Withdraw or Play With Injury?
Retire with injury
In any professional tournaments there is prize money. The amount of the prize money is divided up depending on which round the player gets to, the final having the most money for winning.
There are a thousand players on the circuit who ‘need’ the first round money in a Grand Slam tournament to pay living expenses. When they make it through the qualifying rounds into the first round of the main draw, many times there is a price to pay physically. Even players who have qualified, through their ranking to be in the main draw, are playing with pain and injuries. Their bodies have had to stand up to the physical trauma of playing match after match under stress.
If they are injured and aren’t able to compete what should they do? Ironically, the right thing to do would be to withdraw and give their position to a lucky loser. That would mean they wouldn’t collect the first round prize money (around $40,000USD at the US OPEN).
However, if they should opt to play injured they risk that injury getting worse, which would take them out of competing subsequent events which would reflect on their world ranking. The answer, would be to retire after a few games, get the prize money for first round and have time to recover for the next tournament.
Withdraw with injury
Andy Murray has come up with a solution, which may, or may not work. If a player withdraws, instead of retiring, before the first round begins, he still gets paid the first round money. This would allow a lucky loser to take his place and have a shot at second round prize money if he won.
Playing injured, then retiring, is getting more and more attention from the tournament directors and spectators. It especially affects the spectators who do not get a refund of their ticket when a player retires due to injury. Perhaps Andy Murray’s suggestion should be put into effect as a test case in one or two tournaments. Feedback from both players and spectators would be beneficial in going forward.
What would you do if you had a choice between withdrawing and NOT getting the first round money, or playing 4 or 5 games, then retiring, so you are insured to receive your money?