Even though the tennis season has just begun, a rash of injuries has affected the first few tournaments of 2013. Kei Nishikori (knee) retired in the semifinals of Brisbane, joining Victoria Azarenka (toe), Daniela Hantuchova (hamstring), Maria Sharapova (neck), Radek Stepanek (eye), and Jarrko Nieminen (migraine) as tournament casualties.
At the Hopman Cup, Andrea Petkovic, Tommy Haas, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were hurt and pulled out. Petkovic will miss the Australian Open with a knee injury, while Tsonga pulled out of Sydney with a groin injury. John Isner also pulled out of Hopman Cup with a knee injury, but will play as the top seed in Sydney, which begins on Sunday.
In Auckland, Sorana Cirstea retired with an illness.
Some players cited precautionary measures ahead of the Australian Open as a reason for their retirement or withdrawal. Some fans in Brisbane expressed their displeasure.
“It’s a tough situation for the tournament and also for the players,” Andy Murray said. “When you’re coming up to the Slams, they need to take priority for you. They’re our biggest events, most prestigious. But our goal as players in tournaments we enter is to be in the best possible shape for them. That’s why the players have complained about too many tournaments. Because I think people want to see great tennis and want to see players playing their best. Sometimes if there is a lot of tournaments that’s when you often find guys pulling out or not playing particularly well, and the players are criticized for that. Now, first week of year there has been a lot of guys getting hurt. So it does happen a lot in the beginning of year. It’s unfortunate, because it’s bad for the tournament and the people that come to watch.