Vasek Pospisil Wimbledon 2015

Davis Cup star reveals ‘pain’ over ball changes after Finland defeat

Vasek Pospisil has piled the pressure on the ATP Tour, with the Canadian continuing the backlash about frequent ball changes after the defending champions faced a shock defeat to Finland.

Pospisil competed in the deciding doubles match alongside Alexis Galarneau, but was defeated in straight sets by the Finnish duo of Harri Heliövaara and Otto Virtanen.

However, it was clear that the former top 30 singles player was struggling with his elbow and underwent medical timeouts during the match.

And the 33-year-old has revealed the issue that began back in July, “I was in a lot of pain. It’s not fun playing in pain. I would have rather not played if we had somebody that was healthy and willing to go, but I was healthy enough. My tear healed a couple of days ago. I still have some issues but it’s not perfect, that’s for sure.”

Pospisil was not the only player on the Canadian team suffering with injury, with Felix Auger-Aliassime unable to compete in singles despite being in Malaga and Denis Shapovalov has been out since Wimbledon with a knee injury.

As a result, Milos Raonic and Gabriel Diallo competed in singles for Canada, with the former making a positive start before Diallo was beaten by the aforementioned Virtanen to setup the deciding doubles rubber.

Pospisil is not the only player in recent weeks to complain about frequent ball changes, with Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stan Wawrinka also speaking on the issue.

And the former Wimbledon quarter-finalist highlighted a recent tournament where balls were causing injury troubles, “Every player was complaining about the ball, every single player. It was like we were playing with a rock. I have never experienced anything like it in my life. Every time you hit the ball you felt pain in your wrist, elbows and shoulder.”

He continued, “Unfortunately, I played very well those two weeks. I guess they were good for my game but terrible for my body. By the second week, I had a second-degree tear in my UCL [Ulnar Collateral Ligament]. Almost tore it all the way through.

“Players don’t talk about it openly. They are in the locker room. I mean, how many wrist surgeries have we seen this year? I can name several players.”

Pospisil co-founded the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) with Djokovic back in 2019, and he revealed that the independent organisation are going to try and put more pressure on the ATP’s President Andrea Gaudenzi to address the issue.

“Tennis is a huge global business, multi-billion-dollar industry. I think we should be treated as partners,” said Pospisil. “I think players bring a lot of value to this business, and that hasn’t been the case. I have seen it. I have been on the (ATP) council. I know exactly how things go.

“There is a facade of collaboration but the reality is there’s not. Obviously, now there is a lot of pressure because of the Player Association (PTPA) because it’s being spoken about a lot more. So there is some movement there in the right direction.”

The former No.25 added, “Players can complain, complain, complain. At the end of the day, they don’t really have that much say in this sport, unfortunately. But it’s changing. It’s changing quickly. I think when it does, this sport will be a lot better.”

With Canada’s hopes of defending the Davis Cup now over, Finland move onto the semi-finals for the first time in history and will play either Czechia or Australia on Friday.

Inside the baseline…

Finland have continued to shock the world at the Davis Cup this year, knocking out record 32-time champions USA back in September and defending champions Canada yesterday without No.1 player Emil Ruusuvuori. The issue concerning ball changes definitely needs addressing by the ATP, as Pospisil is one of many players to make comments about it and increased avoidable injuries is the last thing that the tour needs.

READ NEXT – Davis Cup Finals 2023 Preview: A guide to the ‘Final 8’

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.