Four current Racketlon World Champions are in action at the IWT London Open in the Juniors, Seniors & Amateurs categories.
Women’s +45 Doubles champion Isabelle Bramhall, Women’s +45 Singles & +40 Doubles champion Esther Dübendorfer, Men’s +50 Doubles champion Thomas Larsen and Men’s +55 Singles champion Julian Clapp are all competing at the Roehampton Club.
Here is your full preview of all the Juniors, Seniors and Amateurs categories ahead of this weekend’s IWT London Open.
Men’s B Singles – Weijel, Sands, Wilson and Lentfer Seeds in Men’s B Singles
Perhaps as expected, the Men’s B Singles draw in London features at least one British player in every single match.
Johnny Bispham will be the first on the court as he takes on top seed Guidi Weijel. The duo have never met on the singles court but Weijel has one doubles victory over Bispham in a close contest here three years ago. The other top quarter match in this 16-player draw sees Seniors players Giovanni Gentile and Peter Barton collide.
The only all-British match occurs in the second quarter as No.3 seed Ross Wilson takes on Jac Goodall. Sweden’s Jimmy Tay is the non-British player in this section. Competing in his first Racketlon World Tour event since 2019, Tay opens against 2019 Men’s C Champion Anant Gupta.
Also making his comeback, Thorsten Lentfer’s campaign begins against David Bennett, who won the Men’s B Doubles crown in Sheffield earlier this year. Switzerland’s Léon Mamié is also in the third quarter. He takes on James Trueman, who lost to Gupta in the Men’s C Singles final here three years ago.
On his European comeback tour, Leigh Sands is the No.2 seed in this draw. Sands opens against young Brit Ryan Bezer with a spot in the quarter-finals on the line. The final match sees Luke Barnes take on debutant Stoyan Dimitrov. Barnes is dropping down to Men’s B as he continues to come back from an injury.
The entire Men’s B Singles draw is available here.
Women’s B Singles – Eight Players Battling for Silverware on the Grass Courts
As with the Women’s A Singles, we’ve got eight players fighting for the title in Roehampton. Germany’s Julia Schirutschke is the top seed as the world No.26 with Dianne Baker also receiving a seeding.
Schirutschke opens against British debutant Bethany Pye. Pye is not alone as a Racketlon World Tour debutant in the top half of the draw. Hong Kong’s Tsz Yan Joyce Chan is also making her first appearance as she takes on Cherisse Lau, the Women’s C Singles victor at last year’s World Championships.
The bottom half is an all-British affair. Alice Flatman and Joanna Bennett are first up as they battle for a semi-final berth. The final clash is between Jane Galsworthy and Dianne Baker.
The full Women’s B Singles draw is available here.
Men’s B Doubles – Duthuillé, Bishop & Bürgi Among Those in Action
As is often the case on the Racketlon World Tour, the Men’s B Doubles is a beautiful collection of regulars, returners and comebacks. That is no different this time around, with an eclectic array of talent on offer.
Patrick Bürgi and Leigh Sands are the top seeds in the draw. They kick off their campaign against Sheffield’s Men’s C Doubles champions Matthew Page and Kieran Shelley. Shelley is in the form of his life, having picked up two titles in Sheffield and a handful more on the UK Tour. The victor from that match will take on either Peter Barton and Keith Lesser or Jimmy Tay and Paul Lindsay.
The bottom half of the draw sees the return of Great Britain’s David Ridout. The former Tour regular is competing alongside Jack Bishop in an eye-catching clash against Peter Browning and Anthony Duthuillé. Duthuillé is the current World Championship Men’s B Doubles champion but will be playing alongside Browning for the first time.
Johnny Bispham and Mark Steeden are the No.2 seed. Steeden won a gold medal in the Men’s B Doubles category at this year’s IWT Swiss Open. If he wants to win a second then he and Bispham will first have to take down Ryan Bezer and James Trueman.
The entire Men’s B Doubles draw is available here.
Mixed B Doubles – Ladners, Shelleys and Bennetts make this a Family Affair
Six pairs are competing in this Mixed B Doubles draw. In a moment of beautiful history, three of these pairs are family members. They are all a parent-child pairing.
The top seeds are Dara Ladner and Beat Ladner. The Swiss duo could open against another family pair of Joanna Bennett and David Bennett. The British mother-son pair take on Susie Dilloway and Nick Rate in the opening round, with the winners advancing to take on the Ladners.
The other seeded pair is Jo Shelley and Kieran Shelley. The duo are set to face at least one British player in their opening match. That’s because Jane Galsworthy and Peter Browning are taking on Dianne Baker and Leigh Sands in the first round. The winner will advance to play Team Shelley.
It would be lovely to have an all-family final. The three other pairs will all be desperate to make sure that doesn’t happen.
The full Mixed B Doubles draw is available here.
