Category Archives: Featured

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Masterclass Mudge Wins Sixteenth Consecutive Johnson Memorial

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(l-r) Mike Ferreira, Yvain Badan, Damien Mudge, Manek Mathur

Damien Mudge continued his unprecedented David C. Johnson Memorial record title run with an incredible sixteenth consecutive title—and first with Manek Mathur—this weekend at the Heights Casino in Brooklyn.

In a full sixteen-team draw, Mathur, the world No. 1, and Mudge, world No 2, pulled off a perfect title run with four, three-game victories to claim the iconic bottles of Moet & Chondon champagne.

While Mudge & Mathur stole the headlines, the secondary story of the tournament came in the form of world No. 29 Bobby Burns & world No. 35 James Bamber, whose tournament began on Tuesday in the first of two rounds of qualifying.

After reaching the main draw via a difficult qualifying final against James Stout & Whitten Morris, Burns & Bamber won a five-game first round match against Raj Nanda & Hamed Anvari, before a major upset against three seeds John Russell & Viktor Berg. Two seeds Mike Ferreira & Yvain Badan, who narrowly escaped a quarterfinal upset against Imran Khan & Greg Park winning 15-14 in the fifth, eventually ended the young team’s run in a three-game semifinal.

Mudge & Mathur steadily progressed throughout the draw including a quarterfinal against first-time partners Bernardo Samper & Clive Leach and four seeds Jonny Smith & Chris Callis in the semifinals.

The top seeds continued their momentum in the final to win 15-12, 15-8, 15-14.

“It was a pretty strong performance going through the strength and depth of a tourney like that without dropping a game,” Mudge said. ” Number sixteen is pretty crazy to wrap my head around. Hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

Mudge’s record streak spans four partners: Gary Waite (2002-2007), Viktor Berg (2008-2010 and 2016), Gould (2011-15) and now Mathur. Waite comes in as the second all-time title holder with ten since the tournament’s inception in 1938.

“The Johnson has always been such a special event with so much history and a lot of familiar faces in the crowds,” Mudge added. “I just feel privileged to be a part of it. Will Bunn, Emily Lungstrum, Christian, the manager of the Heights, all did a spectacular job from start to finish. Thanks to everyone involved.”

“The tournament was an all round success for us,” Mathur said. “We went in playing well and our performance got better and better as we spent more time out there together. We had some tough matches, but managed to find ways to stay in front and keep the pressure on our opponents.”

Since their season-opening final loss against Ferreira & Badan at the Maryland Club in September, Mathur & Mudge have been undefeated on the season and won all six tournaments they have played in.

“The Heights is one of the most historic and prestigious events on tour,” Mathur added. “The community it has created is second to none and you just get embraced into it. Will Bunn did a tremendous job in organizing the event with the help of Bobby Burns. The guys in the pro-am were extremely excited and enthusiastic to be out there, which makes it fun for us to play in that draw as well.”

With National Doubles slated for this weekend, the tour will have a month off before heading to Philadelphia where Mathur & Mudge will lead the $25,000 Graham Company Cup draw, March 24-26.

“We have another month until our next event so between resting and fixing the bodies to preparing for the next event, we will be pretty busy,” Mathur said. “Looking forward to getting back out there!”


Jenson & Arnold Claim Largest SDA Title in Baltimore


Australian’s Matt Jenson & Scott Arnold won their biggest career SDA titles and first as partners this weekend—the SDA Gold Baltimore Cup at the Baltimore Country Club.

Jenson, world No. 9, & Arnold, world No. 8, defeated the top two seeds on their way to the title in what were their biggest upsets on tour to date.

The partnership’s debut season has already included four major semifinal runs at the North American Open, Jim Bentley Cup, PDC Cup and St. Louis Open. World No. 1 Manek Mathur & world No. 2 Damien Mudge ended three of those runs, and world No. 3 Yvain Badan & world No. 4 Mike Ferreira defeated Jenson & Arnold in Atlanta.

In their first match up since the PDC Cup defeat, Jenson & Arnold took out Ferreira & Badan in three games, 15-13, 15-12, 15-12, to shake up the draw.

In the bottom half of the draw, two seeds Jonny Smith & Chris Callis progressed to the final without dropping a game, including against Graham Bassett & Fred Reid, who marked their second major semifinal appearance of the season in addition to the Bentley.

A close final saw Jenson & Arnold recover from losing the first game to take the title in four, 8-15, 15-11, 15-10, 15-13.

“I feel like Scott and I played the way we have always thought we could. It just all came together this weekend,” Jenson said. “Obviously, both of those teams are extremely talented which probably increased our motivation to test ourselves.”

Jenson has been pleased with the way the partnership has developed in their first season together.

