100 wins across 31 tournaments against 37 different players in 10 different countries losing just 42 sets. That is the story of Christine Seehofer since the 16th April, 2016 – the day she last lost a racketlon singles match.
In that time she’s lifted three World Championships, one European Championship and 27 further titles. She’s won 91 of her 100 badminton sets and 90 on the table tennis table. Record after record has tumbled as the Austrian has carved one of the greatest legacies racketlon has seen.
Every player wants to beat her. Every player wants to be her. She inspires players of all ages, from juniors to seniors and everyone in between.
With all that said, it seems only fitting that we should look back at 10 of the biggest matches on her journey to 100 wins in a row.
2016 Austrian Open – First Triumph over Zuzana Kubanova (No.11)
As she came through the junior ranks it was clear very early on that Christine Seehofer was going to be a force. For all the top players she was beating though there was one she just couldn’t crack.
That being said, very few players could figure out how to beat Zuzana Kubanova. A two-time world champion, the Czech player was at the top of her game. In fact, it was Kubanova who dealt the final loss to Seehofer on the 16th of April 2016 in the quarter-finals of the Czech Open.
So for Seehofer, the win against Kubanova at the 2016 Austrian Open must have felt like a weight being lifted. Finally, she’d ended the streak and beaten a player who seemingly couldn’t be beaten.
It was the 21-5 table tennis set that gave her a great chance. Backing that up with a 21-17 badminton win was crucial heading into the squash. Perhaps most important though was securing 8 on the squash court. Kubanova has played on the PSA World Tour and is a phenom on a squash court.
Those scores left her needing 15 in tennis, something she duly managed. A +4 victory over Kubanova and the end of Kubanova’s racketlon dominance. The tide had turned and a new racketlon era was beginning. The era of Christine Seehofer.
2016 World Championships – Tennis Comeback Against Nathalie Vogel (No.22)
By the semi-finals of the 2016 World Championships, Christine Seehofer was already up to 21 straight victories. One thing that had eluded her so far was a World Championships final. It didn’t look certain she would reach one in 2016 either as she trailed by 7 heading into tennis.
It is not often that she has to play a full tennis set. When she does though, she tends to take control. That was exactly what she did here against a former world champion in Nathalie Vogel. Seehofer wrestled control of the tennis to win 21-10 and book herself into a first world championship final. A breakthrough moment.
2016 World Championships – First World Title Against Amke Fischer (No.23)
The entire 2016 World Championships was a brutal campaign for Seehofer. This was her 8th match in the tournament having beaten Bettina Bugl, Zuzana Severinova, Hannah Boden, Anna Wall, Anastasiya Bruzgina, Silke Altmann and Nathalie Vogel. None of those were easy matches and now she faced Amke Fischer, another of racketlon’s greatest.
As with the semi-final it came down to a full set of tennis. Once again, Seehofer was the player who controlled proceedings. She battled to a 21-13 victory to seal her first world title and with it, took her first step towards being the history-maker she is today.
2017 European Championships – First European Title Against Natalie Paul (No.39)
Fast forward a year to the next major tournament and this one occurred in Austria for the European Championships. Two years prior, Seehofer had been knocked out by Kubanova but in 2017 she would not have to face her Czech counterpart.
Instead, it was Natalie Paul who she played in the final. 39 matches into her unbeaten run and Seehofer already had 3 wins over Paul. In the European Championships, she would grab her 4th. Unlike the matches we’ve discussed so far, this was the first match that wasn’t particularly close. Seehofer won both table tennis and squash to leave herself needing just a single point in tennis.
She won the point, won the match and won her first European title. World Champion and European Champion. The legacy continued to build.
2018 Czech Open – Survives a Fightback from Isabelle Bramhall (No.47)
Approaching the 50th victory was one of the few times that Seehofer has had a genuine scare. It was a peculiar match as well against Isabelle Bramhall in the Czech Open semi-finals.
