Injury sidelines Long at tennis championships

Bendigo tennis star Eliza Long has been forced to withdraw from the national under-18s girls championships with a left calf injury.

Long first suffered the injury two weeks ago, but aggravated it further in yesterday’s second match of the tournament against top-seed Azra Hadzic.

It was a disappointing result for Long, who had taken the first set 6-1 and led 4-3 in the second before feeling pain in her leg.

“We had this big point, throughout the whole match we were having a lot of rallies so I was leaning on it quite a few times, there was one point where she did a drop shot when I landed on it quite hard,” Long said.

“Getting back up to run over to the other side... that’s when I stretched it and I felt this shock of pain.”

The 17-year-old seventh seed tried to play on, but lost the second set in a tiebreaker before having to retire trailing 2-0 in the final set.

“If I could have kept playing like I was I was hoping I could’ve won. It would have been the first time I’ve beaten her,” Long said.

Long, last year’s national under-16 champion, had a restricted lead-up to the event after injuring her calf in an Asia-Pacific Tennis League match.

“I had already torn my calf two weeks ago… so I spent a week on the couch not doing anything,” Long said.

“I had a hit the day before the tournament started and was all set to play and was hoping not to make it worse, but that’s what happened.”

Long has been in top form this summer, playing in two Pro Tour events and making the Star Performance Squad at the ATL.

But her plans to play in the Tennis Australia AMT $10,000 Platinum next weekend are now in jeopardy, while she is unlikely to receive a wildcard into the Australian Open juniors after her injury.

“That was kind of why I was hoping to do well at 18s, because it was probably my last chance to get a wildcard into the Aussie Open,” Long said.

The star will head back to the specialist to try and prevent the injury reoccurring. 

Long has torn her right calf twice before and is concerned it could hamper her goal of studying and playing tennis at an American college.

“I’m going to head back to the specialist to get some long term exercises just to try and get on top of it because going to America I’m going to play every day,” she said.

“It seems to be when I increase my training or have a fair few matches on that my calves can’t take it.”

Long lost the first of three pool matches at the under-18s on Tuesday 4-6 4-6 to Stefani Stojic.

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