by Bob Stockton
When a sports player suffers a serious injury, the physical rehabilitation is one part of the comeback process but there are also mental hurdles to overcome too. There are a lot of factors that will determine whether a player is able to make a successful comeback from injury to perform at the same level again, including their age and mental strength.
With Andy Murray talking about his plans to make a comeback from a long injury-ravaged period, he will hopefully be able to take some inspiration from the successful comebacks of other tennis stars.
Most of the top tennis players have had serious injuries that have hampered their careers and these are some of the highest-profile comebacks:
The story of Monica Seles’ comeback is unique, it wasn’t a muscle or joint injury that forced her to take time out of tennis, but an injury inflicted by a crazed Steffi Graf fan stabbing her in the back. In what was one of the darkest moments in tennis, Seles was attacked during a match in Hamburg against Steffi Graf. Following the shocking incident, Seles didn’t play for over two years and when she did make a comeback, she revealed that she struggled with the psychological factor in returning to the court. She did manage to win the Australian Open in 1996 but her career never really reached the level she was destined for prior to the attack.
Roger Federer had a pretty good record as far as injuries were concerned, which is one of the main reasons he has managed to dominate tennis for so long. In 2016 he suffered a knee injury, shortly followed by a back injury inflicted by lifting his child out of the bath, which led to him taking six months away from the game.
Federer was approaching 35 years of age, and whilst many athletes of this age might admit defeat and take retirement through injury, there was no way Federer was giving up his sport without a fight. In January 2017 he roared back to beat Rafael Nadal in an epic final.
The Swiss star is still rated as one of the best in the sport alongside Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal even though he is 38-years-old, which is reflected in the tennis betting as he is third favourite for the US Open at 6/1.
One of tennis’ most flamboyant stars, Agassi was renowned for his long locks and bright, jazzy outfits. He was the rock and roll star of tennis, married to actress Brooke Shields and never too far away from the news headlines. However, in 1997 everything turned sour for Agassi. A wrist injury combined with divorce proceedings resulted in Agassi going off the rails and failing an ATP drug test. Determined to change his fortunes, Agassi embarked on a remarkable comeback, which saw him win the French Open in 1999 and win four more Grand Slams before hanging up his racquet.
These are some of the more high profile injury comebacks in tennis but there are many more examples of career-threatening injuries that players have overcome.