“It’s been great playing with Scott,” Jenson added. “He is an immense talent. Like any team sport it takes some time to develop the right/best chemistry. I think this weekend showed what we are capable of doing and it was great to finally put it together.”

The Baltimore Cup title is Jenson’s first since the 2015 Hashim Khan, and Arnold’s first since the 2016 Ridley Windows and Doors Cricket Club Open.

“It’s tough winning any event,” Jenson said. “The opportunities don’t always come your way so you have to take your chances when they come. I was just really impressed with Scott and his ball striking and shot selection. The Baltimore Cup comprises a membership that are knowledgeable about the game. Glad we got our first win together.”

View more images on the SDA Smugmug gallery.

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Chaudhry Signs Off for the Season With Second Pittsburgh Title

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l-r: Jim Shields, Jonny Smith, Baset Chaudhry, Greg Park, Raj Nanda

World No. 16 Baset Chaudhry signed off his 2016-2017 SDA Pro tour campaign with his third title of the season, and second title at the $15,000  Pittsburgh Golf Club Challenger with first-time partner Jonny Smith.

The Trinity graduates entered the main draw seeded second, and pulled off a perfect tournament without dropping a game, including a three-game victory against top seeds Raj Nanda & Greg Park in the final.

Chaudhry praised his first-time partner and world No. 10, Smith, for a strong performance over the weekend.

“This was our first SDA tournament together, I was finally able to persuade Jonny to partner up with me,” Chaudhry said of his partner, Smith.  “I think the key over the weekend was that we kept our intensity up through every single point. We wanted to play aggressive steady squash and I think we were able to execute that quite nicely. Like any other sport, doubles squash is all about momentum and confidence. Our plan was to get to a solid start right from the beginning of the tournament and carry it through till the end of the weekend, and luckily we were able to achieve that.”

Pittsburgh marks Chaudhry’s final tournament of the season before the thirty-one-year-old returns to his native Pakistan, but revealed his desire to represent his home country in the recently-announced 2017 World Doubles this September in St. Louis.

“This was my last SDA tournament for the season,” Chaudhry said. “As many of you know, I’m heading back to Pakistan for a few months for personal reasons, but I will be back in the summer and would definitely like to compete in the world open later this year. We don’t have hardball there so will have to figure out a way to stay sharp. It’s remarkable to see the tour grow over the past few years. The addition of new events and live streaming has been very refreshing and I believe with continued support of the patrons, sponsors and the squash community, it will only get better.”

“It was great to play with Baset and even sweeter to win in his last tournament before he heads back to Pakistan, he will be missed in the U.S. SQUASH circles,” Smith said.

Chaudhry won his first Pittsburgh title in 2014 with Nanda, and adds Pittsburgh to his Missouri Athletic Club Open and Long Island Open titles this season.

“Pittsburgh has been really kind to me for sure,” Chaudhry said. “This was my second time here and both times I have been lucky enough to clinch the title. I guess I just need to keep coming back each year.”

“The Pittsburgh doubles community was very hospitable,” Chaudhry said of the hosts. “A lot of the members had offered their residences to the players and made sure we were well taken care of, so can’t thank them enough for their support. The crowd was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable, which makes it even more fun for the players. Thanks again to Jim Shields for running such an amazing event.”

The 2015 Men's World Doubles Final. L-R: Clive Leach, Ben Gould, John Russell, Damien Mudge.

St. Louis To Host 2017 World Hardball Doubles Championships

The 2015 men’s world doubles final between England’s John Russell & Clive Leach and Australia’s Damien Mudge & Ben Gould.

Report courtesy of WSF.

The 2017 WSF World Hardball Squash Doubles Championships will be staged in St. Louis, Missouri, September 21-24.

The 12th edition of the championships, featuring Men’s, Women’s and Mixed events and organized by the Squash Doubles Association (SDA) and Women’s Squash Doubles Association (WSDA) Pro Tours under the auspices of the World Squash Federation, will take place at the Racquet Club of St Louis and Missouri Athletic Club.

England’s John Russell & Clive Leach are expected to defend the Men’s title they won in 2015. It was also an English pair, Suzie Pierrepont & Carrie Hastings, who claimed the Women’s title in the same championships, while Canadians Viktor Berg & Stephanie Hewitt are the defending Mixed champions.

“The SDA is very excited to be working with the World Squash Federation, the Racquet Club of St. Louis, the Missouri Athletic Club and the WSDA to bring the World Hardball Doubles Squash Championship to the United States in September of this year,” said SDA Board Chair Kevin Luzak. “The event will be the highlight of the 2017-18 calendar with the largest draws and one of the largest purses of the season for both the SDA and WSDA tours. The St. Louis team is already gearing up for what will undoubtedly be a blockbuster event at a fantastic venue.”

