Originally Posted by smucav
1.Most sports medicine physicians are orthopedists by training. The majority of the ones who work the ATP tournaments (at least in the U.S.) are team doctors for pro/college sports teams who are drafted for the week of the tournament.
2.The doctors are only on call to sign the medical releases allowing players to withdraw/retire due to injury and for emergencies that the trainer isn't equiped to handle (such as Malisse's heart condition at Wimbledon 2002). Rarely do they provide any actual treatment since the players usually leave the tournament to consult with their own doctors
3.I talked to the tournament doctor at one tournament I attended: he has been the tournament doctor for a number of years & described it as his annual nine day vacation from his practice. He had to be on site throughout the tournament, but rarely was called into action so he just walked around & talked to people all day & watched all the matches from the side of the court. Pretty much all he did all week was declare one player unfit to play so he could withdraw without penalty and another who retired from the doubles fit to play the singles the next day.
Thanks for an in-depth explanation of how the set-up works. Sorry I don't know how to separate your post into 3 separate quotes so I just spaced it a little to address 3 areas.
1. I don't think anyone is implying the doctors are not competent, just that they are not specialized in 1 sport specifically tennis. Though many sports share some common injuries, treating basketball players and tennis players injuries are different. So experience as a team physician for 1 sport is not the same as familiarity with all sports. And in some of the other non-US locations where they don't have any big pro team,they may not be that familiar with professional athletes' types of injuries. A dedicated "tennis" doctor would have more expertise.
2. Tournament doctors don't provide treatment because it's not their job as it is now set up. Therefore players have no choice but to leave and see someone else. If someone there was capable of treating them, it would make it much easier for the players especially during the busy parts of the season when extra travelling can be especially wearing.
3. The doctor you talked to considered his work there a vacation. Was he paid or did he volunteer? A volunteer is obviously not going to be expected to do anything but the bare minimum. If the ATP is paying people to be there and they're not asked to do much of anything, then the ATP is not getting their money's worth. They'd be better off spending a bit more money for the benefit of convenient treatment and control.
And seeing how the injuries are coming so fast and furious, I really think the tennis organizations would appreciate a more complete medical system that they oversee and thereby get to maintain some control.