However, the best tennis player in the world managed to overcome all the problems and lift the cup in Melbourne for the record ninth time.
The site “Punto de Break” contacted a physiotherapist who works for ATP and who wished to remain anonymous, but explained how delicate that injury can be.
– The first thing to know is that the abdominal muscle has fibers that go in different directions. It’s not like some other muscles. It is a delicate area that requires the same treatment. When you have a rupture, you have to see in which direction it is happening. Even if it is a small burst, it is almost impossible to play. If the split is in the direction, it is possible, but with a lot of pain. The depth of that split is also important. Novak’s game indicates to me that this is a shallow split – said the physiotherapist of the ATP tour.
He then explained what it was like to play with that kind of pain.
– Imagine that someone stabs you in the abdomen with a needle, the fibers burst in that place. First aid is to compress the fibers to prevent them from spreading and further cracking. The fibers in this part of the body move in one direction when stretched, in one way at the backhand, in another when we bend. It is difficult to treat and isolate them from everything. Even when breathing and walking, they react.
At the 2009 US Open, Rafael Nadal had a 2.8-centimeter-diameter abdominal cleft. The normal question that arises is how much effort players put into playing in big competitions.
– They’re a different kind of people. During a match, adrenaline works and masks the pain by releasing a substance like cortisol. The problem comes after the match, when you are resting, as is the case at the Grand Slam when you have a day off between two matches.
In the end, he discovered how to approach the treatment.
– It is obvious that ATP doctors gave him some oral analgesic to suppress the pain. The normal thing in this case is ‘plasma treatment’ to activate the metabolism in that area, but I think it is impossible to do that during the competition. Personally, I don’t know anyone who has a cleft without being able to hit the ball, although Djokovic is a different kind of man, which leads me to believe that the cleft is shallow. It should not be deep because otherwise it would not be able to move and play. He did it, I don’t know how, but he succeeded – concluded ATP physio.
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