Injuries to Monitor as US Open 2013 Approaches
It's impossible to play professional tennis and avoid injuries.
Knee bands and Kinesio tape are as much a part of tennis attire as wrist bands.
However, some injuries are more bothersome than others. These injuries hinder performance enough to diminish a player's chances of winning a tournament.
A number of high-profile players have injuries that raise questions about their U.S. Open hopes.
The most noteworthy is Roger Federer. Federer withdrew from the Rogers Cup, citing continued back problems.
Victoria Azarenka is nursing knee and ankle injuries.
Only time will tell if any of these injuries will force a player to withdraw from the U.S. Open.
But they are certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Victoria Azarenka: Ankle and Knee
Victoria Azarenka withdrew from the Rogers Cup, citing a back injury. She withdrew from Wimbledon in the second round due to a knee injury. Earlier this year, she withdrew from Indian Wells because of an ankle injury.
It's safe to say Azarenka is a bit busted up right now.
Just how banged up is she?
It's tough to tell. Azarenka has a reputation for exaggerating injuries.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Knee
Maria Sharapova: Hip
Maria Sharapova has not played a match since losing in the second round at Wimbledon.
During that match, Sharapova slipped three times. She injured her hip and withdrew from Stanford and the Rogers Cup.
Because she hasn't played, it's tough to determine how bad the hip injury is.
She could also be using an "injury timeout" to work with newly hired coach Jimmy Connors.
Roger Federer: Back
Roger Federer is fighting a bad back.
He withdrew from the Rogers Cup.
Federer aggravated his back during Indian Wells. Although the injury clearly impacted his movement, Federer refused to use it as an excuse.
However, before withdrawing from the Rogers Cup, Federer complained about managing the pain with anti-inflammatories. He told USA Today, "My main priority now is to fix my back. I would love to be able to train at 100 percent."
Juan Martin Del Potro: Knee
Despite these injuries, del Potro played a gusty match against Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
His tightly taped knee could have been the only thing that stood in his way of reaching his first Wimbledon final.
Del Potro played without a knee brace or tape in his run at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. He won the tournament and looked as fresh as ever.
If he can avoid any recurring issues with the knee, he should be a serious challenger to Djokovic and Andy Murray.
Gael Monfils: Knee
Gael Monfils was making a steady climb back after a knee injury. Then he suffered a recent setback.
In 2012, Monfils declared that his knee injury was ruining his life.
Monfils was once ranked No. 7. He dropped to No. 119 earlier this year. After working his way to No. 48, it seems the injury bug has bitten him again.
He recently injured his ankle during practice. He withdrew from the Rogers Cup.
You have to wonder if the old Monfils will ever return?
Sloane Stephens: Abdominal Tear
Sloane Stephens reportedly aggravated an abdominal tear during her run at Wimbledon.
This type of injury can flare up at anytime. And because it's at the core of all movement, it could be a ticking time bomb.