The 2017 Chilton Investments North American Open and Harrow Greenwich Invitational singles are streaming live from the Field Club of Greenwich, Greenwich Country Club and Round Hill Club this weekend in Connecticut.
The SDA Platinum NAO doubles, dating back to 1931, features a full draw of sixteen teams, including four qualifying draws that will play out Thursday evening and Friday morning. The main draw matches will be the first to stream live Friday afternoon.
Recent MFS Pro-Am Boston champions Manek Mathur & Damien Mudge lead the main draw as the top seeds and are predicted to face Australian four seeds Matt Jenson & Scott Arnold in the semifinals. Mathur is slated for a showdown against his 2016 title-winning partner Yvain Badan in the final, who enters the draw as the two seed with fellow Trinity Bantam Mike Ferreira.
For the third year, the Harrow Greenwich Invitational singles men’s and women’s invitationals will be contested alongside the NAO doubles with select matches streaming live.
Tournament proceeds and donations support the North American Open/Greenwich Invitational Scholarship Fund in partnership with US SQUASH, which provides financial assistance to participants in urban squash programs, as they elect to attend private secondary schools or college. To donate, visit the NAO/GO Fund page.
The SDA community is rallying to support SDA veteran Shaun Johnstone, who revealed a recent diagnosis of Pancreatic cancer.
Johnstone, thirty-two years old, is based in Locust Valley, New York, and is a teaching professional at the Piping Rock Country Club.
The Zimbabwean international played No. 1 at Trinity College and has competed on the SDA tour since 2012 and the ISDA tour before the inception of the SDA.
Johnstone is seeking one to one donations to offset medical costs on his fundraising page.
Read a statement from Johnstone below:
Thank you very much for visiting my fundraising page and considering helping me win my fight against pancreatic cancer. All donations are tax deductible with donations going directly to pay for medical and treatment-related expenses.
As many of you know, I was born and raised in Zimbabwe but came to the United States to attend college. I graduated from Trinity College in 2008 with a degree in psychology and where I helped lead the squash team to four straight National Championships! Since graduation, I have been coaching squash at a private club on Long Island, NY. I’ve been blessed to have the experiences I have had and I am thankful for the incredible group of friends I have developed around the world!
This past month, December 2016, I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer which had spread to my liver. Surprisingly, I had no symptoms at all before being diagnosed. The cancer was actually found during a routine physical. I have subsequently been poked and prodded more times than I care to think about and I am receiving incredible care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City (I have also consulted with Dana-Farber in Boston). I have two of the best pancreatic specialist in the country treating me!
Pancreatic cancer is extremely rare in people my age and I don’t have any of the typical risk factors associated with the disease. Other than the cancer, I am young, fit and extremely healthy so I am very hopeful that I will be able to beat this disease!
I am ready to fight this unfortunate battle and I have a great team of family and friends standing beside me. My specific type of pancreatic cancer (neuroendocrine) is the less aggressive form and has better outcomes. Importantly, cancer research continues to move forward at an incredible pace and there is hope that we are getting close to a cure. There seem to be more treatments and advances unveiled every day!
The bad news is that pancreatic cancer is an aggressive cancer with no currently known cure. Cancer is also ridiculously expensive to treat and I will need help to pay for expenses associated with the treatment. These include: co-pays, medications, transportation and other related expenses. I’m not one to ask for help, but I won’t be able to do this on my own – any amount makes a huge difference!
I cannot say thank you enough for helping me get through this difficult journey. With the generous support of my friends and family, I look forward to a day when I can report that I am cancer free.
Trinity graduates Bernardo Samper & Baset Chaudhry won their partnership’s first SDA title this weekend in their fourth tournament of the season together—the $20,000 Missouri Athletic Club Open.
Samper & Chaudhry entered the draw seeded second, with MAC pro Adam Bews & world No. 7 Matt Jenson leading the draw as the top seeds. The top two seeds both reached the final courtesy of two, three-game victories in the quarterfinals and semifinals. The only major upset in the main draw came in the form of Ned Marks & Aaron Luque taking out four seeds Graham Bassett & Fred Reid in the first round.
In close final, the St. Louis crowd saw local hero Bews & Jenson fall in four games, 15-14, 15-10, 11-15, 15-14.
The title marks Samper’s first SDA title and Chaudhry’s third and largest. Samper, a Colombian international, revealed there were multiple forms of motivation for the partnership entering the tournament.
