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Politically Correct Nonsense While Talking About Injuries

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Politically Correct Nonsense While Talking About Injuries Empty Politically Correct Nonsense While Talking About Injuries

Post by It Must Be Love Sat Sep 13, 2014 5:30 am

I wrote this article in early May of this year on another forum, and 4 months on I still stand by every word:
I must warn, before people read the first few paragraphs and then start looking at their thesaurus for abusive language, do read the last paragraph where I make clear speculation of injuries on circumstantial evidence (eg Nadal/Federer is clearly playing badly so therefore must be injured) is also to be discouraged and insubstantial. Funnily enough I also PMed this to Tenez at the time, and he said he fully agreed with the sentiment of this article- but warned that for he is still suspicious of various injuries Nadal has had.

Anyway here it is:

Firstly I can understand that fitness and injuries are part of sport, and it is part of an athlete's job to try and bring himself in the best condition physically for a match.

However too often when a player has clearly been hindered due to injury during a match, tennis fans on forums are saying phrases such as 'if you go out and play we can assume you're fit' or 'stop talking about injuries, these are just excuses' or 'you're just trying to take away credit for the victor.'

But I think phrases like these are simply inaccurate, and as I say in the title political correctness is getting in the way of what is simply accurate or common sense.
Let me explain further, with the example of AO 2011 Nadal vs Ferrer or IW2013 Nadal vs Federer.
In both these matches injuries hindered a competitive match, in AO 2011 Nadal was injured; while in IW 2013 it was clear Federer was injured which gave Nadal a much easier task of winning. People talking about 'taking away credit', but in reality it's the opposite; you are giving the victor too much credit if you don't mention the injury. Let me explain:
'Ferrer cruises Nadal in straight sets (AO 2011)'
'Nadal thrashes Federer 6-4 6-2 (IW 2013)'

Now the importance of 'Nadal' and 'Federer' is not just in the names, it is that fact a player has played at a certain level to beat them- and we assume from seeing a name that 'wow, Player X must have played at such a high level to beat Nadal/Federer that comprehensively'. But in this case, the statement is pretty misleading, as both matches had the loser significantly hindered due to injury, and made the level the victor had to play at to win much lower.
This doesn't mean that Nadal would have turned it around for sure in AO 2011, or Federer would have repeated his 2012 IW win in 2013 against Nadal- there is no guarantee either way.

Of course I am aware that we can go too much the other way, and start blaming all a player's losses on injuries when we feel like it- this is equally bad and personally I feel there has to be clear evidence someone is injured. Fonteyn speculated that Nadal's back could be to blame given his poor form in the clay season, now I like Fonteyn as a poster but I disagreed with her on this one- circumstantial evidence is not enough, and Nadal has said his back is fine. If Nadal was moving very very slowly and clearly in pain like AO 2011 QF that is evidence- bad results itself are not.

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Post by socal1976 Sat Sep 13, 2014 3:18 pm

I totally agree with this sentiment, the fact is that injuries impact form and I have no problem in discussing them in away that puts context to a victory. We also should remember however that most of these guys through most of the season are carrying some sort of niggles that impact their play. However, when clearly something isn't right like the Ferrer example and one guy is hobbling around and then can't play again lets say for weeks after the incident then it is not realistic turning a blind eye to the event. One man's excuse making is anothers analysis.

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Post by It Must Be Love Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:23 am

socal1976 wrote:I totally agree with this sentiment, the fact is that injuries impact form and I have no problem in discussing them in away that puts context to a victory.
Thanks Socal- too often people use stock phrases such as 'if you play, you must be fit' when these lines are just obviously untrue.

socal1976 wrote:
We also should remember however that most of these guys through most of the season are carrying some sort of niggles that impact their play. However, when clearly something isn't right like the Ferrer example and one guy is hobbling around and then can't play again lets say for weeks after the incident then it is not realistic turning a blind eye to the event.
Absolutely- any accurate analysis must consider the extent of injury as well as the occurrence of them- some minor injuries can be managed with pre-match treatment and pain-killers.

socal1976 wrote:
One man's excuse making is anothers analysis.
True, although it is important to note as I did in the OP that circumstantial evidence is insubstantial- so any Nadal fan saying 'I think Rafa is injured as he played badly' or 'whenever Nadal loses he must be injured' must be reminded that this is flawed analysis.