Men’s C Singles – 23 Players Fighting in Action-Packed Draw
The Men’s C Singles draw is packed full of a delicious mixture of British players and travelling challengers. Three of those travellers – Patrick Bürgi, Thomas Vico and Christian Baus – are in quarter one. As the two seeds in this section, Bürgi and Vico have a bye through to round two.
Baus begins against Matthew Page, who won the Men’s C Doubles title in Sheffield earlier this year. Fierce young talent Chase Burgess is also in this quarter, taking on fellow Brit Justin Colver.
Quarter two also has two overseas players as the seeds. Germany’s Andreas Baumung and Switzerland’s Marc-André Rauber are the players in question, with Rauber opening against Duncan Marlow. Baumung awaits the winner of the all-British showdown between Rakesh Gupta and Sam Foster.
The third quarter is an all-British affair. Sheffield’s Men’s C Singles champion, Kieran Shelley, is the No.4 seed, with Ollie Barton the other seed in this section. Barton opens against Jordan Marcus, son of British great Jermaine Manners. Shelley will take on either Adam Turner or Justin Crowther.
Switzerland’s Beat Ladner disrupts the British party in the bottom half of the draw as the No.2 seed. Ladner will face either Nick Rate or Peter Crocombe while Cameron Leighton will take on the No.6 seed Ray Ryan for a spot in the quarter-finals.
The entire Men’s C Singles draw is available here.
Men’s C Doubles – Table Tennis Stars Leighton and Rate Team Up as Top Seeds
I don’t tend to make many predictions when doing previews but I will predict that Cameron Leighton and Nick Rate will not lose a table tennis set. The two talented table-tennis talismen are the top seeds in the Men’s C Singles and open against British U13 stars Daniel Austin and Charlie Hill.
There is plenty of intrigue in the other match in the top half as unknown pairing Arthur Olney and Henry Olney take on Ireland’s Daniel Long and Adam Turner.
There are further debuts in the bottom half as Csaba Kemecsei and Fahad Rana make their international racketlon debut. They begin their career against French pair Christian Baus and Thomas Vico.
Getting some practice in ahead of the World Championships, Ollie Barton and Chase Burgess are the No.2 seeds in the draw. They open against Peter Claxton – who last played in 2016 – and debutant Joe Lazell.
The full Men’s C Doubles draw is available here.
Mixed C Doubles – Delightful Depth as Four Pairs in Draw
It’s always great to see three Mixed Doubles categories at a World Tour event and that is exactly the case in Roehampton. It’s the German duo of Julia Schirutschke and Andreas Baumung who have the honour of being the top seeds in the four-pair draw.
They will open against promising junior Bethany Pye and current Men’s +65 Singles World Champion Julian Clapp. The other half of the draw is an all-British showdown. Cherisse Lau is the name known to racketlon regulars as the Girls U21 champion from Sheffield teams up with tennis star Jac Goodall. The duo will face Reka Kemecsei and Fahad Rana, who are both making their international racketlon debut.
The full Mixed C Doubles draw is available here.
Men’s D Singles – Debutant Delight
Eight unranked players. One title. A beautiful opportunity. A preview writers’ nightmare.
Peter Claxton is the only player to have played before, although he hasn’t been seen on the international racketlon circuit since 2016. For the others, it’s a great unknown.
Bankim Chandra will play Arthur Olney while Ireland’s Daniel Long – the only non-Brit in the draw – plays Louis Temple.
In the bottom half, Claxton will begin his return against Richard Davies while Fahad Rana takes on Henry Olney. Good luck to all of the players as they begin their international racketlon career. Someone will be leaving the Roehampton Club with a trophy!
The full Men’s D Singles draw is available here.
Juniors U13 Singles – Defending Champion Austin Back
Daniel Austin won the Juniors U13 Singles London Open singles title last year and is back to try and defend it. If he’s to do that, he’ll have to take out three other players in the four-player box league.
Harry Walker is the other British player competing. He’s making his international racketlon debut, alongside Ireland’s Oscar Long. The fourth player is Switzerland’s Julietta Dübendorfer, who has been competing for four years, most recently at this year’s Swiss Open.
Dübendorfer finished with a silver medal at the World Championships in the Girls U11 category last year and got a silver medal in the Women’s B Doubles last month in Zurich.
The full Juniors U13 draw is available here.
Juniors U16 Singles – Burgess and Barton Land in the Same Group
Daniel Austin is also back in action in the Juniors U16 Singles category as the top seed. However, his entry isn’t the biggest story from this draw. British doubles partners and U16 rivals Chase Burgess and Ollie Barton have both landed in Group B. The two have faced off in many UK Racketlon Tour finals but will not do so here. Ireland’s Oscar Long is the third player joining Barton and Burgess in Group B.
Group A features Daniel Austin, Matthew Ground and Ronnie Hickling. Austin is the known commodity and will be the favourite to advance, with both Ground and Hickling making their Racketlon World Tour debuts. The two group champions will advance to the final where they will face off for the title.
The full Juniors U16 Singles draw is available here.
