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.