Category Archives: News

Mariani & Todd Notch Maiden SDA Titles in Toronto

(l-r): Jamie Bentley, Justin Todd, Will Mariani, Tyler Hamilton

Will Mariani & Justin Todd became the first Canadian team to win the Jim Bentley Cup since 1996 Monday night, as both players celebrate their first career SDA titles at the Cambridge Club in Toronto, Canada.

Mariani & Todd’s campaign in the eight-team SDA Bronze draw opened with a three game win over the only all-American team in the draw, Imran Khan & Hamed Anvari, to set up a semifinal match up against fellow Canadians Amar Gupta & Ryan Herden. Mariani & Todd upset the seeding 15-8, 15-13, 15-7 to reach Mariani’s fifth career SDA final and Todd’s second.

The top half of the draw completed an all Canadian semifinal lineup. Tyler Hamilton & Robert Nigro upset top seeds Graham Bassett & Freddie Reid in the first round, while four seeds Robin Clarke & Thomas Brinkman held off a close three game challenge from Joshua Hollings and Cole Osborne. The tournament’s only five-gamer ensued with Clarke & Brinkman just edging Hamilton & Nigro 12-15, 15-12, 9-15, 15-13, 15-5.

In the final, Mariani & Todd were aided by a physically struggling Clarke & Brinkman. Clarke had endured a groin injury picked up in the first round, while Brinkman sustained a rolled ankle in the third game of the final. Mariani & Todd pressed on through the final to clinch the title 15-10, 15-9, 15-10.

As is tradition for the champions, Mariani & Todd donned Cambridge Club robes, representing their new lifetime memberships to the club as they lifted the Jim Bentley Cup.

“It feels great to win the Jim Bentley Cup,” Mariani said. “I’m not sure the first time I met Jim, but as we both aged I continually saw and conversed with him, mostly at the Cricket Club bar. To know our names will be etched on the trophy and painted on the board of the Cambridge is one cool feeling. And to know we are the first Canadian team since Waite & Bentley in 1996 is special.”

Mariani, a Pickering, Ontario, native, praised the Toronto hardball doubles community that was reflected in the all Canadian semifinals.

“To have four Canadian teams in the semis of an SDA event is a great feat and hopefully it encourages more of us to play in SDA events,” Mariani said. “Currently six of the eight of us play out of clubs in Toronto and it is a special city to play hardball doubles in–it is the Mecca of the sport. Thanks must go out to the “old guard”, who whipped us countless times over the past twenty years, but have always been encouraging and supportive of our efforts.”

The Jim Bentley Cup is one of the longest-running events on the SDA tour, dating back to 1973. Jim Bentley, the tournament’s namesake, served as a long-time head professional at the Cambridge Club.

“The club puts on a great event, especially the Friday night black tie dinner which kick starts the weekend,” Mariani said. “I’m sure some members did not make it home til after the finals on Monday night. There is no better club on tour to be locked up in for four nights.”

Bews, Bedell and Martino Earn First SDA Awards; Mathur Celebrates Third Player of the Year Honor

Maryland Club’s Mark Price, Andrew Cordova, board member recognition recipient Greg McArthur, Manek Mathur (Center), Adam Bews (third to right), Kyle Martino (second to right), Graham Bassett

The fourth annual SDA Awards honoring the 2017-2018 season were presented at the 2018-2019 season-opening Maryland Club Open on October 1 in Baltimore.

All of the awards were voted on by the tour professionals.

Since collecting Team of the Year honors in the 2016-2017 SDA Awards, Manek Mathur & Damien Mudge did not lose a match, earning them an second consecutive Team of the Year Award following an unparalleled undefeated season. The world No. 1’s 2017-2018 season ended with a fifty-four match unbeaten streak, six titles and retaining the world No. 1 ranking.

Their incredible undefeated season also saw Mathur, an Indian international and Trinity graduate, named Player of the Year for a third consecutive season.

