From Breakpoint To Advantage: A Practical Guide to Optimal Tennis Health and Performance
For most of my life, I have been a tennis player and, fortunately, a healthy one. That passion changed my life as I worked in tennis administration, first as a volunteer, on the national, regional and international level and, through that vantage point, my awareness of the health issues facing tennis players has grown. Clearly there is much more for all of us to learn about this field.
So you can imagine how pleased I was to welcome this timely new book, From Breakpoint to Advantage: A Practical Guide to Optimal Tennis Health and Performance. It is a great addition to our sport as it takes a look at ways to treat and prevent tennis injuries and to improve performance. Everyone from players and coaches to trainers and doctors will benefit from this volume written by two eminent doctors and sports scientists, Babette Pluim and Marc Safran.
Babette has been a valuable member of the ITF's Sports Medical Commission for many years and we are well aware of her expertise in this field. We are fortunate that her enthusiasm and dedication to tennis have resulted in this outstanding book of practical advice for the tennis family. We congratulate both Babette and her co-author, Marc Safran, on this excellent effort that we know will be a great contribution to the long term health of our sport.
Francesco Ricci Bitti
President, ITF (International Tennis Federation)
Tennis is a wonderful sport enjoyed by millions of people of all ages, from 3 to 103 years old around the world. The sport of tennis provides an all-round game with quick starts and stops, repetitive overhead motions, and involvement of all the muscles of the body. A tennis match results not only in stimulating and exciting competition but also in conditioning and other general health benefits. Regular tennis improves the body's general functional capacity, and promotes both coordination and balance, which is of special importance for older tennis players.
At the top competitive levels, tennis can be a very demanding sport, both physically and mentally. During the last ten to twenty years, the game of tennis has developed enormously as facilitated by the new designs for rackets and other equipment and new playing techniques, with special reference to serving. The game is much more intense and demanding as compared to ten years ago.
A major concern for the sport is the extended length of the season for top-level tennis players. Another risk factor may be the conduct of tournaments on different surfaces, including hard court, clay, and grass. The increasing intensity of the game and the associated physical demands also involve an increased risk for injury and other medical problems.
The top level tennis players are offered excellent medical service as the ATP, WTA, and ITF provide outstanding medical services by assigning well-educated and specialized physiotherapists and/or athletic trainers to all major tournaments around the world. Well-qualified medical doctors are also available at all the tournaments for top players. The medical services provided in tennis on a world wide basis are probably the best any international sport can offer. The ITF has founded a medical and science committee that reviews and coordinates the medical and scientific concerns in tennis. The Society for Tennis Medicine and Science (STMS) provides education and disseminates information through journals and conferences in cooperation with the other international organizations.
Tennis is a wonderful game but as in all sports there is a rather limited risk for injury and other medical problems. More information and more education about how to manage these problems is needed. With this in mind this book represents a valuable contribution to help everybody who loves tennis and wants to enjoy the wonderful game while minimizing the risk for injury and other medical problems.
Per Renstrom, MD, PhD
Past President STMS
ATP Medical Director
Member ITF Sports Medical Commission