By Mike McIntyre
Need more proof that the grueling ATP schedule is taking its toll on the players? Look no further than the growing list of injury withdrawals at this year's French Open.
The men's field has been depleted by injuries that have removed some of the game's most exciting stars.
Most notable is the world number five Juan Martin Del Potro who is out of action until at least the U.S. Open after undergoing surgery on his right wrist. Del Potro will not be able to defend the ranking points he gained a year ago when he reached the semi-finals and pushed Roger Federer to a terrific five-set match. World number six and also a former French Open semi-finalist Nikolay Davydenko is also sidelined with a wrist injury.
Chronically injured David Nalbandian of Argentina is once again on the disabled list, this time with a left hamstring injury he suffered recently. The past year has been a health nightmare for the former Wimbledon finalist who has seen limited action.
Other players who will be missed at Roland Garros include American James Blake, big-serving Ivo Karlovic (right foot), former French Open champ Carlos Moya, Radek Stepanek, Tommy Haas, Igor Andreev and local hope Gilles Simon who is still trying to get into game shape following a knee injury.
I cannot remember a Grand Slam tournament with this many top-50 caliber players missing in action. In a tournament that is already likely to be dominated by two men (hello Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer) it is quite disappointing that the field has been so decimated.
The only positive is that this will certainly allow some other players the chance to make a name for themselves and perhaps enjoy some success on the clay that we do not normally see.
With only a few days to go before the singles tournament begins, stay tuned for more injury updates at ProTennisFan.