Seehofer was seemingly cruising past the Brit, roaring into the tennis with a +18 lead. On the tennis court though, a small worry began to set in. Bramhall went racing ahead and ended up leading by double digits. Seehofer made it to the 4 points she needed for victory but not before Bramhall made it to 16. A narrow +6 win for Seehofer in the end and an important psychological.
2018 World Championships – Second World Title (No.63)
With one world title already in her trophy cabinet, she headed to Zurich the clear favourite to win a second. After taking out Zuzana Severinova and Stine Jacobsen she faced squash specialist Astrid Reimer-Kern in the final.
A 21-2 squash win for Reimer-Kern set up a tennis showdown but Seehofer was simply too impressive. Her tennis came to the fore once again, winning 15-1 in brutal fashion to take home her second world title. At this stage she was going to need a bigger trophy cabinet.
2019 Czech Open – 12th Match in a Row Without Dropping a Set (No.75)
Perhaps Seehofer’s most dominant period came in the second half of 2018 and the first half of 2019. From the first round of the German Open in 2018 through to the 2019 Czech Open final, Seehofer lost just one set of racketlon. That was a span of 18 matches and her only loss was in squash against PSA player Astrid Reimer-Kern.
After losing that squash set she won 12 in a row without dropping a set. Those included wins over Bettina Bugl, Martina Meissl, Anna-Klara Ahlmer and Zuzana Severinova. It was Severinova who she beat in the final match of this run in the final of the Czech Open.
Severinova had beaten Seehofer on the squash court a number of times in the past. Not on that day though. Seehofer was at her clinical best and demolished the young Czech to pick up yet another title.
2019 French Open – Battles to Victory Against Jacobsen in Toughest Test in Years (No.89)
You can count the number of times Christine Seehofer has come close to losing during this run on one hand. The 2019 French Open match against Stine Jacobsen was by far the most dangerous match she’s had.
No one had got within five points since Nathalie Vogel at the 2016 World Championships but that changed in Paris. Jacobsen quite simply produced the match of her life.
After losing the table tennis 21-12 the Dane won 21-9 and then took 16 points in the squash to trail by just 2 in tennis. The tennis set was one of the most captivating of the year and the entire tournament stopped to watch it.
At 20-20 it looked like Jacobsen could force a gummi-arm and take Seehofer to a sudden-death shoot-out. You don’t get to No.1 in the world and 88 matches unbeaten without having incredible mental strength. Seehofer held her nerve to win the final two points and take a +4 win into the French Open final. A remarkable match that almost saw the run to 100 wins come to an end.
2019 World Championships – Record-Equalling 3rd World Title (No.94)
Until 2019, Michaela Bjornstrom was the only female player to have won three world titles. That changed as Christine Seehofer triumphed in Leipzig to tie the Finnish star.
After taking out Amke Fischer, Stine Jacobsen and Barbara Walsky it was familiar foe Isabelle Bramhall she took on in the final. Bramhall put up a great fight but ultimately could not battle back from losing the badminton and squash, with Seehofer continuing her dominance and continuing her winning streak. It seemed at this stage that nothing could stop her from reaching 100 wins.
2020 Austrian Open – Seehofer Reaches 100 Wins with 5th Austrian Open Title (No.100)
There is nothing positive to say about COVID-19. If you were to try and find one tiny good thing, the cancellation of tournaments this year meant that Christine Seehofer was able to celebrate her 100th win at her home tournament in Austria.
It was a big talking point heading into the unique event. Could she win all three matches and take home the title and the accolade of 100 wins in a row? Of course, she could.
In the final, it was a new face that greeted her – France’s Myriam Enmer. It was a classic Seehofer win. Table tennis victory followed by badminton victory followed by squash victory with the tennis racket staying in her back. The 37th opponent defeated and the 100th win in the bag. History achieved.
The big question now is how long can she keep this run going for? The always-humble Seehofer declared after the tournament that anyone can beat her and she is not unbeatable. We now turn our attention to 2021 to see if that is true or if she will keep on rolling to wins and titles. For now, though, we can only sit back and applaud this incredible achievement of 100 wins in a row.
Congratulations Chrisi on making history.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Alex Rieck