PLAYER NEWS 2012
Wilander On The Road Again Following Recovery
by Alison Kim|
For a few months, Mats Wilander wasn't allowed to do anything more than walk after injuring his kidney in a fall earlier this year. Since receiving the all clear, he's racked up more than 3,000 miles on his trusty west coast Winnebago and east coast RV, making stops all across the United States for Wilander on Wheels.
"The wheels are rolling," said the seven-time Grand Slam champion on Thursday from Maryland, the latest stop for the travelling tennis clinic.
Wilander typically spends six months of the year on the road, divvied up between his Wilander on Wheels sessions, commentating duties for Eurosport and ATP Champions Tour appearances. That all came to a halt in January, when he fell onto his back in his bathroom in Melbourne during the Australian Open. He suffered internal bleeding from a laceration to his right kidney, received a blood transfusion and was given strict orders to rest.
"When you’re as active as I’m used to, it isn’t easy to not be allowed to run or sweat or exhaust yourself," he admitted. "Your heart rate is not supposed to go up obviously for good reasons for the kidney. It was very tough, but at the same time it was nice to have three months at home."
The 47 year old made the best of his recovery time, enjoying the company of his four children and his wife in their home in Sun Valley, Idaho. "I was able to go to the Idaho state championship in hockey for two of my kids, twice," he elaborated. "I was able to go watch my oldest son, who’s 17, play tennis tournaments. In that way, it was actually a blessing. I got to spend time with my wife, in my own house. Everything bad has something good with it."
In early April, Wilander received word that his CAT Scan had came back normal. Just over a week later, he was back on the court and road, taking Wilander on Wheels through California to Houston and around New England.
"I have a really fun time," said the Swede, who also uses Wilander on Wheels as a vehicle to raise awareness and money for DEBRA, an organisation dedicated to curing Epidermolysis Bullosa. "I love tennis and I’m able to do it at all levels. I'm really, really lucky."
He will continue to make his way south to Florida over the few days, with an exhibition match on Amelia Island set for Sunday. Wilander and fellow tennis legends Todd Martin and Chris Evert headline the "Match for a Cure", which supports the March of Dimes and Miracle Match Foundation.