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Post by laverfan Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:25 am

It Must Be Love wrote:
True, although it is important to note as I did in the OP that circumstantial evidence is insubstantial- so any Nadal fan saying 'I think Rafa is injured as he played badly' or 'whenever Nadal loses he must be injured' must be reminded that this is flawed analysis.  

OK

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Post by It Must Be Love Tue Sep 16, 2014 4:47 am

laverfan wrote:
It Must Be Love wrote:
True, although it is important to note as I did in the OP that circumstantial evidence is insubstantial- so any Nadal fan saying 'I think Rafa is injured as he played badly' or 'whenever Nadal loses he must be injured' must be reminded that this is flawed analysis.  

OK
LF, it's very easy to bold and thumbs-up the area of my article everyone would agree with Wink

However that was not the main point of my article, and I must add, no offence intended, that you are one of the people who has said phrases such as 'when you play you're fit' which are simply demonstrably untrue.

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Post by johny5566 Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:33 pm

Player X must have played at such a high level to beat Nadal/Federer that comprehensively'. But in this case, the statement is pretty misleading,????

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Post by dummy_half Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:18 am

IMBL

Agree with much of your commentary. A couple of comments / thoughts:

1 - Extremely fit athletes need to find the balance between being in prime condition and being over-trained. Too much physical training can increase the risk of injuries (look at what happens to track and field athletes), whereas clearly too little makes you vulnerable to fatigue and the consequent drop in level of performance. Some players (Federer and Djokovic seem to be two) who can stay in this 'sweet spot' pretty well. I think one reason for this is that they are playing at their 'natural' physique, unlike for example Murray who has bulked up significantly over the years through his gym work. As a rugby fan as well, I'm used to seeing guys who are bulked up beyond what their frame can naturally handle, and they are prone to ligament and tendon injuries.

2 - It's fairly rare that a tennis player (indeed, any sportsman who is expected to compete on a near-daily basis) is competing without some chronic niggle influencing them. Can be anything from a couple of blisters to a recovering sprain or strain. Sometimes the player won't necessarily know until they are in the middle of a match quite how much this condition is impacting them (i.e. it not showing up significantly during practice, but having a bigger effect in the higher intensity of a match situation) - I suspect Rafa and his recent appendicitis issues falls into this category, in that he knew before playing that he wasn't perfect, but not that he was only playing at sort of top 100 level.

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Post by It Must Be Love Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:44 am

dummy half wrote:IMBL

Agree with much of your commentary.
Thankyou OK

I think both the points you raise are absolutely valid.

I realyl dislike the idea that injuries in tennis are a binary system of some sort- that you're either 'fit' or 'injured'.
In reality it is a scale, and no one is 100% fit 100% of the time. Some injuries are minor, and with the combination of painkillers and adrenaline (the most underrated natural painkiller), a player can play to normal level- however as the extent of the injury gets worse the player may start to struggle to play to a competitive level.

I agree as well that players need to balance their training regime well to avoid injuries, but in an analysis of a match itself I think whether an injury is self inflicted or not is more or less irrelevant. If I judge a player is playing around 40% fit, then that judgement remains even if the injury is totally self inflicted (i.e. the player randomly smashed his knee against a steel rod in anger) or totally unlucky (i.e. the player slipped of a banana skin and smashed his knee). Both ways the extent of injury remain the same, and that must be included in any accurate match analysis.
However if you're analysing how a player manages his body, rather than any particular match, you should focus on the aspects you raised- not just training but also diet and style of play and other factors.

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