Late 2020/Early 2021 News

Hello – below is the installment of the USA Racketlon Newsletter for late 2020/early 2021. If you have any feedback or stories to share for the coming months, please let us know! Enjoy!

Newsletter (Late 2020/Early 2021)

Happy New Year! 2020 was a challenging year for all of us, including us here at USA Racketlon. Although this is our first newsletter in awhile, we have a lot to share including: our new logo, tournament results and FIR information! We encourage everyone to join us on social media at usaracketlon on both Instagram and Facebook. We hope everyone continues to stay safe and healthy. 

Announcements 

New Racketlon Logo and Apparel 

Over the past few months, we have taken a lot of time to revamp our old USA Racketlon logo and are very excited to share it with you all. Thank you to graphic designer, Todd Shear (http://www.toddshear.com), for taking our ideas and bringing them to life. Over the holidays, we submitted our first bulk order for crew neck sweatshirts and hoodies with our new logo. Check out some of USA Racketlon players and fans, repping the new apparel. If you are interested in joining a future order, please reach out to us at usaracketlon@gmail.com and let us know. 

NYC Tri-Rackets Doubles Tournament – November 2020

In November 2020, the NYC Racketlon community had a single day outdoor doubles event with 30 competitors. Our goal was to introduce the concept of Racketlon and to try and make all teams balanced to ensure fair competition. The event was coordinated by Juliya Virovlyansky and Pat Moran. It was hosted at Asser Levy Recreation Park with modified events (outdoor ping pong, pickleball, wall tennis and paddleball). Everyone had a lot of fun and we even witnessed a gummi-arm point! We plan on hosting more events in the city once the sunshine returns! Below were the top 3 teams! 

1st place – Jared/Ben

2nd place – Shree/Phoebe

3rd place – Nesli/Jesper

Battle of the Rackets Tournament Recap – February 2021

After almost an entire year of no racketlon tournaments in the United States due to the global pandemic, Elevate Fitness in Syracuse NY hosted a safe and successful racketlon tournament coordinated by Justin D’Antonio. 

The first weekend in February, 46 players participated across 10 draws for a three day racketlon tournament consisting of table tennis, badminton, pickleball and tennis. This tournament surpassed the 43 participants last year at the U of R battle of the rackets tournament for the largest racketlon tournament in US history! Every player was guaranteed two matches per event, making for over 75 matches played throughout the weekend.

2019 World Championship Team USA member, Shree Dhond took home his maiden singles title in the Men’s A draw and partnered up again with USA racketlon president and #74 ranked men’s doubles player in the world, Pat Moran, taking home first in the Men’s A doubles. Former college tennis player, Alex McCarthy, dominated the Men’s B singles draw. Syracuse, NY locals, Joon Kim and Jason Lam paired up and took home the Men’s B doubles title. Adam Malone showcased his athletic abilities taking first place in the Coed C singles draw and racquetball specialist, Kevin Russell, picked up many new rackets and took home first in the Coed D singles draw. 

On the women’s side we saw a very competitive singles draw. Women’s A singles consisted of veteran Racketlon competitor, Shona Kerr, former professional table tennis player, Dora Kurimay, rising racketlon competitor Dominique Canale and former NCAA tennis player Sienna Susko. Shona took home first place in the women’s A singles draw beating Dominique Canale in a tight match by 5 points overall. This women’s singles draw showcased great promise for the females of the future for USA Racketlon.  

The mixed doubles A draw consisted of 5 strong pairings including experienced racketlon competitor Pat Moran (World #109 in mixed doubles and #91 in men’s singles) who paired up with former professional table tennis player Dora Kurimay. Racketlon veterans and Massachusetts natives: Andy Stenson and Shona Kerr paired up. Cousins from Upstate New York Dominique Canale and Eric Shear partnered as well as powerhouse couple Adam Malone and Sienna Susko. The last pairing was U of R beginner mixed champ Bridget Bender who partnered with runner up in the Mens A draw Nikola Ristic. Both Moran/Kurimay and Shear/Canale were undefeated going into the last match of the tournament. Moran/Kurimay jumped out to a 21-1 lead in TT and hung on to their lead going into the last quarter of the match needing 8 points in tennis to win. Shear/Canale made a mighty comeback getting to 16 points by the time they dropped 8 points in tennis but ended up losing the match by 5 points overall. 

One exciting match that took place off the books was an exhibition match between tournament director, Justin D’Antonio and Men’s A Singles and Doubles Champ, Shree Dhond. After coming out with a commanding lead by Shree, Justin came back and forced the match to a sudden death gummi-arm point. Shree came out on top after popping up a lob, which Justin took as an overhead, clipping the tape! 

With the positive feedback from the tournament, the future is bright for tournaments at Elevate Fitness. Keep an eye out on our website and on social media for upcoming events. 

