We caught up with Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles World No.3 Dan Busby to talk about the upcoming World Doubles Championships and his recent British National Championships success.
Q. Firstly, congratulations on the British National Championships and becoming British champion for the first time. Where do you feel that ranks in your list of career achievements?
Dan Busby: Thanks. Winning the British Champs has been a target of mine since I came back to Racketlon but with Leon [Griffiths] getting stronger all the time I thought I’d missed my chance. It’s definitely up there as one of my proudest moments, along with winning my first international title – coincidentally I beat Leon in that final too. Also, making it to World No.2.
Q. You mention Leon Griffiths there and you had to shock him to reach the final. Talk us through how were you able to overcome one of racketlon’s brightest talents?
Beating Leon is really tough for anyone but for my profile it pretty much means playing four perfect sports. In our few matches before the British Champs, Leon has always won the table tennis to around 12 points and so I had been working with my coaches on a specific game plan to play Leon. Getting a good start in table tennis is so important as it sets the tone for the rest of the match.
Following this, I knew If I had a good badminton I had a chance. I got 11 and then played a really disciplined squash set, not giving him chances to attach. In a winner takes all tennis it was a matter of “this is your chance, just go for it”. And so I did! I served really well and just tried to vary the pace to break his rhythm.
Q. Next up is the World Doubles Championships. You’re playing mixed doubles with Chrisi Seehofer who has obviously won the title on a number of occasions in the past. How pleased are you to be playing alongside her?
Playing with Chrisi is great. She’s such an all-round player now that it means we don’t have a weak sport. Quite often I play mixed with weaker squash players as I can often cover that area but it is nice to play with one of the strongest squash players too!
Q. You played together in Prague although didn’t win the title in the end. How important do you think having that experience of playing together will be and what are the two of you looking to improve?
Playing in Prague was our first time playing together and having good partnerships are all about learning to play together which was the purpose of Prague. We both learnt lots about playing mixed with each other at this tournament and hopefully, the improvement will be evident in Belgium next week.
Q. You’ve presumably seen the draw come out. How do you rate your chances of lifting the title?
I think the draw is really open in the mixed. We’re there to win it obviously but there are four or five pairs that could win it on the day and some new partnerships that could also spring a surprise.
Q. In the Men’s A Doubles you’ve managed to coerce Peter Duyck out of a two-year hiatus to return to play. How did you manage to persuade him to return?
Originally I entered the Men’s Doubles with regular partner Beni Graenicher, but due to an injury he sustained in Prague he had to pull out. That was a real shame because as a pair we really understood how to play well across the four sports and had some really good results together.
I really wanted to find a partner who would allow us to be competitive and noticed that Peter had entered the King of Rackets singles so asked him and he accepted straight away. We’ve also played together before at the IWT event in Antwerp and it worked well so I’m looking forward to playing with him again.
Q. He’s obviously a player with an exceptional pedigree in the sport. Do you think the two of you are a nice fit as a pair?
In terms of profile, we match up really well. His strengths are definitely table tennis and tennis and mine are probably the other two sports so this works well. He’s also quite relaxed on court which helps.
Q. Same question as before, how do you rate your chances in the Men’s Doubles Championship?
I really have no idea what to expect with the Men’s Doubles, to be honest. We are in the same quarter as Morten [Jaksland] and Kresten [Hougaard] and on paper I would say it looks like it should be a close match.
If we can make it through that quarter then you have to be in with a chance but for me, the big favourites are in the bottom half of the draw.
The full draw for the Mixed Doubles is available here.
You can also read Dan Busby’s recent piece about Racketlon Profiles as part of the ‘What is Racketlon’ month.
More information about ‘What is Racketlon’ month is available here.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Czech Racketlon Association