Dear Readers of The Racquetball Blog, if you thought last week was busy with all the excitement around the Motorola Racquetball World Championships in Denver, well, that was just the start, my friends. This week there will be Tier I events on both the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) and Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) tour.
The men will play in the Kansas City Open, while the woman will be at the Mexico Open in Tijuana.
In fact, last week was the beginning of 6 tournaments in 7 weeks on the IRT. They'll play in Kentucky next week, and Edmonton, Alberta the week after before a one week break prior to the US Open in Memphis, which is immediately followed by the Chihuahua Campestre Open in Chihuahua, Mexico.
It'll be a grind, and fitness may become a larger factor in results as this period goes on. By the time they get to Memphis, the person who comes out on top may be the fittest, not simply the most talented.
The top 8 players have to play each Tier I event, but those outside the top 8 needn't. That non-requirement may give those players outside the top 8 an advantage in Memphis, if they don't play all four events prior to that, and use the time to recover from the events they do play.
The entry deadline for this weekend hasn't come yet, and there are some getting in at the last minute. There were only 11 players in the qualifying draw this morning, but this afternoon there are 18. Last week 39 players were in the qualifying draw.
Kane Waselenchuk, who complained of being tired following his victory in Denver, may be one of the players most affected by the heavy schedule as the season goes on, as he has to play qualifying matches to get into the main draw. How many matches depends on how many qualifiers there are and what Waselenchuk's ranking is, which will likely increase from one event to the next.
The WPRO tournament schedule is much more forgiving, as they are playing every two weeks leading up to the US Open. After this week's Tijuana event, they'll also be in Edmonton with the IRT on the second weekend in October.
After the US Open, the WPRO doesn't have another Tier I event until the Christmas Classic in Arlington, Virginia, December 12-14.
Before any of you Readers mention it, we will own up to an erroneous prediction last week when we said Jack Huczek was going to win in Denver, and acknowledge that you were right in predicting Kane Waselenchuk as the winner (though you predicted Rocky Carson too). That makes us 0-1 in IRT predictions and 0-2 overall, and you all 1-0 and 2-0, respectively - though you do have the habit of splitting votes and getting two choices - not that we're upset about THAT; no, no, not us.
We hope our predictions don't become a 'media curse' on players, although if that did seem to be happening, it would feed our delusions of power and influence. And we're definitely in favour of anything that does that.
Follow the bouncing ball....