A study from the Australian Catholic University (ACU) has found that female professional tennis players will endure more injuries than their male counterparts.
The research revealed the punishing nature of the sport has seen women sustained 35 percent more injuries.
Data collected at the Australian Open from 2011 to 2016 found women sustained 201.7 injuries per 10,000 game exposures at the Grand Slam tournament.
In five of the six years examined, the research conducted in a collaboration between Tennis Australia and ACU’s School of Behavioural and Health Sciences found women called for more medical consultations
“While women play best-of-three-set matches at Grand Slams, (as opposed to best-of-five-sets for men), the within-point demands are generally greater for women players,” ACU PhD candidate Danielle Gescheit said.
“The rallies are longer, and women are less likely to rely on a big serve to gain cheap points.
“Women are comparatively slower but over the past 20 years ball speed has gone through the roof based on advancements in racquet and string technology. Therefore, women find themselves in compromising positions more often.”
Former Australian Open semi-finalist Johanna Konta, who has been affected by foot and hip injuries, spoke of the injury toll after her retirement from the Brisbane International in 2018.
“Our game is becoming more and more physical and the tour, week in and week out, is becoming more demanding – just because (of) the level of play match in and match out,” she said.
The study, published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport highlighted the most common injuries for women were shoulder, foot, wrist and knee.
Gescheit said the findings would assist Australian Open organisers.
“It’s a unique sport,” she said.
“Players play between 22 and 25 tournaments a year, there’s high travel demands and during an event, you don’t know the duration of your match, what time it will be played and whether you’ll be required to play again.”