Missouri Athletic Club professional Adam Bews was named Most Improved Player, marking his first SDA honor. The Scotsman began the season ranked world No. 26 and ended the season at world No. 14 in May, including a high of world No. 13 in April. Bews reached the semifinals at the Briggs Cup, Hashim Khan and Tavern Club Invitational, and collected his first career SDA title at the Pittsburgh Golf Club Challenger.

Eric Bedell receives the Sportsmanship Award for his overall conduct. The twenty-seven-year-old is a Bates graduate and works as an assistant at the Racquet & Tennis Club. In March, Bedell won his first career SDA title with Bobby Burns at the Hashim Khan.

Twenty-four-year-old Kyle Martino earned Rookie of the Year honors following his debut season. Martino went on to appear in six tournaments over the course of his first proper season, recording wins at the R&TC Challenger, David C. Johnson Jr. Memorial and Delaware Pro Doubles.

The Tournament of the Year award will be revealed at that event over the course of the 2018-2019 season.

2017-2018 Awards:
Team of the Year: Manek Mathur & Damien Mudge
Player of the Year: Manek Mathur
Most Improved Player: Adam Bews
Sportsmanship Award: Eric Bedell
Rookie of the Year: Kyle Martino
Tournament of the Year: To be announced

Badan & Stout Surge to Westchester Country Club Pro Doubles Title

(back row, l-r:) James Bamber, Mike Ferreira, Chris Callis, Adam Bews, Yvain Badan, Bryan Fitzpatrick, James Stout (front row, l-r:) Lume Landman, Natalie Grainger

The second annual Westchester Country Club Pro Doubles platinum draw saw a seismic shift in the days leading up to the tournament.

Following Manek Mathur‘s Achilles injury at the Big Apple Open the previous Monday night, world No. 6 Chris Callis was forced to call up world No. 7 Mike Fereirra to occupy the top seed in Westchester. The following Tuesday, world No. 8 Bernardo Samper unfortunately had to return to his native Colombia for a family emergency, leaving world No. 5 Yvain Badan in search of a new partner to fill in the gap of his Big Apple Open-winning team. As a result, Badan linked up with world No. 9 James Stout in their first ever partnership together, slotting in as the two seeds.

The match of the tournament perhaps came in the quarterfinals between qualifiers Ed Garno & Alex Stait & four seeds Clive Leach & James Bamber. Leach & Bamber squandered a two-game lead as the match progressed to a decisive simultaneous match ball, which the higher seeds executed to advance 15-10, 15-14, 12-15, 12-15, 15-14.

One five-gamer wasn’t enough for Leach & Bamber, as the Englishmen once again went the distance in the semifinals against Callis & Ferreira. After alternating games through to the fifth, the top seeds ended Leach & Bamber’s run 15-9 to reach the final.

Badan & Stout progressed through the bottom half of the draw with a four-game win over Adam Bews & Will Hartigan  in the quarters and a three-game semifinal victory against Jonny Smith & Zac Alexander.

Badan & Stout carried their form into the final, dispatching Callis & Ferreira 15-13, 15-10, 15-13, to claim their first title together and Badan’s second in a week’s span.

“It’s been a tough week for the tour between Manek rupturing his Achilles and this happening to Bernardo,” Badan said. “I was lucky that James was able to step in. You never know how you’re going to gel with someone until you jump on court together, and fortunately it worked out great. We discussed a strategy and implemented it well together. We had good communication and covered for each other, and his style and my style really worked out well together.”

Stout, a Bermudian, is competing in the Racquets World Championships this coming weekend at the Racquet & Tennis Club.

“It can be tough playing with a new partner as you both are trying to figure out each other’s game and determining who should play which shots,” Stout said. “There were a couple of points in our first match where we both left shots for the other, but besides that it was pretty easy getting into a rhythm. We have played against each other on numerous occasions so knew each other’s style of play and were able to adapt pretty quickly. It was a fun weekend partnering with him.”

Westchester marks Badan’s first platinum title since the 2016 Maryland Club Open, while Stout celebrates the largest title of his career to date.

“The Westchester community is really special, I feel very connected to them because I used to be at Apawamis right down the road, so it almost feels like playing at home,” Badan said. “It’s a membership who knows their squash doubles and great to see them so excited and appreciative of the squash.”

