It’s time for the first of our World Singles Championship previews! In the next few days, we’ll be previewing every single category ahead of the huge tournament. We’ve been waiting over two years for the return of the World Singles Championship and we’re delighted to see over 250 players heading to Switzerland to battle for titles.
Kicking off our preview series is a look at all of the amateur categories. There are seven categories for us to investigate; the Women’s B and C, and the Men’s B, C, D, E and F.
Let’s not wait any further. Here are your previews of every amateur category.
Men’s B Singles – Redrawn Bracket Topped by Returning Junillon
A few years after announcing his retirement from international singles racketlon, France’s Cédric Junillon is back! The former top-10 star returns to the circuit as the top seed in the Men’s B Singles, a bracket that was redrawn after an initial seeding error. Junillon begins against Germany’s Kai Zeuner, with the winner facing either Mateusz Skorek or Cyril Hohl.
The other seed in the top quarter is No.7 Guidi Weijel. The Dutchman fell at the round of 32 stage two years ago and will want to improve on that when he faces France’s, Eric Durand. Magnus Åberg takes on debutant Dermot O’Grady in the final match from quarter one.
A pair of Frenchmen occupy the seeded spots in quarter two. Moving down from the Men’s A, Josselin Gadé  begins against Sweden’s Stefan Nilsson. Gadé is not the only player moved down from the Men’s A in this section. Thomas Wegmann was also dropped, and he takes on No.4 seed, Bertrand Carlier. The winner of Gadé against Nilsson will face either Thomas Knaack or young star Léon Mamié. Andre Bandi flies the flag for Switzerland in the remaining match of this quarter, as he begins against Johan Rosenberg.
Rising star Matthew Davidson is the No.3 seed in the draw and he kicks off quarter three against Nicolas Champod. Davidson already has some impressive results in 2021, coming fourth in the Men’s A Singles at the IWT London Open. He’s landed in a tough section though. The winner from that match will face either Jacob Steinmetz or Nico Hobi. Steinmetz won the Seniors +40 title at the IWT Berlin Open two years ago while Hobi won the same title in Switzerland earlier this year.
The other four players in quarter three have slightly less pedigree. No.8 seed Beat Ladner opens against Sam Barker, who won the Mixed A Elite singles title alongside Amke Fischer in London this year. The winner of that match will face a senior regular. Either Henrik Huldschiner or Daniel Lipowski awaits the victor in round two.
Patrick Oettl and Martin Abrami are the final seeds in the draw. Abrami is the No.5 seed and opens against Sweden’s Alexander Jäätmaa. The Frenchman was a breakthrough star in 2020 after beating Emanuel
After winning the Men’s B Singles title at the IWT Dunlop Rotterdam Open, Patrick Oettl begins his World Championship campaign against Raphael Paglia. The pair met earlier this year, with Paglia actually edging Oettl in the IWT Swiss Open quarter-finals. Will Oettl get revenge? If he does, then awaiting him will be either Romain Hetzel or Noah Mamié.
The full Men’s B Singles draw is available here.
Women’s B Singles – Sákovics and Von Heimburg Top Two Seeds
The Women’s B Singles draw is an intriguing mixture of regular and new faces, with Virág Sákovics and Carola Von Heimburg bookending the draw. There’s a very clear reason why Sákovics is the top seed. The Hungarian won a Women’s B title just last month, triumphing at the SWT GRAWE sidebyside 15. Austrian Open.
The No.1 seed begins her campaign against Raphaela Schlegel, who is competing for the first time since the 2018 World Championship. Awaiting the winner of that is a contest against a guaranteed newcomer. Jessica Schmid and Lisa Fleury both make their international debut against each other in the opening round.
In the bottom quarter, Von Heimburg faces a tricky opener against Gaëlle Wavre. The tennis star only began her international journey this year, but already has wins over Heike Voigt and Irina Sanderson. Fabienne Dony or Gaelle Fux await whoever battles through that first-round match.
Speaking of Sanderson, she’s in quarter two as the No.4 seed. The Romanian begins against Switzerland’s Fabienne Blanc, who is making her FIR World Tour debut. The other match in this section sees the return of Khasanova Oıgul. She will face Claire Russo, with the Swiss player taking part in her second international tournament.