Boys U21 Singles – Seven Brits Look to Take Down Top Seed Harca
There is no doubt that Austria’s Florian Harca is the top seed and favourite in the Juniors U21 Singles draw. The Boys Singles World No.2 won the Romanian Open Men’s Elite Singles title last year and is one of racketlon’s brightest young talents. He opens his campaign against squash specialist David Bennett.
The other match in the top half sees table tennis star Cameron Leighton take on debutant Louis Temple. Jamie Miles is the other first-timer in the draw. He begins his racketlon life against Ryan Bezer, the current Boys Singles World No.22.
Ross Wilson is looking to make it two Juniors U21 Singles titles on British soil this year after his triumph in Sheffield. If he’s to do that, he first needs to beat last year’s London Open Men’s C Singles champion, Anant Gupta.
The full Juniors U21 Singles draw is available here.
Girls U21 Singles – Lau vs. Pye for Glory
Speaking of players looking to win two U21 Singles titles on British soil, welcome Cherisse Lau. The Brit beat Alexandra Ogram in Sheffield earlier this year for the title. This time, it’s debutant Bethany Pye that stands in her way.
The full Girls U21 Singles draw is available here.
Men’s +40 Singles – Jordan and Lesser Set for Another Showdown
Death, taxes, and Ray Jordan facing Keith Lesser at least once every year. Those are the three certainties of life. The Racketlon stalwarts are back in the Men’s +40 Singles as part of a four-player box league battling for the title. Despite Jordan leading the head-to-head overall, it’s Lesser who has won their last two meetings.
They’re not alone in vying for the title though. France’s Thomas Vico and Poland’s Filip Cygankiewicz are joining them. Vico and Cygankiewicz have not faced either of the two Brits before, or each other, so it should make for an intriguing showdown when they face on the grass tennis courts at the Roehampton Club.
The full Men’s +40 Singles draw is available here.
Women’s +40 Singles – Dübendorfer the Top Seed in Five-Player Box League
Fresh from her Women’s +50 Singles and Mixed B Doubles crowns at last month’s IWT Swiss Open, Esther Dübendorfer is heading to London. The Swiss player headlines a Women’s +40 Singles box league that features four more familiar faces.
Dianne Baker is the most well-known name amongst the British crop, as one of Racketlon’s most well-travelled players. She is joined by relative newcomer Alice Flatman, Jane Galsworthy and Joanna Bennett. Their history on the Racketlon World Tour means that Dübendorfer is the player with the target on her back. She is the favourite and the player that all the Brits will be looking to beat.
The full Women’s +40 Singles draw is available here.
Men’s +45 Singles – Langston and Barton Lead Eight Player Monrad
Former World Seniors Champion Martyn Langston is the top seed in the Men’s +45 Singles draw that also features the likes of Mark Steeden and Giovanni Gentile. Langston won the Men’s +50 Singles title at this event in both 2019 and 2021, so is now challenging himself by dropping down an age class to take on some younger opposition.
First up for Langston is debutant Richard Davies before he’ll face either Rakesh Gupta or Giovanni Gentile. Gupta and Gentile have not faced each other before but it should be a fascinating showdown.
There’s a battle between two debutants in the bottom half of the draw. Either Bankim Chandra or Daniel Long is guaranteed a spot in a semi-final on their debut as they collide in round one. The final match is Mark Steeden against No.2 seed Peter Barton. The two should produce a bruising squash set as they battle to reach the semi-finals.
The full Men’s +45 Singles draw is available here.
Men’s +45 Singles – Clapp and King Back Together Once More
Julian Clapp and Graham King are becoming quite a familiar pairing. The duo first played together at the World Doubles Championships last year and then teamed up again earlier this year in Sheffield. Now they’re back and are the top seeds in the four-pair showdown.
King knows their first-round opponent well, as he takes on fellow Swiss players Giovanni Gentile and Beat Ladner.
Meanwhile, in the bottom half of the draw, Mark Steeden has teamed up with Denmark’s Thomas Larsen. The two racketlon regulars have an intriguing opening gambit against British debutants Jan Menneken and Andrew Wakely.
The full Men’s +45 Singles draw is available here.
Men’s +55 Singles – World Champions Larsen and Clapp in Action
Last, but certainly not least, we come to the Men’s +55 Singles draw. Just four players are entered into this category but, remarkably, we’ve got two current World Champions amongst them.
Julian Clapp is the current Men’s +65 Singles World Champion while Thomas Larsen won the Men’s +50 Doubles crown with Jakob Steinmetz in Prague last year. These two will meet on the singles court and will be joined by Ray Ryan and debutant Mark Young.
The full Men’s +55 Singles draw is available here.
The preview of the IWT London Open elite categories is available here.
Follow all the results from the IWT London Open here.
The rest of the 2022 FIR World Tour and Challengers are available to view here, with most of this year’s tournaments open for entry.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Rene Zwald/Jonas Von Sachs