Michael Puertas, Head Squash Professional of the Racquet Club of St. Louis, commented: “St. Louis has a rich history of promoting squash in the U.S., having hosted the U.S. National Championships in 1950, 1960, 1968, 1977, 1985, 1992, 2000, 2006 and 2013. We are well prepared and proud to play host to the 2017 World Doubles Squash Championship.”

Adam Bews, Head Squash Professional at Missouri Athletic Club, added: “We are delighted to welcome the World Championship Doubles to St Louis. The Missouri Athletic Club and Racquet Club of St. Louis members have been hugely supportive of squash and doubles every year and we are so happy to be able to host this for them at their home clubs. St Louis has become one of the most popular destinations for the Doubles tour and we cannot wait to have all of the Pro’s back in September.”

The prize fund is more than $70,000—with parity offered in the men’s and women’s draws.

The matches will be streamed live on the tournament website


Mathur & Mudge Storm to Fifth SDA Title of the Season in Greenwich


As a nor’easter swept through the Connecticut coast Monday night, so too did the Manek Mathur & Damien Mudge storm system as they earned their fifth SDA title of the season—the SDA Platinum Chilton Investments North American Open at the Field Club of Greenwich, Greenwich Country Club and Round Hill Club.

Mathur, world No. 1, & Mudge, world No. 3, have now won five consecutive titles this season with only one loss together in the final of September’s Maryland Club Open. Mudge, the all-time NAO title holder, augments his record with his fourteenth, while Mathur marks his second consecutive title.

The Mathur & Mudge storm gathered strength after the first two rounds that saw the top seeds drop the first games 15-14 in both the round of sixteen and quarterfinals against qualifiers. In their opener, Mathur & Mudge came back against Cornell alum William Hartigan and former PSA player Clinton Leeuw to reach the quarterfinals. In what was one of just two main draw upsets, qualifiers James Bamber & Robert Burns took out Imran Khan & Greg Park in five games to set up an encounter with the top seeds. In the quarters, the qualifiers nipped the first game 15-14, but Mathur & Mudge recovered to advance to the semifinals in four.

The other major main draw upset came in the bottom half of the draw where Raj Nanda & Clive Leach knocked out two seeds Mike Ferreira & Yvain Badan 15-13 in the fifth to reach the semifinals against three seeds John Russell & Viktor Berg, who also endured a five-game quarterfinal against last weekend’s MAC champions Bernardo Samper & Baset Chaudhry. The ensuing semifinal appropriately went the distance with Russell & Berg clinching a spot in the final 15-11 in the fifth.

After the first two rounds, Mathur & Mudge steadied the ship to produce two dominant three-game victories in both the semifinals against four seeds Matt Jenson & Scott Arnold and in the final against Russell & Berg, 15-3, 15-9, 15-8.

“We definitely started off a little rusty, but all credit to those guys for coming out hot and hungry to play,” Mathur said. “Hartigan & Leeuw are great squash players and even better athletes. They did a good job about playing the long points well and keeping the pressure high. Burns & Bamber were feeling good from their win the previous day and came into the match extremely confident hitting the ball and angles well.”

“The first couple of rounds we started off a little slow and those teams played well,” Mudge added. “When the semifinals hit we were very focused and determined to play well.”

As they did in Boston just two weeks ago, Mudge augments his NAO title record with his fourteenth, while Mathur marks his second consecutive title.

“Having fourteen NAO titles is very special and to win with Manek feels amazing,” Mudge said of his record. “I can’t quite wrap my mind around it. I guess it shows how long I’ve been on tour. The NAO is a very special event. I feel lucky just to be involved with the tournament given the history that is associated with it. It’s one of my favorite events of the year.”

The NAO dates back to 1931 with Mudge’s record spanning seventeen years, 2000-2017, and four partners: seven with Gary Waite, two with Viktor Berg, four with Ben Gould and one with Mathur.

“The NAO is a very special event and arguably one of the most prestigious titles to win.,” Mathur said. “I am humbled to have my name on that trophy twice with two different partners and be part of the events rich history. Steve, Liam and Rod did a tremendous job with the organization of the event and taking extremely good care of the pros.”

“The Greenwich/Rye community is where doubles began for me and to win a title at the FCG where my journey began was amazing,” Mathur added. “It’s a first class new facility and I am excited to see that program grow to new heights. I would also like to thank all the patrons, sponsors and pro-am players for making this event a success. Without the support of Lexington Partners, Chilton, Harrow etc. this event would not be possible.”

Mathur & Mudge will sit out the Baltimore Cup before aiming for a sixth title of the season next month in Brooklyn at the David C. Johnson Memorial.

Watch North American Open replays below: