Mikhail Youzhny head smash.
Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal can often be seen giving their strings a little punch in frustration. Mikhail Youzhny took this release of anger to a whole new level. After failing to convert a break point when playing Nicolas Almagro in Miami in 2008, the crazed Russian proceeded to smash himself over the head with his racket, drawing a steady flow of blood down his face. “Before the match I felt negative and during the match I felt negative. After that, I felt I had released all the negativity. I won the match,” Youzhny explained.
Kim Clijsters goes dancing.
The intense physical nature of the modern game means that rolling an ankle is not an uncommon sight on the court. But this is the story of how a big, fat Flemish wedding disrupted Clijsters’ season. It was while dancing barefoot at a cousin’s wedding last year – she had kicked off the heels by then – that Clijsters clattered into another girl and turned her ankle and, as she limped away, someone else trod on her toe.
The episode, though it gave a new insight into how lively Belgian wedding receptions can be, meant she missed most of last year’s clay-court season. It is unlikely that Kim will be following in Martina Navratilova’s footsteps and appearing on Dancing with the Stars when she hangs up her racket.
Serena Williams’ battle with a beer bottle.
It was most definitely unlucky 13 for Serena. Following her win at Wimbledon (and 13th slam overall) in 2010, Serena was in a bar in Munich where she gashed her foot on a beer bottle, which had reportedly been dropped in a raucous crowd watching a World Cup football match. The gash on her right foot required stitches and would keep Serena out of the game for several months. The American required two further operations on the foot to repair a lacerated tendon. “I ended up fainting because I lost so much blood. It felt ‘weird’,” said Serena. It was after flying across America, to see a foot specialist in New York City, that a blood clot formed on Serena’s lung. Thankfully, she made a full recovery.
Forgetful Goran Ivanisevic.
He was leaving his Monte Carlo apartment for practice. Ready to go, one thing had slipped Goran’s mind, his rackets. In an attempt to fetch them, the door to his apartment slammed on to his fingers, breaking the middle one on his right hand. Now, with rackets in his (left) hand, Ivanisevic could make his way to the accident and emergency ward.
Gottfried Von Cramm’s unfortunate encounter with a horse.
He was Fred Perry’s German rival before the outbreak of the Second World War. As a child, a young Gottfried was feeding a horse a sugar cube when the horse decided it fancied a bit of savoury to compliment the sweetness. Before Von Cramm knew it, he only had three fingers and the horse was crunching through his fourth. Despite his lack of index finger, Von Cramm went on to win two French Open titles.
The ‘nutters’ – Mark Philippoussis and Goran Ivanisevic.
When the two men with bullet-like serves played each other, you would understand any concern the opposing duo or the line judges may have had for their own safety. But the two players ended up doing each other some damage, just not in a way anyone could have imagined. While playing in Toronto, Ivanisevic decided he would try to head the ball over the net. Philippoussis tried to hit a more conventional shot, only for the players to end up clashing heads. Ivanisevic required stitches and Philippoussis suffered concussion.
Sam Querrey has a smashing time in Bangkok.
Following a practice session during the ATP Bangkok Open in 2009, Sam Querrey was perched on a glass table. Whilst tying his shoe laces, the 6 foot 6 inches American fell through the glass table and badly gashed his forearm and leaked blood all over the locker room. The wound required emergency surgery but luckily for Querrey there was no ligament damage. Querrey later tweeted: “Worst day ever.”
Yevgeny Kafelnikov punches himself out.
The Russian fractured his hand while in the gym, hitting a punch-bag. The then reigning French Open champion had to withdraw from the 1997 Australian Open due to the injury and spent a total of three months on the sidelines. When the Russian made his return to the game at the Monte Carlo Masters in 1997 he said: “Believe me, it is still painful to hold the racket. Maybe it (my return) was a little too early, but I am hungry for the game. I want to compete.”
Rafael Nadal burns himself.
‘Be careful sir, the plate is hot’ is a line used by waiters and waitresses around the globe, regardless of the temperature of the plate. This time, the plate really was hot, and Rafael Nadal should have taken the waiter’s advice. In a Japanese restaurant in Cincinnati, Nadal grabbed hold of a scorching hot griddle pan which immediately burnt his middle and index finger on his right hand, causing blisters. Luckily for Nadal, it was his non-playing hand, but he did admit that it was causing him slight discomfort when hitting his two-handed backhand.
‘A dog is a man’s best friend’, but no friend of Kim Clijsters.
It would seem that Kim Clijsters is not as assured on her feet off the court as she is on it. The Belgian was playing football in her garden when she tripped over her dog, Diesel. Diesel, a Great Dane, caused Clijsters to fall heavily and bruise her coccyx bone. Clijsters described the accident as “very silly” but was relieved that it would not delay her return to the court following a wrist injury.