Why does Serena Williams play with black tape on her face?
Serena Williams is entering her final tournament as a professional player at the US Open ahead of retirement and will play Danka Kovinic in the opening round.
Serena Williams returned to the WTA Tour during the summer at the National Bank Open in Toronto and claimed her first singles victory in 14 months with 6-3, 6-4 victory over Nuria Parrizas Diaz at the Toronto Open. The American great, who will retire after the US Open to bring an end to a glittering career that has reaped 23 Grand Slams, has had mixed results since returning, suffering first round losses at Wimbledon and in Cincinnati but her appearance on court at Flushing Meadows will generate hopes that she has one more deep tournament run in her locker as she chases Margaret Court’s all-time record.
Black tape makes another appearance on Serena Williams’ cheek
In recent events including Wimbledon, Serena has been seen wearing black tape on her right cheek during games. The 40-year-old wears strips of the stretchy, movable medical tape, also known as kinesiology tape, to alleviate her sinus problems. She explained many years ago that her sinus condition interferes with her performance on the court.
As a ‘sinus sufferer’, as she calls herself, she can experience headaches and pain. The plaster is designed to relieve those symptoms so that she can concentrate on serving up her best game.
The Kinesio Taping method
According to its manufacturer, “The Kinesio Taping method is a therapeutic taping technique which alleviates pain and facilitates lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin.”
The use of the colorful tape first gained popularity after Olympic athletes were seen wearing it in the 2008 Being Olympics, then at the 2012 London Games.
Some studies have found that there has been some benefit to using the elastic tape, but just like many other therapies that gain popularity, there are skeptics as well as research claiming that the benefits, if any, are minimal.
Other researchers claim that any improvement that athletes experience is just a result of the placebo effect.
These kinds of treatments will more often than not cause a debate among believers and detractors, but in the end, if they are not found to be harmful, athletes will likely use them if they in any way improve their performance in sports.