“Westchester Country Club and all of the members were fantastic hosts,” Stout said. “It honestly felt like this tournament had been around for years with how smoothly everything ran. It is great to see a new tournament on the calendar and even better with it being a platinum event. Hopefully with Natalie Grainger, the squash committee and incredible membership this event will continue to grow each year.”

November 2018 Rankings

1-Nov Name Country Tournaments Average 1-Jul
1 Manek Mathur India 9 4489.583 1
2 Damien Mudge Australia 6 4387.500 1
3 Scott Arnold Australia 7 3420.000 3
4 John Russell England 6 3070.000 4
5 Yvain Badan Switzerland 10 3026.786 5
6 Chris Callis USA 8 2860.417 7
7 Mike Ferreira England 10 2535.714 6
8 Bernardo Samper Colombia 8 2489.583 9
9 Greg McArthur Scotland 6 2428.750 13
9 James Stout Bermuda 7 2428.750 11
11 Jonny Smith England 8 2225.000 8
12 Clive Leach England 12 2017.188 10
13 Zac Alexander Australia 9 1764.583 23
14 Greg Park USA 10 1700.000 12
15 Raj Nanda Australia 9 1675.000 14
16 Will Mariani Canada 7 1630.000 16
17 Adam Bews Scotland 10 1596.429 15
18 Robin Clarke Canada 3 1550.000 29
19 James Bamber England 8 1517.708 17
20 Thomas Brinkman Canada 4 1430.000 18

 

Complete Ranking List

Badan & Samper Win First Big Apple Open; Mathur Sustains Achilles Injury

Yvain Badan (l) and Bernardo Samper.

The 2018 Big Apple Open ended in unfortunate fashion as world No. 1 Manek Mathur sustained what appeared to be a severe Achilles injury midway through the second game of the final, forcing an immediate retirement and handing the 2018 title to Yvain Badan & Bernardo Samper Monday night at New York Athletic Club.

The final appeared to be well poised for the NYAC crowd as the top two seeds collided in one of the SDA Tour’s staple events.

Mathur rekindled his Maryland Club Open-winning partnership with Chris Callis and progressed through the draw with the same impeccable form that has seen the Indian international go undefeated for his last nineteen tournaments, spanning three seasons and dating back to the 2016 Maryland Club Open final loss nearly three years ago to the month.

The top seeds made a blistering start to the final with a decisive 15-5 score line, but the two seeds returned more resolute in the second game. At 7-all, Mathur pulled up awkwardly, unsure of what had transpired at first, until the reality of the injury set in. Callis, Badan and Samper as well as members of the crowd rushed to his aid and emergency services arrived shortly after to treat Mathur.

While both Samper & Badan mark their first career Big Apple Open title, both players could only focus on the well-being of their opponent, fellow Trinity alum and friend.

“There’s no celebration for us right now, we just feel horrible for Manek,” Badan said. “There’s no worse way to win a match. You never want to see that happen to anybody, no less someone you’re so close to. We all went to school together, we’re best friends, and it’s even more tough seeing how much of the season is still down the line and knowing how long it will take him to recover.”

The injury will no doubt have re-seeding and draw implications for the rest of the season as the tour prepares to descend on Westchester Country Club with an SDA Platinum draw this weekend.

“It really sucks, especially to see the caliber player he is and everything he’s doing for the tour,” Samper said. “He’s the best player, perhaps in history, and he’s been training really hard for this season, and to see it in the second game of the final is really sad. We wish him the best in his recovery and we need him back on the tour as soon as possible.”

Mathur had won the past two Big Apple Opens with Damien Mudge, including a 2017 final win over Samper & Callis. Badan reached the 2014 final with Mathur and the 2016 final with Mike Ferreira.

“We’re grateful to the Big Apple Open, they’re always a steady event every year,” Badan said. “Pat Canavan and his staff do a wonderful job and we’re grateful to everyone here. We’re just upset for Manek and that we couldn’t give them more of a final.”