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Second SDA Combine Primes Two Dozen Prospects

The second SDA Pro Tour Combine drew two dozen prospects to the doubles courts on Sunday, June 3, at Apawamis in Rye, New York.

The combine aims to expose experienced singles players to professional-level hardball doubles in hopes of attracting competitors to the SDA Pro Tour.

The twenty-four players included current and recent college graduates, current and former PSA players and teaching professionals. The coaching staff consisted of world No. 1 Manek Mathur, Commonwealth Games gold medalist Zac Alexander, veterans Steve Scharff and Travis Judson, and SDA Tour Director Graham Bassett.

“Having twenty-four young doubles players make the trip to Rye from locales ranging from Toronto to South Carolina was really a neat thing to experience,” Scharff said. “All the participants showed a passion and enthusiasm for doubles that made the day fly by. While everyone had a strong squash background, the amount of doubles that each player had experienced varied. Everyone took advantage of having the coaches there and you could see remarkable improvement in the strategies and tactics being utilized by the end of the day.”

The players were divided into four teams consisting of three pairs with a coach leading each team. At the end of the day, the Grey team topped the standings thanks to Chris Fernandez & Alexander Ma, Ryan Mullaney & Greg Crane and Dane Sharp & Freddy Hernandez, each earning SDA rankings points as a result.

“I took a lot away from the combine, it was great to be able to get coaching in between games and matches from some very good and established doubles players,” said Fernandez, a recent graduate of St. Lawrence. “They definitely see the game from a completely different perspective and to have them share their knowledge and wisdom with us was something I don’t take from granted. I will definitely look Into playing more events next year.”

The top two teams with the best records, Tim Lasusa & Elroy Leong and Fernandez & Ma, also received bonus rankings points for the best games won record.

“The main take away for me from the combine for me was just having the opportunity to meet other great doubles players who are also interested in joining the tour,” said Ma, a recent graduate of Harvard. “Getting on court with such high-quality players, combined with the advice of the coaches, really helped me understand the areas where I need to improve my game in order to win matches on the doubles tour. It was a great experience that will me develop further as a player and more importantly, expand my network in the doubles scene.”

In addition to exposure to elite coaching, the participants were provided with the full network of SDA professionals in hopes of securing future partnerships.

Overall it was a very inspiring day and I will definitely be playing some more events this coming season as a result,” said Tim Lasusa, a recent St. Lawrence graduate and PSA player. “Hopefully we can get more young guys playing after they graduate. It’s an amazing game and it’s a great time to join. Eventually the top guys are going to retire and it’s up to us to step up and create a great product.”

Watch match replays below. View images in the SDA SmugMug gallery.

June 2018 Rankings

1-Jun Name Country Tournaments Average 1-May
1 Damien Mudge Australia 7 4387.500 1
1 Manek Mathur India 7 4387.500 1
3 Scott Arnold Australia 7 3420.000 3
4 John Russell England 5 3020.000 4
5 Yvain Badan Switzerland 9 2968.750 5
6 Mike Ferreira England 9 2750.000 6
7 Chris Callis USA 7 2432.500 7
8 Jonny Smith England 7 2370.000 8
9 Bernardo Samper Colombia 8 2327.083 9
10 Clive Leach England 11 2108.929 10
11 James Stout Bermuda 5 1847.500 28
12 Greg Park USA 9 1754.167 11
13 Greg McArthur Scotland 4 1685.000 36
14 Raj Nanda Australia 8 1658.333 13
15 Adam Bews Scotland 9 1633.333 14
16 Will Mariani Canada 7 1630.000 12
17 James Bamber England 7 1546.250 15
18 Thomas Brinkman Canada 4 1430.000 16
19 Viktor Berg Canada 4 1365.000 17
20 Omar El Kashef Egypt 9 1342.708 25


Complete Ranking List

Stout & McArthur Finish SDA Season With a Flourish in Buffalo

(l-r) Greg McArthur, Scott Arnold, James Stout, John Russell

One month after their triumph at the R&T Challenger, James Stout & Greg McArthur closed out the 2017-2018 SDA season with a flourish, by claiming their first SDA Gold title at the second Buffalo Pro Doubles at the Buffalo Club in New York.

