With a second Triple Crown in 2019 before the end of April, Morten Jaksland is the man-to-beat on the Men’s Racketlon World Tour.
We caught up with him after his Czech Open Triple Crown to discuss the season so far.
“All the training hours I’ve been putting in this winter has paid off”
“I’m super delighted to win my second singles title in a row this year,” The Dane said after defeating Rav Rykowski in the Czech Open final. “It proves that all the training hours I’ve been putting in this winter has paid off pretty well so I’m really really happy.”
All of Morten’s training certainly showed in Prague. In the final, he faced Rav Rykowski, a player he had only beaten once before in four previous meetings. The rankings may have been in his favour but history was not.
But the match-up between Morten and Rav perfectly illustrates one of racketlon’s greatest facets. If they reach tennis then Morten wins, but more often than not Rav actually wins before tennis. Table tennis is therefore the pivotal sport.
“That’s basically the key when I play him,” Morten said of his 21-7 table-tennis victory in the final. “I want to get off to a good start and especially table tennis because he’s so strong in the middle two sports and I know that I’ll only scramble for points there so I need the victory in table-tennis.”
The table-tennis did indeed turn out to be key. Rav won the two middle sports, as always, but the table-tennis result meant that Morten was going to tennis with a fighting chance. Rav needed nine for the win but the last time they played tennis, Morten won 21-4.
“I knew it wasn’t over because he has quite a big game but I was also confident that If I could just keep the ball on the court then I would have a good chance to keep him under nine. So I took it one at a time, tried to make it as hard for him as possible to gain easy points.”
“It’ll be nice to try and stand out a little bit from them”
That one win in Prague now lands Morten Jaksland in unchartered territory. For the first time in his career, he is the player dominating the Racketlon World Tour. He is the player to beat.
“I don’t know, it’s a new thing for me to be the guy that everybody wants to chase down,” Morten responded when asked how he’ll cope with this new pressure. “I’ve been part of the pack for some time now but it’ll be nice to try to stand out a little bit from them.”
But Morten doesn’t just want to stand out. He wants more.
“I’ve declared my goal to be number one in the world. I think that’s very likely to happen as Lukas [Windischberger, current World No.1] is probably not going to play that much.”
“Obviously any World Championship medal is also a goal for me. But to go for gold in a World Championship event, that would be a massive thing for me.”
The Dane harbours lofty ambitions. World No.1 and a World Championship gold. While many people may have similar dreams, Morten’s are both very close to becoming a reality.
Could Morten Jaksland Medal at the World Doubles Championships?
As he says, World No.1 is more a matter of when, not if, with Lukas Windischberger’s future uncertain. While he is a front-runner in every category he enters, he has particularly shone in the mixed doubles alongside partner Zuzana Severinova.
“I think we are building a pretty solid mixed,” Morten said of their pairing. “We know what we are trying to achieve on the court.
“We know where we are strong, we know where we have to scramble a little bit and I think the hours we put in together also means a lot in the mixed competition.”
Morten Jaksland is unbeaten in 17 racketlon matches in 2019 across both singles and doubles. That is a record that none can rival and one that stands him in good stead moving forward. And the Dane has plenty of opportunities to extend this record with a packed schedule ahead.
What Tournaments will Morten Jaksland Play in 2019?
He’s already confirmed to be playing at the Berlin Open, World Doubles Championships and King of Rackets, the three big tournaments coming up in the next two months.
“I’m planning on playing the Victor Racketlon Series because I have a nice collaboration with them. So, as well as Berlin, I’ll go to Riga as well, and Malta as that’s part of the Victor Series.
“Obviously I couldn’t resist the chance to play on grass in London this summer, so I signed up early and got one of the lucky spots there.
“Obviously the World Singles Championships and we have the neighbouring tournament in Sweden that’s also hard for me to resist. I’ll probably end up playing most of them.”
As Morten Jaksland said himself, he’s always been part of the pack. 2019 is looking like the year that he steps out into the spotlight and becomes a racketlon star. Remember the name, because you’ll be hearing a lot of it this year.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Czech Racketlon Association