Newsletter (November 2021)

Happy almost Turkey Day! We have a lot to share so get ready! 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. 

Apparel

If you are interested in future swag, please reach out to us at usaracketlon@gmail.com and let us know. 

Canada Corner

While there has been no racketlon played in Canada since the onset of the pandemic, the board of Racketlon Canada is actively working to bring back tournaments. To support this, a newly designed website is in the works and a fundraising campaign is underway to help with these efforts. A generous donor has offered up to $5,000 in matching funds. Many of us North American players have been regular participants in Canadian tournaments, and we always get a strong showing of Canadian players in our US-based tournaments. Any contribution will be greatly appreciated and will help to ensure that some of our favorite tournaments – Granby, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa – will be back online soon. Details on the funding campaign can be found HERE.

 Keep an eye out for the new website and upcoming events at http://www.racketlon.ca

Andy Stenson

Racketlon USA – Racketlon Canada Liaison

USA Seniors crushing 2021 WORLD TOUR!!

  • Katrin Maldre – won the Women’s B Doubles title at the Swiss Open, came 3rd in the Women’s Elite Singles division at the Romanian Open, and won the Women’s B Doubles title at the World Championships in Prague. She continues to be the most decorated American Racketlon player of all time!
  • Andy Stenson – came 2nd in the Men’s 55+ Division at the World Doubles Championships in Prague losing a nail-biter to the eventual champs from Germany.
  • Paul Marks traveled from Chicago to compete in his first international showing at the World Singles Championships in Switzerland!

More fun in Prague at the World Doubles Championships and Czech Open!

USA Racketlon sent along some of their best to test the waters against the world’s elite. 

Stephanie Chung joined the team in her first-ever Racketlon competition. Not only did she debut in the women’s elite singles division, but she also teamed up with Sweden’s number 1 female, Anna-Klara Ahlmer, for women’s A doubles and with Pat Moran for mixed B doubles. Stephanie and Pat had an epic match against the eventual champs of the mixed B division (with the current Men’s World #12 from Switzerland). They ended up losing by only 5 points in their first-ever doubles match after a hard-fought win in squash and roaring ahead in tennis. The Swiss pair wound up winning all their remaining matches by 15 points or more. She also competed against some of the top 10 in her women’s divisions and even got to play against the current world champion from Denmark! She fought valiantly, showing dominance in table tennis and tennis. We are excited to see her grow into a Racketlon superstar.

Pat also teamed up with Shree, bringing their doubles power and perfect record across the ocean, and competing in the men’s B doubles division. Sadly, they suffered their first defeat and finished 2-2 after some tight battles. 

Coaches Corner – by Joanne Schickerling

Tennis: Backhand and Forehand Slice

For most tennis players we know the backhand slice and might use it occasionally, but often just see it as a defensive shot. As for the forehand slice we would never try it and see it as “ugly”. I’m here to tell you, both can be incredibly effective shots, especially to a player who comes from a squash background or struggles to hit topspin consistently.  If Federer uses it – I think we can and should! 

When and Why

  • Very effective for returning an aggressive serve
  • If having trouble being consistent with topspin
  • Use to change the spin and pace which can break a player’s rhythm
  • Effective on tall players who struggle to get low
  • Very effective defensive shot when need a greater reach or if ball is very low 
  • Great option for an approach shot
  • Helps create sharp angles
  • Very effective on a fast service such as grass or a slick, fast indoor court
  • Can be even tricker on a windy day outdoors
  • For squash players- using the slice will be more natural and players should use this to their advantage 
  • Use against players who struggle with backspin or have poor footwork

Some tips on How

  • Continental grip for both
  • Racket preparation is very important- get your racket up high.
  • Forehand slice- elbow bent and just below shoulder height
  • Backhand slice- get your hitting arm elbow to shoulder height
  • The cut comes from the high to low motion but don’t forget that you need to still hit through the ball.  If you cut down on it too much you won’t be able to hit it consistently.   
  • Strings only slightly open on point of contact.  A common mistake is having the strings too open at the contact point, causing the ball to float up very high and slow. Adjust by closing the angle of the racket face just at the point of contact.
  • Racket face will open on the follow through
  • As you get more confident you can add in hitting it with more of an inside out cut, similar to the boast in squash 
  • Be firm and hit it confidently

Slow motion Backhand Slice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDXKBSJTnvg

Using the Forehand slice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= ST1upo4RTEI

Different ways to use the slice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPAlZcYSAGo

Federer Squash shots: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2vQPHkAB-U

Top 10 Fed slices: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F7_4byKb5c

Stephi Graff Inside out slice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDUOxgZamVs

Even if it’s too cold to head outside and play tennis now, just by thinking when to hit them, watching videos and visualizing how you would hit them, will really help you for when you are able to get back on court!  

Celeb Sightings

Pat Moran was lucky enough to run into the #1 US Male Table Tennis player and two-time Olympian, Khanak Jha at PINGPOD in NYC! Check it out next time you are in the city and want a hit!

Partnership – Open Squash!

The Manhattan Community Squash Center is an official partner of USA Racketlon. Their mission is to make squash more accessible to the general public! With 5 state of the art courts + an amazing location in the heart of NYC, we highly recommend checking them out next time you want to play squash in the city. Who knows, you may run into some other Racketlon players while you are there! They have helped us introduce more racket athletes to squash through amazing training clinics for beginners and enabled us to conduct singles and team leagues for Racketlon in NYC! Thanks, Open Squash for all you do!

