Life happens for tennis players, too

Sunday September 5th, 2010

Feliciano Lopez

Spain's Feliciano Lopez (above) was leading 6-3, 4-0 on Sunday when Sergiy Stakhovsky retired with an infected toe. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Nice to see Feliciano Lopez back in business. The Spanish lefty moved on to Week Two today when his opponent, Sergiy Stakhovsky, retired with what's being called an "infected toe." (Some questions are better left unasked.)

Earlier this year, Lopez's former girlfriend told the Spanish media that she was carrying his baby. Though the two had split, Lopez prepared for fatherhood. Sadly, the girlfriend lost the pregnancy. The emotion and the sense of loss was compounded by the national attention and, Lopez says, was responsible for his desultory play earlier this year. Earlier this tournament I spoke with a WTA player who had become pregnant and prepared for motherhood and a new chapter in life. She, too, lost the child and became deeply depressed. It took more than a year for her to pick up her game. The point is not to traffic in gossip. Rather, the point is this: players lose matches or their rankings tail off or they withdraw from events for vague reasons, and we’re quick to throw out terms like “head case” and “erratic" and “wavering commitment.” It's easy to forget that “life happens” to them as well.

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