Stout & McArthur’s only lost game of the tournament came in the first round against Canadians Tyler Hamilton & Robert Nigro, who were dispatched in four games. The R&T Challenger champs then upset four seeds Adam Bews & Zac Alexander in a decisive three-game quarterfinal. Elsewhere in the draw’s bottom half, Bobby Burns & Omar El Kashef knocked out two seeds Fred Reid & Clive Leach in four games to reach their first career SDA Gold semifinal together. Stout & McArthur ended Burns & El Kashef’s surprise run in the semis to reach their second consecutive final.

In the top half of the draw, both seeds advanced to the semifinals where defending champions and top seeds John Russell & Scott Arnold held off Will Mariani & Thomas Brinkman in four games.

The final proved to be a one-sided affair as Stout McArthur dethroned Russell & Arnold 15-8, 15-7, 15-6.

“We were playing well heading into the tournament, having won the R&T Challenger, but knew there would be stiffer competition with Russell and Arnold looking to defend their title, and four or five other strong pairs playing,” Stout said. “Greg and I played well on the court and felt confident that we could slow down the pace of the game with high lobs and soft shots to the front of the court, whilst also taking the ball early and injecting pace when necessary.”

Stout & McArthur first made a statement this season by reaching the semifinals of the David C. Johnson Memorial, which they followed up with another strong performance in New York City by winning the R&T Challenger–their first title together in five years.

The Buffalo Pro Doubles was just the fourth SDA appearance of the season for the Stout & McArthur partnership with both players juggling other responsibilities outside of the tour. Stout is also a full-time Rackets professional, while McArthur is a professional at Sleepy Hollow.

(l-r): Bill Cleary, Scott Arnold, John Russell, James Stout, Greg McArthur, Tom Hayes

“It’s exciting to win our first SDA Gold event,” McArthur said. “It definitely felt like we were continuing our momentum from the previous two events and did well to execute our game plan again this weekend. It’s been tough for James and I to regularly play on the tour over recent seasons, and to be honest I wasn’t sure of playing many SDA events in the future, but these last three tournaments have really given us a confidence boost and proven that we can compete with and beat the top teams. Hopefully we can continue to improve next season.”

“It feels great closing out the season with a win in Buffalo, especially with it being an SDA Gold event,” Stout said. “The 2017-2018 season was really positive for Greg and I, as we played well in all the tournaments and managed to win the last couple of events as a bonus. We hope to keep moving forward next season.”

2018 marked just the second edition of the Buffalo Pro Doubles, which was initially held as an SDA Silver event last season.

“This was my first time playing in Buffalo and I was impressed by how well run it was,” McArthur said. “Credit to the organizers for raising even more prize money to make it a gold event this season. All of the pros appreciated the hospitality and it was great to see such a knowledgeable and passionate doubles membership. I’m looking forward to coming back next year to defend our title.”

With the Buffalo Pro Doubles, the 2017-2018 SDA season comes to a close. Next moth, the third annual SDA combine will introduce new prospects to the game on June 2 at the Apawamis Club in Rye, New York.

Watch live stream replays below. View images in the SDA Smugmug gallery.

