You know when it happens. You’re serving and you feel something .. .a twinge, a pull or goodness help you, a pop. Something has happened with your back and you’re not quite sure what has happened.
Tennis is a very safe sport, but most of the injuries are soft tissue ones. Very few broken bones occur in tennis when compared to other sports, but soft tissue injuries happen with regularity. The back is a prime location for the injuries to happen due to the stress placed on it while serving.
Federer knows about injury and experienced one in the round of 16 during Wimbeldon 2012. As he said:
I felt the back going at the beginning of the first set. It must be a mix of maybe the five-setter , two days off, the cold wind today. I was unlucky in this regard. Fortunately, I pulled out the match today.
His reference to the two days off is Wimbeldon’s rule about not playing on Sunday.
Federer took a medical timeout and received pain medication so he could continue. There was no final word on what caused the injury or if it will affect him in the next round.
Check out the photo of Federer serving in this article and you’ll see what I mean. The yellow arrows show the points of friction and torque in force when serving the tennis ball.
Now, we don’t serve like Federer, but we still put a ton of force on our backs. When you feel a little back pressure while playing it is probably one of the following:
- Truly pulled back muscle – Very few times will it be a back muscle you feel pulling. If it is a true back muscle you’ll probably have a hard time driving home.
- Neck muscle pull – This one also feels like a back issue depending on the location. If you’re having trouble looking side to side or up and down while moving your neck this is a likely culprit.
- Oblique pull – More than likely this is the injury. An oblique pull can cause back like pain symptoms and for non-professional tennis players it’s more than likely the cause.
Federer should be able to bounce back, but it will be interesting to see what the real injury turns out to be.