Re: Sorry players' interviews. Death of Tennis Mourning Thread.
For Martina Hingis, it has been particularly hard. After three years away from tennis, her comeback season has been a great success. But after she lost to Kim Clijsters in the French Open quarterfinals, she contemplated leaving the safe haven of clay.
"It's pretty much the same for everybody," she said. "Nobody really practices on grass. It's been awhile since I stood on a grass court."
Five years, to be precise. She will almost certainly be among the top 16 seeds, but her progress in the early rounds bears watching.
While hard courts, because of the friction they create, are the hardest on the joints, clay's tendency to prolong points takes its toll, too. Grass, players say, does the least damage. It is soft and the points are shorter. That said, there is still a physical adjustment period.
"In the beginning, I always get back pain," Federer said. "Many balls are very low and you always have to go down and get it. You feel that. Same as maybe the groin areas on grass affect you in the beginning.
"But once you're used to it, it's really easy on the body."
Patrick McEnroe, the U.S. Davis Cup captain, agreed.
The balls skid a lot more and stay low," McEnroe said. "It forces you to use a different muscle group. Your ass -- can I say that on the Internet? -- gets really sore. For the first few days, it's really, really tough."
Consequently, players try to get as much time on the grass courts as possible; some -- hello there, James Blake, Fernando Gonzalez and Sebastien Grosjean -- even allow themselves to play doubles.