Withdrawals and Retirements in Professional Tennis Players: An Analysis of 2013 United States Tennis Association Pro Circuit Tournaments

Matthew J. Hartwell, Sandra M. Fong, Alexis C. Colvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Injuries and illnesses for professional tennis athletes disrupt training, competition, and progression in the sport and represent a major reason for athlete withdrawal or retirement from a tournament. Few descriptive epidemiological studies have focused on these trends in elite tennis athletes. Purpose: To examine the causes of professional tennis player withdrawal or retirement from United States Tennis Association (USTA) Pro Circuit tournaments during 2013. Study Design: Descriptive epidemiology study. Level of Evidence: Level 4. Methods: Tournament records from the 2013 USTA Pro Circuit season were retrospectively reviewed for incidences of injury and illness that resulted in athlete withdrawal from the tournament. Data were reported as incidence rates per 1000 match exposures and rate ratios. Results: There were 70 medical conditions over the course of 27 competitions (20,988 match exposures), for an overall incidence rate of 3.34 per 1000 match exposures. Women were more likely to injure themselves on clay courts compared with hard courts (rate ratio, 4.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.41-19.85) and in the first half of the season compared with the second half (rate ratio, 3.95; 95% CI, 1.13-21.17). Men had a higher injury rate than women (rate ratio, 1.88; 95% CI, 1.17-3.63), and muscle-/tendon-related injuries were 6 times more likely than all other injuries (95% CI, 2.81-14.69). Conclusion: Women were more likely to experience an injury when playing on clay court surfaces, and they also experienced more injuries during the first half of the season. Injury rates for men often peaked during the months that players could qualify for Grand Slam competitions. There was a predominance of injuries in men compared with women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-161
Number of pages8
JournalSports Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • epidemiology
  • professional athletes
  • sports injuries
  • tennis


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