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Tennis needs reform to cut the toll of injuries to its best players | Letter

As Laura Robson retires after three hip operations, Wendy Owen says the time has come for changes to be made to the gameFollowing the announcement that Britain’s Laura Robson has retired from tennis at the age of 28 after three hip operations (Report, 16 May), I feel that a review of the sport and its impact on the long-term health of participants is overdue. Laura joins a long list of players who have had surgery at what is a relatively young age (Andy Murray, hip; Roger Federer, knee; Serena Williams, knee; Rafael Nadal, ankle). Procedures such as hip replacements only last about 15 years, so former players will probably face further surgery, not to mention the likelihood of suffering with arthritis in old age.Tennis involves a lot of pivoting and twisting, which is hard on the hips; there may be more hip and lower leg injuries due to the increased time spent rallying in the modern game, which seems to have moved away from the serve-and-volley game of previous eras. As a result, matches last considerably longer in what is already a lengthier playing season. Playing surfaces are also considerably harder, which adds to the impact on joints. Continue reading...

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