May 2018 Rankings

1-May Name Country Tournaments Average 1-Apr
1 Damien Mudge Australia 7 4387.500 1
1 Manek Mathur India 7 4387.500 1
3 Scott Arnold Australia 7 3422.500 3
4 John Russell England 5 3022.500 4
5 Yvain Badan Switzerland 9 2968.750 5
6 Mike Ferreira England 9 2750.000 7
7 Chris Callis USA 7 2432.500 6
8 Jonny Smith England 7 2370.000 8
9 Bernardo Samper Colombia 9 2327.083 9
10 Clive Leach England 11 2108.929 10
11 Greg Park USA 10 1685.714 12
12 Will Mariani Canada 7 1680.000 14
13 Raj Nanda Australia 9 1658.333 11
14 Adam Bews Scotland 8 1633.333 13
15 James Bamber England 7 1546.250 16
16 Thomas Brinkman Canada 4 1480.000 17
17 Viktor Berg Canada 4 1365.000 15
18 Freddie Reid Canada 7 1331.875 19
19 Clinton Leeuw South Africa 11 1265.179 22
20 Zac Alexander Australia 6 1251.875 24


Complete Ranking List

Stout & McArthur Win First Title Together in Five Years at R&T

(l-r) Manek Mathur, Jordan Greenberg, Jacques Swanepoel, James Stout, Greg McArthur, Liam Culman

Five years and one month after capturing the 2013 Graham Company Challenger title, James Stout & Greg McArthur have won their second SDA Tour Challenger event together—the Racquet & Tennis Club Challenger in New York City.

Stout & McArthur entered the eight-team main draw as the two seeds, while Fred Reid & Clive Leach opposed them as the top seeds.

The first round saw three of the four top seeds advance to the final, not including top seeds Reid & Leach who crashed out 15-12 in the fifth at the hands of Travis Judson & Ned Marks.

In the semis, Stout & McArthur dispatched U.S. doubles champions Alex Stait & Ed Garno in three games, while four seeds Jacques Swanepoel & Jordan Greenberg reached their first final of the season—also in three games—against Judson & Marks.

In the final, Stout & McArthur pulled ahead in the first two games 15-8, 15-10, but Swanepoel & Greenberg pulled one back in the third 15-10. Stout & McArthur regained control in the fourth to clinch the title 15-8.

“The spirit in which the final was played was really great,” McArthur said. “Jacques and Jordan are good friends of ours. Kudos to those guys for being good competitors and good sports. It was a competitive match, but we all had a great time out there. I think the spectators saw that and appreciated it.”

“We played well all weekend and knew if we could do that, we would be in with a chance of winning the event,” Stout said. “It feels great to have won the tournament and means even more being able to do it with Greg, at the Racquet Club, my home club. Can’t believe it has been five years since we won the Graham Company tournament. Hopefully it won’t be another five years before our next win.”

Stout, who also doubles as a full-time Rackets professional, and McArthur, a pro at Sleepy Hollow, normally only play a handful of SDA events throughout the season due to schedule constraints. The R&T Challenger was just their third event of the season, but not their only successful one.

“This season James and I have played a few tournaments together, and it’s been a relatively good run,” McArthur said.” We had a really good run in Brooklyn reaching the semis, and this felt like we were continuing that momentum. It’s nice to win again, I didn’t realize it’s been five years since our last win. We just haven’t played that many tournaments together in that time. James is such a great partner. He’s such a great athlete, he has great hands. He’s also an easy going guy, which makes him fun to play with. It’s always nice to get a win with someone you consider to be one of your best friends.”

The 2018 R&T Challenger was just the third iteration of the biennial event, which is helmed by R&T head pro and SDA world No. 1 Manek Mathur and R&T’s Liam Culman.

“It’s such a fantastic venue,” McArthur said. “Arguably, they have the most visually-stunning doubles court out there. With the sky lights and everything, it’s a beautiful place to play. A big thank you to Manek Mathur and his pro staff for the job they did running the tournament. It’s never an easy ask, and we really appreciate the work they have to put in to make the event happen. It’s just a fun place to play. The membership is a really knowledgeable group so it’s fun to play in front of them.”

“I personally really enjoyed the event, but that is because it is my home club and I know everyone involved, including all of the pro-am players,” Stout said.

The SDA season moves on to its penultimate event this weekend, the Tavern Club Invitational in Cleveland, April 26-28.

Watch live stream replays below.