You never want to slip through the cracks, crack your head or have to get up at the crack of dawn after a night on the town, but you might think something is Crackerjack, or you could want to have a crack at a job or crack up an audience with a joke. However, cracks on tennis courts are no laughing matter and should be repaired asap.
When cracks on tennis courts reach a certain width and depth, I have observed that they can contribute to player injuries in 2 primary ways. The first way is the most obvious and that is simply catching a shoe in a crack and falling. That actually happened to me many years ago and I was out of the game for months as my deeply bruised right wrist healed from that fall. The second way is more subtle, but can be just as injurious. When you play tennis, you learn to anticipate how balls will bounce and you position yourself accordingly to intercept and return the ball. Anything that causes an unanticipated odd bounce is going to require a last-second adjustment and that is what can cause players to injure themselves, either by losing balance and falling or from having to reach for the ball unexpectedly and wrenching a back or overextending an arm and shoulder.
Of course, some wily players can knowingly create odd bounces by putting back or side spin on the ball (aka “English” or “slime” in the vernacular of the courts) but experienced players can usually spot spin immediately off the opponent’s racquet and/or in the air and are therefore on the alert to the fact that the anticipated trajectory of the ball may change and the bounce might be unpredictable. Forewarned is forearmed and adjustments can be made for taking an oddly bouncing ball in a safe way.
Also, wind can wreak havoc with tennis, but again, everyone on the court is aware when it is windy that balls can bounce erratically and extra precautions must be taken to avoid injuries.
So my plea to clubs where I play is always, “Fix the cracks, please!”
Incidentally, aren’t those about the cutest tennis shoes you’ve ever seen? Let your uniform committee choose any color for your team and you will be prepared if you own these babies. Thanks Julia for permission to feature your shoes, which, happily and for the record, did NOT get stuck in any cracks today. Whew!