The Ladies side of the second grand slam of the year has lost a competitor in the Romanian. The number 3 in the world retired from her second round match in Rome against Angelique Kerber a fortnight ago complaining of a calf strain. She made the announcement last week that she has been forced out of the French Open because of a tear to her calf , saying the timelines for her recovery cannot accommodate the major tournament. What exactly would be torn in the calf?But is she right? Are calf injuries common in tennis?

A calf tear or pull is when two muscles(gastrocnemius and soleus) in the lower back leg are strained beyond their natural limitations. In tennis that stretching can happen when , lets say, going after a shot hit so well by the opponent but in your mind you got it that you can reach the ball. This is the clay court season and on that particular surface players need to master the slide which is a little different than in grass or hard. On clay you plant your foot a faction of the time sooner than on other surfaces , with the center part of the foot not the heel, balancing your weight appropriately. Planting your heel first will put pressure on the calf on top of that your weight on your heel will make it difficult to get to the ball in the event you dodge the calf strain bullet.

Halep being helped off the court

When you suffer a tear to the calf, you feel mild to severe pain like a pulling sensation on the lower part of the leg. There would be signs of swelling or redness there. Immediate first aid would be to apply ice on the injury and immobilize the leg MAKING SURE IT IS BELOW HEART LEVEL. The fact that Simona could apply a little pressure on the leg whilst being helped to the dressing rooms suggests a mild to bad tear. The time lines are absolutely correct a bad calf injury. It normally takes six weeks to recover whilst small tears take a matter of 4 days or so. The six weeks allow the pain to subside as well as the swelling though pain meds can help in that regard as well.

Example of a calf tear

Rafa showing THE SLIDE