NYC Singles, Team League and Outdoor Tournament

Racketlon NYC League 1.0 is COMPLETE! Steven took down Julia to win division 3. Noel beat Rohan to claim division 2. Pat edged out Nik in their regular season encounter to win division 1.

Thank you to all those who competed and gave it a go! Nothing brings us more joy than uniting different communities with a shared love of racket sports! 250 total games were played, friendships were made, and a shared passion for racketlon was instilled!

Singles League – Division 2 Winner and Runner Up – Noel and Rohan. Team League Champs and Runner Up Teams. Arjun and Justin teamed up to win the outdoor Racketlon tournament.

After the success and excitement of the singles league, the NYC Racketlon team league kicked off in the summer with 4 teams of 6 going fighting for glory! Congrats to the Pumba-nators (Andy, Dustin, Matt, Hannah, and Pat) on bringing home the title after starting the season 0-3. They brought home the chip after a thrilling title match with the Racketeers (Shree, Flora, Paul, Joe, and Greg), winning by 8 overall! Code Ninjas ended up securing third place. Thanks to all those that took part! Can’t wait to see you at future leagues in the city! 

Battle of the Rackets Tournament Recap – August 2021

Elevate Fitness in Syracuse, NY, held another epic tournament coordinated by Justin D’Antonio. With 40 players out whacking, 19 first-timers, 3 days of live stream, some sick trophies, multiple matches decided by 1 point, and NO REPORTED COVID CASES, we would say the event was quite a success. The tournament spanned 3 days with battles in table tennis, pickleball, badminton, and tennis. 

The Men’s A-B doubles was the tightest round robin we have ever seen. 5 matches were decided by 6 points or less. The championship was awarded to Shree and Alex after they pulled off a huge comeback in tennis after being down 10-2 to Pat and Jon. On the Mixed side of things, Pat and Dominique held their nerve to secure their first title as a duo. 

In the Men’s A singles, Justin romped his way to the title. The battle for silver went down to the wire with Tim taking down Alex by a single point after some drama in tennis. In Women’s A singles, Dominique won all her matches and took her revenge against Shona after losing a tight final earlier this year. Flora ended up securing 4th place after a single point win vs. Bridget. Must have been all of that experience from Racketlon tournaments in Italy!

The tournament will be coming back for its 3rd installment on January 7-9th, 2022! 

Here are the finalists for each event:

Singles 

Men’s A – Justin D’Antonio (Winner), Tim Klee (Runner Up)

Women’s A – Dominique Canale (Winner), Shona Kerr (Runner Up)

Men’s B – Jimmy Terzian (Winner), Estate Kokosadze (Runner Up)

Men’s C – Luka Kokosadze (Winner), Ryan Korn (Runner Up)

Doubles 

Mixed A – Dominique Canale/Pat Moran (Winner), Andy Stenson/Shona Kerr (Runner Up)

B Doubles – Jimmy Terzian/Bridget Bender (Winner), Felipe Osorio/Christine Cha (Runner Up)

A-B Men’s Doubles – Shree Dhond/Alex McCarthy (Winner), Justin D’Antonio/Jimmy Terzian (Runner Up)

B Men’s Doubles – Brian Emigholz/Brian Manciocchi (Winner, Ben Bradley/Jackson Bradley (Runner Up)

Coed C Doubles – Felipe Osorio/Christine Cha (Winner), Dave Sobo/Alex Bakal (Runner Up)

Beginner Open Doubles – Chris Galle/Carter Galle (Winner), John Sheridan/Brayden Sheridan (Runner Up)

Find the full results here: Elevate Racket Champions Tournament Results

Tournament photos can be found here  

Upcoming Events 

La Santa Open > Canary Islands Dec 10-12, sign up if you want to enjoy some sunshine and racket sports!

Also, keep a look out for the 2022 World Tour – it should be posted to racketlon.net soon!

Player Spotlight

For this month’s spotlight we resurfaced our chat with Tatum Cuilian, a 2018 Team USA member. We are excited to share more about Tatum and how she started playing this awesome sport.

Born in China, Tatum was adopted and grew up in Massachusetts. She went to college in Connecticut but has since moved to Chicago, Illinois to continue her studies. Currently Tatum is getting a PhD in applied social psychology and does research on group relations with a focus on racial minorities. 

Similar to many Racketlon players in the US, Tatum has a strong background in two of the four sports. She grew up playing tennis. Her mom was a tennis pro at a local club growing up for about 18 years. In high school, Tatum picked up squash and went on to compete at the collegiate level for 4 years. Tatum competed on the Wesleyan Women’s Varsity squash team and hovered between the 4th and 9th spots on the team ladder.

Tatum started playing Racketlon after her squash coach, Shona Kerr, introduced her to the sport. As a prospective student at Wesleyan, Tatum noticed that Kerr taught a course on Racketlon and by senior year, she finally pulled the trigger.

In 2018, Tatum went to the World Championships in Zurich to compete for Team USA. This was her first, and only, tournament to date. Tatum reflected on the experience by sharing that the Championships were a really great experience and how fascinating it was to learn about everyone’s backgrounds with Racketlon.

One memorable experience Tatum shared from the Champs was her match with one of the French players that she ultimately went on to beat to help USA capture the win. “The French girl I played was a badminton specialist and bageled me – the funny part is, I enjoyed it. Then I beat her in squash 11-1 and later found out that she has only picked up a squash racket for the first time a couple days before the tournament. Before entering the tournament I was nervous about my lack of badminton and table tennis experience, but realized that everyone has their weaker sports (unless you’re insanely solid and steady like USA Team captain Pat Moran) and racketlon is still a young sport with a lot of room for growth.”

Newsletters – Going Quarterly

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