Tag Archives: featured

1403697_472343712878170_1621361823_o

SDA Pro Tour Shaken by Johnstone Cancer Diagnosis

1403697_472343712878170_1621361823_o
Johnstone (l) in the Big Apple Open.

The SDA community is rallying to support SDA veteran Shaun Johnstone, who revealed a recent diagnosis of Pancreatic cancer.

13613126_977685857640_5176288931148488299_oJohnstone, 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:

Hello Everyone,

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.

Thank you,

Shaun

SDA MAC edit

Chaudhry & Samper Win Partnership’s Maiden SDA Title in Missouri

SDA MAC edit
l-r: Baset Chaudhry, Adam Bews, Bernardo Samper, Matt Jenson.

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.”

View images from the tournament on the SDA smugmug.

Watch replays of the live stream below and on the SDA Youtube channel.

sda-boston-crop

Mudge Augments Boston Title Record; Mathur Marks Second Consecutive Title

sda-boston-crop l-r: Damien Mudge, Manek Mathur, Lenny Bernheimer, Amrit Kanwal, Yvain Badan, Mike Ferreira

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.

The bottom half of the draw included surprise semifinalists Will Mariani & Thomas Brinkman. The Canadian duo upset Baset Chaudhry & Clive Leach in a four-game, first-round match, and then took out Australian three seeds Matt Jenson & Scott Arnold in three games to reach their first major semifinal where their run ended.

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.

View MFS Pro-Am Boston images in the tournament gallery.

Watch live stream replays below.

bentley-trophy

Mathur & Mudge Close Out the Fall With Third Title in Toronto

bentley-trophy
l-r: Jamie Bentley, Manek Mathur, Damien Mudge, John Bentley, Dean Brown, Yvain Badan, Michael Ferreira

World No. 1 Damien Mudge and world No. 2 Manek Mathur ended the first half of the SDA season with a third title in four events this fall, holding off recent PDC Cup champions Mike Ferreira & Yvain Badan in the Jim Bentley Cup final at the Cambridge Club in Toronto, Canada.

The 2016 edition of the Bentley offered increased prize money of $30,000, which made this year’s Jim Bentley Cup the only sanctioned gold level event on tour with an eight-team draw.

The main draw saw one major first-round upset in the form of American-Canadian partnership Graham Bassett & Fred Reid, who knocked out all-Canadian three seeds Robin Clarke & Viktor Berg 12-15, 15-12, 15-11, 15-8 to reach the partnership’s first semifinal. One week after winning the Platinum PDC Cup in Atlanta, two seeds Mike Ferreira & Yvain Badan survived a first-round scare against Jonny Smith & Raj Nanda, coming back from 2-1 down in games to squeak out the match at 14-all in the fifth game. Bassett & Reid pushed the two seeds in a close semifinal, but Ferreira & Badan held on to reach their fourth final of the season 15-14, 9-15, 15-11, 15-12.

The eventual champions reached the final dropping just one game in the semifinals against Aussies Matt Jenson & Scott Arnold, and continued their momentum into the final, taking the title in a clean sweep of the two seeds 15-13, 15-6, 15-7.

“The final was the best I’ve seen Damien play, it was really impressive,” Mathur said of his partner. “It was like watching eighteen-year-old Damien Mudge absolutely demolishing the ball. He was controlling the court and the angles really well. He seemed to suck the play towards him and then he absolutely controlled the match. It was great to watch and amazing to experience with him on my side for sure. He was hitting such good angles so much that they had to defend even more and couldn’t react and execute their game plan.”

Both sides of the new partnership are pleased with their start to the season with the month of December off and the tour resuming with full ranking events in January with the MFS Pro-Am in Boston.

It’s a great start for us, it’s an honor to have my name on all of these trophies, especially this weekend at the Camridge Club, the event has so much history,” Mathur said. “When you first walk into the club, the Cup is the first thing you see and then you walk further inside and you see the board with so many great names of the game on it. It’s a great feeling and one of those events I wanted to win since I first started playing. You couldn’t ask for a better start of the season and hopefully we can continue this momentum into the second half of the year and finish the season strong.”

While Mathur celebrates his maiden Jim Bentley Cup title, the 2016 title marks Mudge’s sixth since 1999 with this fourth partner, and third consecutive since winning in 2014 and 2015 with Ben Gould.

“It’s a very good way to finish 2016 off on a note like winning the Cambridge Club event,” Mudge said. “It’s a very special event with a lot of history associated with it and great guys behind it such as Clive Caldwell, Dean Brown and Jamie Bentley.”

