You’ve heard the term ‘Mono‘ or the ‘Kissing Disease‘ bandied about in the tennis world, but what is it and why is it so prevalent in the game?
Mono in layman terms, a type of herpes virus, against which over 90% of adults are likely to have acquired immunity by the age of 40, which is characterized by fever, sore throat and fatigue.
The fatigue part is a killer for tennis players, just ask Robin Soderling who has been out of the game for 2 years now with no timetable on coming back. Roger Federer suffered with it for a time but managed to make a recovery, so too has Marin Cilic and Vasek Pospisil. Mario Ancic never recovered from it and he retired at only 26.
So why do tennis players get it so much?
One of the biggest reasons is traveling on tour. It’s easy to catch a cold on a plane, easy to lose sleep, get jet lagged it’s a wonder that the players play at all. Their immune systems are probably better than most people because of their intense dietary and physical regimes but a virus is a virus and Mono is particularly tough to stop.
Many players find themselves in confined spaces such as locker rooms and lounge areas, like any public space, it’s a germ farm.
What about the kissing part?
Ah yes, that. We don’t want to get anyone into trouble but you could say it’s part of the game. But however the virus makes its way in, the sharing possibilities via water bottles and shared facilities are infinite. All a player can do is be vigilant, get enough sleep and watch who they kiss.
You would think that the French players would be the most susceptible, so Richard Gasquet better watch out!