“I think Baset and I understand each other well on court, and our games compensate each other,” Samper said. “Since we first partnered up, we both wanted to win an SDA event together. He is going back to Pakistan next month, so our goal was to win this tournament. It meant a lot for us for two reason, first to win a bronze level SDA event and second it was Baset’s birthday last weekend so there were a few things in play.”
“I believe Bernie and I gel really well together and also compliment each other’s game,” Chaudhry said. “I try to create openings with my pace and Berny is more of the shot-maker. This strategy has worked out quite well for us so far this season. Having said that, we both were itching to clinch a title, so really relieved to finally get that out of the way, especially since I’m moving to Pakistan for a few months and won’t be able to participate in the SDA events after January this season.”
Samper said the home crowd didn’t faze the champions in the final.
“Adam is improving a lot and played amazing in the final,” Samper said. “Having the crowd on your side can be good and bad. Good because you have the all the support and bad because you have a lot of pressure to perform. However, Adam definitely didn’t feel the pressure and played amazing. I have to say that is was a very respectful crowd and I am looking forward to be back next year. I would also like to mention the amazing job Adam is doing at the club and organizing this event.”
“This the best I have seen Adam Bews play,” Chaudhry added. “We thought we would be able to break him down but he hung in strong so we really had to make it long and hard and wait for the openings. He did an amazing job both organizing and competing in the tourney which is not easy since there are so many moving pieces, so kudos to him.”
Samper & Chaudhry are set to compete in the Chilton Investments North American Open this weekend.
“The MAC was incredible,” Samper said of the hosts. “It was my first time and people could have not been nicer, from the staff to the membership. I would like to thank the sponsors of the event because without them the event would not be possible.”
Damien Mudge augmented his MFS Pro-Am Boston title record with his tenth, and first with world No. 1 Manek Mathur this weekend at the University Club of Boston.
The Australian lost in the 2016 final with former partner Viktor Berg against Mathur & Yvain Badan, and entered the 2017 edition as the top seed with his new left-wall partner, Mathur, with three titles under their belt already in their first season together.
Despite more than a month off since the tour’s last event in Toronto, the top seeds picked up where they left by winning their fourth title, dropping just one game along the way in the semifinals against four seeds John Russell & Berg.
Two seeds Mike Ferreira & Badan held off a four-game quarterfinal challenge against Imran Khan & Greg Park, before brushing off Mariani & Brinkman in a three-game semifinal. The final was all Mathur & Mudge, however, who commanded the final to win 15-13, 15-4, 15-7.
The 2017 Boston title is also Mudge’s first on the right wall since his final title with Waite in 2005. Mudge & Waite also won in 2002 and 2003.
Mudge revealed that he underwent minor knee surgery during the tour’s brief hiatus.
“It was difficult to come back after a while off for sure,” Mudge said. “I had knee surgery on November 22 right after the Cambridge, so it was a quick turn around and was very happy that the knee held up for the weekend.”
The world No. 3 and longtime world No. 1 said the partnership with Mathur continues to develop and improve with each tournament as the tour approaches two busy months in January and February.
“It was important to have a good showing and have that momentum hopefully carry us through the next couple of months,” Mudge said. “It gives us a lot to build on. Myself and Manek’s partnership is getting better and better. Our understanding of what each of us do and adjust to situations happening on court are becoming more instinctual. It’s a pleasure being on court with him.”
“Our performance Sunday was pretty solid and both Damien and I have had our fair share of adversity leading up to this event,” Mathur said. “To find a way to come our strong was important for us and I am glad we managed to do so.”
The 2017 edition of the tournament enjoyed new title sponsorship support from MFS Financial.
“Big thanks to Amrit Kanwal on taking on the new sponsorship and supporting the SDA,” Mathur said. “He’s such a great supporter of our sport and I speak on behalf of the community that we’re lucky to have him involved in squash.”
“Boston is a special place for me—I have built many relationships here over the years and spent a bunch of time up at the University Club,” Mathur added. “To have my name on that title twice now with two different partners is humbling and I’m extremely happy about it. Another big thank you to Lenny, Tom Poor, Chris Spahr and the entire tournament committee for running a first class event.”
The tour resumes next weekend in Missouri with the $20,000 Missouri Athletic Club Open.