“We got off to a shaky start in Baltimore, but we have been putting some good time on court since then and feeling confident about what we should be doing out there,” Mudge continued. “We are building better and better chemistry every time we step out on court and go to an event. That’s an absolute must in any successful team.”

“The event is a testament to the way Clive, Dean and Jamie run the event,” Mathur added. “All of them have been in our shoes at some point in their lives, and so they understand the trials and tribulations of being a squash professional. So as soon as you get up there, you’re treated with such professionalism and like you’re a part of their family and club member. They make you feel so welcome. The event has been around for so long and so it has so much history and prestige. By winning it, you become a part of that rich history which is really unique.”

The Jim Bentley Cup—namesake of the Cambridge Club founder—has a long tradition of elite squash doubles with a history that has included a variety of unique events. For many years, the Bentley was held as an invitational, where the club determined the pairings, matching top PSA softball singles professionals from around the world with the best in hardball doubles.

The Bentley’s winners list is an illustrious one with rich history, including names such as Mo Khan, Gul Khan, Aziz Khan, Peter Briggs, Gary Waite, Mark Talbott, Stuart Boswell, Martin Heath, Paul Price and the son of the tournament’s namesake, Jamie Bentley.

dsc_5163-1

Ferreira & Badan Survive Quarterfinal Scare to Surge to PDC Cup Title

l-r: Hugh Hailer, Michael Ferreira, Ted Griffith, Yvain Badan, Ahmed Hamza, Jonny Smith, Chris Callis, Julian Mohr
l-r: Hugh Hailey, Michael Ferreira, Ted Griffith, Yvain Badan, Ahmed Hamza, Jonny Smith, Chris Callis, Julian Mohr

Gallery

On the brink of an early exit in the PDC Cup quarterfinals, Mike Ferreira & Yvain Badan fought off multiple match balls to recover and pull together their second SDA Tour title run of the season at the Piedmont Driving Club in Atlanta, Georgia.

The tournament’s top seeds encountered fellow Trinity Bantams Baset Chaudhry & Bernardo Samper in the quarterfinals and found themselves down 14-13 in the fourth game, at which point Ferreira returned a serve with a backhand volley winner to force a simultaneous match and game ball at 14-14. After two lets, a Badan cross court gave them new life in the fifth game, which they pulled out 11-9.

“It was a very tough quarterfinal against Bernado and Baset, which we managed to get through, albeit by razor thin margins in the fourth,” Ferreira said. “They are a solid team and when we drew them in the quarters we knew we were going to have a tough game. We were fortunate to win a very tight fourth game, where we came back from behind twice to win and that definitely gave us some confidence and momentum going into the fifth game.”

“We had a good win in a tough match against them in NYAC, so to Mikey’s point, we knew it was going to a difficult match and we were prepared to be there for as long as it would take.” Badan added. “Obviously, we were very lucky in fourth game. Mike is a fierce competitor, so it’s great to have him by my side during these close/tight matches.”

Australians Matt Jenson & Scott Arnold met the top seeds next in what was their second consecutive semifinal appearance following St. Louis, but couldn’t get past Ferreira & Badan, losing in four games. In the bottom half of the draw, Jonny Smith & Chris Callis—first-time partners this season—reached their first final together as the three seeds. Smith & Callis upset two seeds Raj Nanda & Viktor Berg in the semis, coming back from a game down to reach the final in four games.

A close final saw both the second and third games decided at 14-14, both of which Ferreira & Badan capitalized on to win the title in three games.

“Obviously is felt amazing to win the final,” Badan said. “Smith & Callis had a great tournament defeating Berg & Nanda in the semis, so again we were well prepared for a tough match. At 14-14 all, anything can happen.”

“In the finals we played well and a pretty consistent game against a good team,” Ferreira added. “I think all the players were a little tired already with us both having played a tough semi and high quality pro am matches earlier in the day. We managed to be disciplined and for the most part stuck to our game plan. Winning at 14 all is always a little bit of a toss up but I think our mentality was to play those point even a little harder and with more intensity and really hope for the best.”

Ferreira marks his maiden PDC Cup title, while Badan celebrates his second in addition to the 2014 title with Manek Mathur.

“We are both really excited and pleased with our performance this weekend,” Badan said. “It is an amazing Event and an amazing crowd, which makes the title even more meaningful. For me personally to win a Platinum Event twice, with two different partners, is a great feeling. We want to thank Ahmed and everyone from the PDC who makes this event happen. We already look forward to seeing our friends from the PDC next year.”

“It felt really great to win down at PDC,” Ferreira said. “It is such a great club and the membership showed us a fantastic time down there and I am already looking forward to next year.”

Watch PDC replays below.