Rafael Nadal before injury forced him out of his quarter-final clash against Marin Cilic.
Rafael Nadal before injury forced him out of his quarter-final clash against Marin Cilic. LUKAS COCH

Ball is in their court: players can make choice

TENNIS: Is it just me, or should professional tennis players realise injuries are part and parcel of their trade?

Rafa Nadal was forced to retire in the fifth set of his Australian Open quarter-final clash with Marin Cilic on Tuesday night with what seemed a serious hip flexor injury.

Other top players Novak Djokovic (elbow) and San Wawrinka (knee) were far from healthy in their earlier losses and Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori weren't healthy enough to take to the court at Melbourne Park at all.

Nadal, after his withdrawal, said: "Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what's going on”.

Spain's Rafael Nadal receives treatment from a trainer during his quarterfinal against Croatia's Marin Cilic at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Rafael Nadal receives treatment before pulling out of the Australian Open. Dita Alangkara

"Too many people getting injured. I don't know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players.

"Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis.

"I don't know if we keep playing in this very, very hard surfaces what's going to happen in the future with our lives.”

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts during a press conference after retiring  during his match against Marin Cilic of Croatia during the mens quarter final match on day nine of the Australian Open tennis tournament, in Melbourne, Tuesday, January 23, 2018. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Rafael Nadal queried the schedule after injury forced him out of the Australian Open JULIAN SMITH

Now, on the surface, this seems fair enough - nobody likes seeing people get hurt.

My gripe is these players are paid handsomely. I mean, really, really well.

An Australian Open first-round loser gets paid $60,000, more than a lot of Australians get paid in a year.

The men's and women's tournament winners get $4,000,000, more than many Australians will earn in a lifetime.

If the workload is the problem, play fewer tournaments. That plan seems to be working well for Roger Federer, who is red-hot favourite to take out the Australian Open. In fact, in 2017, Federer played just 12 tournaments. Nadal, by comparison, played 18.

Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates his win against Marton Fucsovics of Hungary during round four on day eight of the Australian Open tennis tournament, in Melbourne, Monday, January 22, 2018. (AAP Image/Joe Castro) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Roger Federer celebrates another win at the Australian Open. JOE CASTRO

The next option is don't be a professional tennis player.

Harsh, I know, but if part of the job is putting your body through extreme physical stress, then that is what you have to do to be successful.

If you can't or don't want to, then find another job.

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