Here are the finalists for each event:

Singles 

Women’s A: 1st. Shona Kerr    2nd. Dominique Canale (74-69)

Men’s A: 1st. Shree Dhond      2nd. Nikola Ristic (67-50)

Men’s B: 1st. Alex McCarthy    2nd. Jon Kangah (72-59)

Coed C: 1st Adam Malone       2nd. Mike Henty (64-50)

Coed D: 1st. Kevin Russel       2nd. Juliya Virovlyanski  (74-61)

Doubles 

Men’s A: 1st Pat Moran/Shree Dhond                       2nd: Matt & John Funicello (71-55)

Men’s B: 1st. Joon Kim/Jason Lam                           2nd. Jon Kangah/Brian Emigholz (71-64)

Men’s Beginner: 1st: Chris Keevil/Jon Westfall        2nd: Mike Henty/Vince Schoonmaker  (79-65)

Mixed A: 1st. Pat Moran/Dora Kurimay                     2nd. Eric Shear/Dominique Canale (68-63)

Mixed Beginner: 1st. Rajesh Kumar/Juliya Virovlyanski      2nd. James & Kathy Byrne (72-52)

Find the full results here: Elevate Racket Champions Tournament Results 

Check out the tournament photos here: Elevate Racket Champions Tournament Photos

Upcoming Events 

2021 World Championships – Vienna, Austria – August 20th-29th 

One of the most highly anticipated tournaments on the FIR World Tour is the World Championships. Due to the global pandemic, FIR has postponed all international tournaments until after June 2021. With promising signs that the vaccination program may lead to lifting some COVID restrictions, FIR has announced that World Champs will take place in August in Vienna, Austria. We will share more information about the World Championships as we learn more from FIR. In the meantime, if you are interested in representing TEAM USA in 2021, please reach out to us at usaracketlon@gmail.com.

Junior Racketlon Camp – Summer 2021 – Swarthmore College 

We are excited to share that the Loomis Racquet Academy at Swarthmore College (near Philadelphia) is hosting a Racketlon Sports Camp in June for Juniors ages 8-16! Students will get in-depth practice and experience with a variety of racket sports including tennis, pickleball and badminton for an entire week. In addition, there will be coaches from the Rafa Nadal Tennis Experience in Mallorca who will be there to teach for the week. If you are interested or would like to register here is the contact/registration information: Info – Call Jeremy at 610-328-8204 or email info@loomisracquetacademy.com

Player Spotlight – Andy Stenson

To start off 2021, we thought it would be worthwhile to spotlight former USA Racketlon President and the man that makes the only FIR tournament in North America possible, Andy Stenson. Originally from England, Andy now resides in Massachusetts. 

Andy’s exposure to all the sports began at a young age. In Stratford-upon-Avon, England Andy attended a progressive high school, where the headmaster believed that team sports promote aggression and thus had students play badminton, tennis and table tennis. In combination with that, Andy also played squash at a local club. Andy was a high level junior table tennis player for quite some time. 

In 2009, Andy first tried out racketlon at Smith College when he was introduced to the sport by squash coach, Tim Bacon – his opponent who beat him in the final. The sport stuck and in 2014, for the weekend of his 50th birthday, Andy asked his family that for his birthday he wanted them all to come to Granby, QC and watch him play. He played in the over 45’s as well as the B’s – playing badminton for the first time in 30 years. In 2015 Andy went back to Granby and captured the title. 

Having been introduced to each of the racketlon sports at a young age, he took some time off of each for years. When Andy moved to the states in 1990 he played tennis and won a few local summer tournaments and recreational leagues. He picked up table tennis again after a 25+ year hiatus and has enjoyed learning the game playing with long pips!

Andy has a lot of racketlon experience including representing Great Britain at the World Championship tournament in years past. His best results were Ontario 2017, where he won both the +45’s and the B’s. Other strong results were his IWT title in 2015 in Granby beating squash specialist Mario Gagnon in the final, British Open amateur doubles in 2019 and a close loss while playing with his absolute favorite doubles partner (Jeremy Easterbrook) against Pat Moran and former junior world champion Patrick Laplante in Northampton 2019 strikes him as a victory of sorts. 

We asked Andy what is next for him, “I think it’s time to get serious again……. +60 worlds in 2024?? Switch allegiance and see if I can make Team USA?? Who knows. That said, it’s all mighty good fun!”

Without a doubt, we can always count on Andy to show up and battle it out on the court. Keep an eye out for him at future tournaments! 

Social Media Highlights

New Racketlon Ambassador – Michelle Li 

We, along with Racketlon Canada are excited to announce that Canada’s Michelle Li, No.10 in the badminton world rankings, is now a Racketlon Ambassador for North America. The partnership – orchestrated by our own, Patrick Moran – means that Li will help promote racketlon here in North America. Michelle Li is a history-maker in the world of badminton. In 2014, Li became the first Canadian to win an individual gold medal in women’s singles at the Commonwealth Games. On top of the Commonwealth Games triumph, Li also has four golds from the Pan American Games, eight golds at the Pan Am Championships and five titles across the BWF World Tour and Grand Prix. Li has been as high as No.8 in the BWF World Singles Rankings. She is currently at No.10. We are thrilled to have her as an advocate for this sport that we love! 

Racketlon in a tweet – Stefanos Tsitsipas and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga 

Racketlon has caught the attention of two professional tennis players recently in the “twitter-sphere”. ATP World #5, Stefanos Tsitsipas mentioned racketlon on two separate occasions and the international racketlon community was not letting it go unnoticed. Would you be excited to see Stefanos at a racketlon tourney?

Former Top Ten player, Jo Wilfred Tsonga, shared a video to Racketlon France saying that he thinks Racketlon is a great idea as he knows a lot of tennis players that are into table tennis. Check out the video here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CJ1CyfxodII/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Newsletters – Going Quarterly

That’s all for now, folks! Keep an eye out for future newsletters, which will be released quarterly after Covid-19 is neutralized. If you haven’t already, take some time to check out the updated USA Racketlon website. We have added all of the monthly newsletters, as well as, the new ranking systems and tournament photos. To keep up with what is going on, subscribe to usaracketlon.com. if you have any input on changes to the website or information you are looking for, please email us at usaracketlon@gmail.com