sportsmen

GET WELL SOON MARTINA

I am sure I am joining millions of tennis fans worldwide in showing my utmost sympathies for Martina Navratilova following her recent revelations in that now infamous People Magazine interview.

In February, she was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) which is confined to the milk ducts so has luckily not spread to the surrounding tissue.

As reported, Martina has revealed that the prospects look good as it was caught at such an early stage.

She has described that fateful day as “my own personal 9/11,” and that receiving the news brought her to tears. She also says that this battle has been severely harder than any she faced on-court against the likes of Chris Evert, Steffi Graf or Monica Seles.

One who has not gone through such a meeting with their physician can only imagine what must have been going through her head on receiving the news but as somebody related to so many sufferers over the years I have seen the struggles first hand.

While there is no circumstance in which you would wish such an affliction on any human being this has proved to be another case where somebody who doesn’t deserve to face such trauma has been dealt an awful hand.

I had the great fortune of meeting Martina last summer and she came across as a tremendously graceful individual who didn’t make you feel a lesser person in any way stood next to her hugely talented self.

My heart sank at discovering the news earlier today as she unfortunately joins a long list of sportsmen over the past few years who have suffered from similar setbacks.

“I feel so in control of my life and my body,” said Martina. “And then this comes and it’s completely out of my hands.”

That statement makes a lot of sense considering the amount of time sportsmen and women spend over their lives fine tuning and perfecting their physiques. To then be faced with a problem they can do nothing to prevent or cure must be a worrying scenario for somebody who is used to a brisk treatment from the physio and hard training.

However she must take relief from her physical conditioning when undergoing the radiology she is due to start in May. A couple of lower league footballers playing in England who have recently undergone similar treatment for their fights with cancer both agreed their peak physical condition helped with the speed of progress.

Usually taking routine mammograms Martina admits she had “let it slide” by leaving a four year gap between her last two. She readily admits another year’s delay could have spelt serious trouble.

Being a fitness spokesperson for AARP she has spoken about the utmost importance for people to keep up regular checks in a bid to prevent themselves from receiving such terrible news.

Good news for Martina has come from British cancer charity Cancer Research UK who say anybody treated for DCIS is almost certainly cured of the disease. We hope that this is again the case.

So with deepest sympathies and a rallying cry for Martina to keep fighting I would like to take this opportunity to wish her the best of luck from everybody here at TennisGrandstand and that we one day wish to see her take her rightful place on court once more.

Get well soon Martina.

MURRAY RUNNING OUTTA LOVE

Rather than pick one topic to rant at/praise today, I have decided to produce a post of some random aspects of tennis I have noticed recently.

However, what cannot be ignored was Andy Murray’s revelation this week that he has “fallen out of love with tennis.” Following on from his horrific 4-6, 4-6 defeat to American Mardy Fish he looked like a lost individual, a man gripped in a mid-life crisis.

Following on from that soul-destroying tennis lesson from Federer in the Aussie Open final in January, Murray really hasn’t had things all his own way. And as noted by fellow columnist Melina Harris he may be beginning to believe his own hype.

But to come out and declare this? It screams of spoiled brat syndrome. But read on:

“I need to start enjoying my tennis again. This has been going on for a few weeks now,” he said. “I’ve been very happy off the court but just not on it, and that’s where I need to be happy because that’s my career, this is what I do. It’s only me who can figure it out.

“People think sportsmen are different to other people but we’re not – we all go through bad patches. I’ve got to get back to how I felt in Australia at the start of the season.”

Still feel the same way readers? You can understand him. The tennis tour is now so complex and all-encompassing that there is no escape without a prolonged break that can heavily disadvantage your ranking. So players may feel the need to continue regardless of their health and happiness in fear of losing ground on their rivals.

It’s a very sorry state for a young man who was being declared as the best in the world after taking the Miami title this time last year.

Great Britain will be hoping Murray pulls through and doesn’t drop out of the sport a la Borg, or a certain Mister Tim Henman may need to get out the old tennis shoes again.

*Is it me, or is tennis becoming more and more ‘showbiz’ by the day? I think during the recent matches in Miami we have had more players’ box shots of model girlfriends and celebrity chums than ever before. Gwen Stefani got more TV time in Federer’s box at the US Open last year than any participating player. And it is always a curse during Wimbledon fortnight when we have to watch Cliff Richard’s perma-tanned, beaming, puppet-like face every day for two weeks.

*That hugely cringe worthy confrontation between Sampras and Agassi at the HitForHaiti event recently – does anybody else agree Federer should look at a career taking over from Jerry Springer when he hangs his racquet up?

*I, for one, am disappointed to see Sam Querrey failing to live up to his fantastic year in 2009. The boy is a true gentleman and could well be a great ambassador for the sport for many years to come. The saying has always been that “nice guys finish last” but in Querrey’s case I really hope this is not true. Another sporting cliché: “form is temporary, class is forever.” I think that’s a better one to keep in mind.

*One for British readers: am I the only one who likes to use the red interactive button to view matches so I don’t have to listen to the Sky commentators? Their constant attempts to make each other’s careers look laughable are very tiring. If you don’t have anything interesting to say during breaks in play please keep your traps shut.

*What a joy it has been watching Marin Cilic in Miami. Despite losing to Fernando Verdasco in straight sets the man’s game continues to improve following his marathon-esque court time Down Under. He now looks more and more like his coach, and the further he progresses the more we get to see and hear from fan-favourite Goran Ivanisevic about his protégé. Goran is never one to disappoint.

*I, for one, will be screaming Mikhail Youzhny on in his upcoming Miami quarter-final with the pantomime villain Robin Soderling. There are many players I love in the modern game, and none I love to hate more than Robin.

*With Murray, Federer and Djokovic falling by the wayside early on Miami gives Rafa Nadal a real chance to put a troubled year behind him. A win here could give him the confidence he so desperately needs and imagine a rejuvenated Rafa going in to the clay-court season. It’s not going to be easy but a few lucky breaks he hasn’t received recently and this could be a real turning point.

*Finally, I should really stop making predictions! Those who read last week’s blog will have noted how wrong I was yet again with my quarterfinal picks. However my late prediction that this tournament would be a goodun has come true, so I can take small consolation in that!