The third and final section features a showdown between two senior stars, Susan Rutschmann and Heike Voigt. The former is the No.3 seed in the draw, while the latter is looking to cause a first-round upset. The other match in this section features another debutant in Marine Pelet. She takes on Nienke Veldkamp, the squash specialist from the Netherlands.
With none of the podium from 2019 back this year, there is a big opportunity for someone. One player will walk out of Zurich a World Champion. Who will it be? We’ll have to wait and see.
The full Women’s B Singles draw is available here.
Men’s C Singles Top Half – Frank & Bastian Böhm in Same Quarter
With 48 players battling for one title, there is no bigger draw than the Men’s C Singles at the 2021 World Singles Championship. All 16 seeds receive a bye through to the second round.
The four seeds in the top quarter are Christian Börner , Avi Shemri , Peter Barton  and Julien Meister . Börner has been active this year, competing in Austria, Romania and Switzerland. This is in stark contrast to Israel’s Shemri, who is competing for the first time in 2021. Both Barton and Meister have seen success on the tour in 2021. Barton finished as runner-up in the Men’s B at the IWT London Open while Meister took bronze at the IWT Swiss Open in the Men’s C.
Eight other players are in this section, battling to face one of these four seeds. Among them are former Seniors +65 World Champion Steen Hesselbjerg, Cuba’s Eric De La Torre, Dutchman Marc Veldkamp and Switzerland’s Laurent Dan Rueff. There are also three debutants; Aymeric Galan, Thomas Debarre and Bartosz Wesolek.
While quarter one features three debutants, there are none in quarter two. Germans dominate the seedings in this section, with Frank Böhm , Bastian Böhm  and Vincent David  joined by Denmark’s Graham Cain . The Father-Son duo of Frank and Bastian recently faced each other in the Men’s B final at the SWT GRAWE sidebyside 15. Austrian Open and could meet again if both get through to the quarter-finals. Bastian does have a Men’s C title already this year in Zurich, winning at the IWT Swiss Open. For both David and Cain, this is the first outing of the season.
Among the eight first-round players in this section, a few names stand out. India’s Varinder Singh was on the podium at the last World Singles Championship, grabbing a bronze in the Men’s D category. Great Britain’s Anant Gupta already has a Men’s C Singles title to his name this season, after triumphing at the IWT London Open. Sweden’s
Men’s C Singles Bottom Half – Mixture of Youth and Experience in Intriguing Draw
Quarter three sees two Swiss players earning byes due to their seeding. Steven Bühler  and Valentin Henin  are joined by Norweigian-based Brit Joel Durston  and German legend Frank Kleiber  in this section. Bühler is competing for the first time this year, although grabbed a silver at the IWT German Open two years ago, demonstrating his class. While this is Durston’s first tournament of the year, Henin competed in the IWT Swiss Open earlier this year. Kleiber has also been in action, playing in both Rotterdam and Zurich.
American debutant Paul Marks is one of eight players competing in the first round in this section. Marks opens against Claude Näscher while Ahti Antikainen faces Cornelius Ried. While Antikainen is a seniors force, Ried is a promising junior which makes for an eye-catching match. Young Lucas Steyer opens his tournament against Chris Tröndle while Austrian media phenom Peter Robic takes on Daniel Petazzi.
is the No.2 seed and biggest name in the bottom quarter of the Men’s C Singles. The Swiss player is joined in this quarter by Thomas Olsson, Leon Sam and Gregor David. Sam already has a silver at Juniors U16 level at this year’s Austrian Open and will be looking to take a step up in the Men’s level in Zurich. Olsson is competing on the FIR World Tour for the first time this season.
While they receive byes, eight players will meet in the first round. Cece Valérian and Peter Bruhn Christensen both make their international racketlon debuts, with Valérian facing Riccardo Raimo and Christensen taking on Matthias Ramspeck. The latter is returning to the international scene for the first time since 2016. Two players in this section have already seen silverware at the Men’s C level this year. Giovanni Gentile grabbed a silver at the IWT Swiss Open while Thomas Neupert managed the same in Graz. Gentile begins against Stan Soels, while Neupert will face Bruno Scherrer.
The full Men’s C Singles draw is available here.
Women’s C Singles – Lau Returns Looking to Go One Better Than 2019
Two years ago in Leipzig, Cherisse Lau made it to the final of the Women’s C, eventually falling to Carina Lange. Now, she returns, looking to get her hands on the world title. Lau’s campaign begins against Florence Barman, who is playing singles for the first time on the FIR World Tour.
