garbine Muguruza (World No 3)
The fast-improving Spaniard called for the trainer early in the Brisbane International to have her left foot bandaged because of blisters. But her movement was hampered and she retired from the tournament.
Agnieszka Radwanska (World No 4)
The hard-working Pole won the Shenzhen Open this month, but five matches in a week forced her out of the Sydney International to rest a troubled leg.
Maria Sharapova (World No 5)
The 28-year-old withdrew from the Brisbane event without hitting a ball after hurting her forearm in practice. She declared in Melbourne this week that she was now healthy. “The injury was a bit of a roadblock but the great thing is that I’ve been healthy. I’ve had a lot of court-time which has been really beneficial,” she said.
Petra Kvitova (World No 6)
Kvitova was unable to defend her Sydney title after succumbing to a gastrointestinal illness, which also plagued her in China the week before. Kvitova’s last competitive match was in the Fed Cup final in November.
Angelique Kerber (World No 7)
The German made the final in Brisbane, losing to Victoria Azarenka, but came down with a stomach bug at the Sydney International this week and pulled out. “I don’t want to risk my health before Melbourne,” Kerber had said.
Lucie Safarova (World No 9)
Safarova is skipping the opening Grand Slam of the year because of ongoing health problems linked to a bacterial infection that saw her hospitalised for a week last September.