April 2010 All News
Clark's struggle at a painful end
Anthony Clark, the Englishman whose brilliant skills and great experience made him one of England's best hopes of winning European medals, was forced to give up the defence of his mixed doubles title after only one day.
Clark, who has found a promising replacement for retired fellow stalwart Donna Kellogg, struggled through just one victory with Heather Olver before deciding that his calf injury was just too bad.
It became evident all was not well when the European champion from Derbyshire called on a doctor and coach Andy Wood between games during the 21-15, 21-16 win over Sam and Chloe Magee, the brother-sister combination from Ireland.
Clark's movement had not looked especially impaired, but serious expressions during the on-court dialogue told their own story; afterwards he disappeared quickly to receive treatment before deciding what to do.
"It was pretty bad," said Wood. "He only just managed to play, and he only just finished. There was no point in making the injury worse."
It left a particularly empty feeling for Olver, who had set her heart on following their quarter-final appearance at last month's Yonex All-England with another good run here.
"In the game he went for some shot -- I am not sure which one now -- and I could see pain in his face.
"I said 'are you all right? Ease up a little and then perhaps it will feel better.'
"I wasn't sure how bad it was at the time -- he always has a few niggles -- and this is very disappointing. We saw at the All-England how well we can play, and I think we can improve on that."
Later Clark decided he should also pull out of the men's doubles with Nathan Robertson, the third-seeded partnership which had won the European silver medal six years ago in Geneva, and which had been looking forward to trying to go for gold.
"I'm obviously really disappointed, especially as Nathan and I had such high hopes in the men's doubles," he said.
"At least I got on court to defend my mixed doubles title with Heather but this wasn't how I wanted things to turn out. I am disappointed for both my partners as well as for myself."
The home country's best hopes now arguably rest with Rajiv Ouseph, the fourth seed in the men's singles, and with Robertson and Jenny Wallwork, the third seeds in the mixed.
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