As the No.2 seed, Lau is at the bottom of the eight-player bracket. Sitting at the top is Paulina Steiner. The Austrian opens against Adriana Radulescu, who partnered Barman in doubles at this year’s IWT Swiss Open.
Opportunity is the keyword in this Women’s C draw. Of the other four players, three are brand new to international racketlon. Swiss fans will be hoping Lynne Bollington can battle past Estelle Lago in the opening round. Meanwhile, Sweden’s Anna Lindeberg takes on Jana Severinova. The latter is the only one of these four to have played before, after taking part in the 2019 World Championship.
The full Women’s C Singles draw is available here.
Men’s D Singles – Five Frenchman in 16 Player Draw
We’ve mentioned on numerous occasions that France is bringing the depth to racketlon at the moment. That is obvious in this draw with five of the 16 players heading over from France. Austria is also well represented, with four juniors all competing. This includes No.2 seed Leo Hörtinger and No.3 seed Jakob Rosenberger. Zigmars Puikevics is the No.1 seed and the only Latvian representative in the draw. Meanwhile, Czech junior Lukáš Dvořák is the final seed at No.4.
A Frenchman awaits Puikevics in the opening round. He’s set to take on Armand Maxime, with the winner facing either Jonas Warne or Benjamin Radl. There is a second Frenchman – Dieu Beranger – in the top half. He’ll begin against Balázs Döbörhegyi, who missed out on the No.4 seed by a single ranking place. The final player in the top half of the draw is debutant Reto Steinmann. The Swiss player will open his racketlon career against Rosenberger.
Three Frenchman lurk in the bottom half. Dominique Abrami faces No.2 seed Hörtinger in an intriguing contest. Anthony Levavasseur lands in the next matchup, with the Frenchman due to take on Poland’s Piotr Ostaszyk. Making his international debut, William Remy is a final Frenchman in this half. Remy opens against another young Austrian, Leon Steiner. The only match not to feature a French player sees Germany’s Frederik Floether take on Dvořák.
The full Men’s D Singles draw is available here.
Men’s E Singles – Uncertainty Reigns with 17 Unranked Players
There is nothing quite as mysterious as a racketlon draw dominated by unranked players. With very little information it’s hard to predict how the draw will shape out – but it certainly makes it exciting! Just four players have a ranking in this draw – Mathias Schilling, Benoit Truc, Marcel Klinger and Andreas Stooss – and they are also the four seeds. Schilling is the only one of these four with silverware to his name. The Austrian took a silver home in the Junior U13 Singles from this year’s Austrian Open.
Of the remaining 17 players, just two have played on the FIR World Tour recently. Sebastian Janser and Luca Hamon, young stars from Austria and France, both played in Junior categories this year – in Austria and Switzerland respectively. Both will play first-round matches against Swiss players, with Janser facing Andreas Kotala and Hamon taking on Pablo Jakobcic.
Swiss players actually make up the majority of this draw. Loic Krauser, Zhichun Whu and Alexis Tabin all have byes through to the second round. Fellow Swiss Alain Bugnon and Michael Müller begin in the first round, taking on Jacek Ladny and Laurent Cenne. South Africa’s Daniel Schoeman makes his international debut, as do Sweden’s Hakan Fischer, French pair Eric Paic and Mathis Cenne, and finally Germany’s Maximilian Beer and Reinhold Vehse.
The full Men’s E Singles draw is available here.
Men’s F Singles – A Huge Welcome to Our 10 Newcomers
It’s impossible to write a preview for the Men’s F Singles. This is because the category is dedicated exclusively to brand new racketlon players from Switzerland. So instead of trying to create something with no information, we want to try something different.
Instead, we just want to say a huge welcome! Welcome to Sherome Herger, Manuel Koller, Jakob Känel, Pascal Nicholls, Michael Spühler, Reto Salzgeber, Marco Staubli, Dario Forster, Michael Lötscher and Selim Durrer. We hope you thoroughly enjoy your first racketlon tournament and we hope to see all of you back at more tournaments in the future!
And of course, congratulations to whichever three of you leave the tournament with a medal.
The full Men’s E Singles draw is available here.
Full previews of the Juniors, Seniors and Elite classes will all be coming before the World Singles Championship begins on October 21.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Rene Zwald