Rise in retirements at the Australian Open and how it relates to injuries it today’s game

Through five days of play at the 2017 Australian Open, we’ve seen eight retirements so far: five on the men’s side and three on the women’s side. While they’re not abnormally high numbers, they fall into a larger trend of increasing retirements at Grand Slams.

The number of retirements at Grand Slams between 2010 and 2015 is 37% higher than it was in between the years of 1995 and 2000. And at this year’s Australian Open, the number of men’s retirements (five so far) is slightly above the yearly average, 4.8. Women’s retirements also passed the average of 2.8 this year, with three thus far. Outlying factors like weather conditions play into retirements, but juxtaposing retirement trends with the rising number of injuries we see on the tour makes these numbers hard to ignore.

Since the early 2000s, the average number of Grand Slam matches that end with retirement in the first set is up from about one match per year to two-and-a-half per year. In the first round in Melbourne, Nicolas Almagro retired after just four games and 23 minutes in his match against Jeremy Chardy.