Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Updated: October 8, 9:38 AM ET
The strange and wacky pratfalls
Thank goodness for Sam Querrey that all the big tournaments are done in 2009. Just imagine if his freak arm injury had surfaced, let's say, the week before the French Open. He'll be staying away from glass tables.
Of course, the Californian, enjoying a breakthrough season, isn't the only tennis player to sustain a bizarre medical mishap. In fact, he has good company.
Here are a few from the recent past.
The great one: Roger Federer failed to show up in Tokyo this week, but he sure had a memorable time in the Japanese capital three years ago.
Federer, usually calm and in control, awoke in the middle of the night thanks to a suspected nightmare and hit his leg against the corner of his hotel bed. A cut, bruising and slight swelling ensued.
"I jumped out of bed and stood up screaming in a state of shock," wrote Federer, who was blogging for the men's tour that week. "I did not know where I was. It was pretty scary for a moment. It's never happened to me before and [I] hope it will never happen again."
He played through the pain and won the event, downing buddy Tim Henman in the final.
Man's best friend: Often praised for her footwork, new U.S. Open champ Kim Clijsters couldn't dodge one of her pets while taking part in a friendly game of soccer three years ago. The incident resulted in a bruised tailbone.
No word on whether Clijsters, who was still recovering from a serious wrist injury, earned a free kick.
"I stumbled over Diesel and fell badly," she said on her Web site. "Very stupid. Fortunately it was nothing serious, but it was bad enough to have to take two days of rest."
And he was trying to be nice: Fiery Chilean shotmaker Fernando Gonzalez did the hard work. It was the easy stuff that got to him.
Sauntering over to fans to sign a few autographs after a win at this year's Rome Masters, Gonzalez damaged his ankle.
"They called me from the other side of the court, and I went running and twisted my ankle," Gonzalez disclosed at the French Open. "I went back to the locker room because it was really painful. It was curious. Let's call it curious."
Gonzalez overcame the pain to reach the finale.
No surprise: It could only happen to Marat Safin.
The Russian stunned fans -- and everyone else -- when he showed up at January's Hopman Cup in Australia sporting two black eyes and a bum thumb. Safin hinted that he'd gotten into a fight in Moscow, in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"I wasn't sure why he was arriving so late, why he was requesting to play a day later," tournament director Paul McNamee said at the time. "Now I know why."
Safin received treatment from the event's doctor, then took off for practice.
Tennis is a contact sport: So proved eccentric Frenchman Michael Llodra.
Llodra, unable to apply the breaks chasing a Tommy Haas drop shot at Wimbledon in June, smashed into the umpire's chair and flattened a ball girl in one swoop. The lefty endeared himself to the crowd by giving the ball girl a warm hug, though had to retire with a dodgy hip moments later in the opening set.
The fans got their money's worth, however. Haas hung around after Llodra's departure, clowning around with several ball kids.
Llodra has won one main-draw match since.
The crazy Croat: "Bizarre" and Goran Ivanisevic mesh perfectly together.
The crazy Croat got doubles partner Mark Philippoussis concussed and needed stitches himself when he tried to head a ball over the net, soccer-style, at the Canadian Masters 11 years ago. Unfortunately, Ivanisevic got plenty of the onrushing Philippoussis' head. That's 6-foot-4 running into 6-5, respectively.
(Maybe the pros should avoid soccer, and variants, at any cost.)
Ivanisevic and Philippoussis retired in the first set, handing the encounter to a young Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor.