As the Wimbledon Championships approached, the tennis world focused on the deteriorating state of Rafael Nadal’s left foot.
But the fact is that serious and persistent foot injuries are much more common on the women’s professional circuit. They have derailed many promising tennis careers, including those of popular champions. Here are some of the biggest names on the Women’s Tennis Association Tour who have failed by their feet.
Hingis is perhaps the biggest “what if?” question in the history of women’s tennis. She has won five Grand Slam singles titles, 13 Grand Slam doubles titles and seven Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.
Yet despite having spent a total of 209 weeks as world No. 1 in singles and 90 weeks as world No. 1 in doubles (and holding both No. 1 rankings simultaneously for 29 weeks), then As she was entering what should have been her prime, she announced her retirement at age 22 in 2003 due to pain from injuries (and subsequent surgeries) to her feet and ankles. In 2001, Hingis sued her former sponsor, Sergio Tacchini, for $40 million for fitting her with “faulty” shoes that were “unfit for competition.” The lawsuit was dismissed in 2002.
Hingis eventually made brief returns to the WTA Tour in the mid-2000s, late 2000s and early 2010s (the latter primarily as a doubles specialist) – and was never part of it again. the sports elite.
Alongside Hingis’ run from the late 1990s to early 2000s at the pinnacle of the sport, Anna Kournikova became arguably the most popular tennis player of all time, as her global stardom transcended the sport although she’s never won a singles title.
The Russian blonde’s combination of beauty, sex appeal, romance rumors and undeniable tennis talent made her a Madison Avenue dream at the dawn of the internet age. She reportedly earned far more off the field income than she did.
Kournikova reached a career-high No. 8 in singles in 2000 and won 16 doubles titles (including a few with Hingis) and was ranked No. 1 in doubles in 1999.
In 2001, she starred in singer Enrique Iglesias’ “Escape” music video and the couple have been romantic partners ever since. They have three children together – fraternal twins (son and daughter) born in 2017 and a daughter born in 2020.
But Kournikova’s tennis career was cut short by a series of injuries, including stress fractures to both feet, the second of which required surgery and kept her on the sidelines for much of 2001. She also battled hand and spinal injuries. In 2003, she retired from the sport at age 22.
Fernandez electrified the sports world with her unlikely run to the 2021 US Open women’s singles final as an unseeded teenager.
Since then – and despite winning the Monterrey Open title in Mexico earlier this year – the current world No. 15-ranked player has been beset by persistent foot problems. The problem came to a head in her quarter-final loss to Martina Trevisan last month at Roland Garros. During the match, the 19-year-old Canadian received medical treatment on the pitch and – despite her father’s urgings to step down during the medical time-out – fought valiantly. Following the straight-set loss, she was diagnosed with a Grade 3 stress fracture on the top of her foot – an injury which her father says will keep her out of action until August at the earliest.
Between late 2018 and early 2021, Osaka dominated women’s football. She’s won four Grand Slam titles, reached a world No. 1 ranking, become the world’s most marketable female athlete, and lent her voice to social justice causes.
Over the past year and a half, however, she has fallen off the tennis map – in part due to the sport’s infamous sanity hiatus for much of the 2021 season. Now ranked No. 43 in the world , Osaka suffered an Achilles tendon injury earlier this year – and the lingering effects of it clearly hampered her in her first-round defeat at this year’s French Open. To avoid aggravating the injury further, she withdrew from Wimbledon before the start of the tournament.