| By Steven Kaplan

The sweltering courts of the Australian Open seem inviting right about now, as the local area is starting to freeze. Some hot weather might be helpful to warming the bones of the best women's tennis players in the world because they are hurting.

World number one Serena Williams has an injured left knee. Second-ranked Simona Halep has achilles tendon issues. Garbine Mururuza, currently ranked third in the world, has plantar fascitis. Maria Sharapova at fourth in the world, has a left forearm injury, and sixth-ranked Petra Kvitova has glandular fever.

No doubt that the great athletic demands of the game today have created tremendous stress on the bodies of athletes and the women's game and it's best players are currently suffering. Hopefully, we will see some quick recoveries. If not, expect a wide open tournament Down Under.

Steven Kaplan

Steve Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation, and executive director and founder of Serve &Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally- ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.