Teary US Open star claims tennis balls caused injury as WTA ‘killing’ players

Marketa Vondrousova claims that she has picked up an injury because of the extra heavy balls at this year’s US Open. The world No 9 was close to tears during her singles match against Peyton Stearns before battling back to win 6-7(3) 6-3 6-2. She was then forced to pull out of the women’s doubles draw because of the issue with her arm. And her complaints come after another star claimed the heavy balls were “killing” players’ bodies.

Vondrousova had an emotional day on Monday as she narrowly avoided defeat in the singles but found herself struck down by a physical setback. The 24-year-old teared up as she appeared to cradle her shoulder after dropping the first set to the world No 59 and took some tablets on the court.

They seemed to kick in as she came back to win in three sets but footage from the cool-down room later showed the Czech star in tears as she iced her arm before crying in the arms of doubles partner Barbora Strycova. The pair later pulled out of the women’s doubles tournament.

Vondrousova has now claimed that the injury she picked up in her arm was due to the increasingly heavy balls used at the US Open. “I just feel my arm, you know,” the Wimbledon champion said as she explained her doubles withdrawal.

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“So we decided, you know, not to play today. It’s a bit sad, because it’s Barbora’s last tournament, so it was a tough decision. You have to put your health first.” Elaborating on the physical issue, Vondrousova added: “Yeah, it’s just from the balls. They are very heavy and the season is long, so I feel like, you know, you just, you know, you just have to fight through it.

“Yeah, we’ll see. I have [a] day off tomorrow, so that’s gonna help. Yeah, we’ll see what’s gonna happen.” While her match against Stearns was the first time that the 24-year-old showed concern over the problem, she said it had been bothering her for a few days.

The ninth seed continued: “It actually started the match before in the third round. Yeah, I mean, I played tough matches. Yeah, the season is very long, and I feel like the balls are not helping, you know, with everything. So, yeah, I mean, it’s tough but yeah, I just, you know, I just fought through it and I’m very happy with my win.”

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It comes after Canadian tennis star Vasek Pospisil claimed the tours were “killing” players’ bodies by introducing heavier tennis balls to slow the game down. “The balls have been getting incrementally heavier and surprise surprise, it’s killing our bodies. Almost every player I’ve spoken to feels the same way,” he posted on X (previously known as Twitter) on Saturday.

“I’ve never seen more wrist, elbow, and shoulder injuries in the locker room. If these changes to the ball don’t start getting reversed, it’s only going to get worse. Please start listening @atptour @wtatour. Player injuries are bad for you too.”

And Vondrousova also blamed another element of the tournament after finishing her third-round match at around midnight. “Yeah, I feel like it’s also the reason, you know, that why this is happening, because I played, you know, at midnight,” she explained.

“Like, I slept just few hours and I didn’t practice yesterday because I was, you know, very tired. Then we woke up today at 6:40. So it’s, I don’t know, I feel like it’s very tough for our bodies to do that. You just have to adjust so many things, you know, if you’re playing, you know, second after 7:00, then you’re playing first. So it’s like, I feel like, I didn’t sleep for two days. Yeah, I’m just very happy that I just kept fighting.”

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