- Freddy Ramirez
Professional Racquetball. Year End Momentum.
With some notable top ten players not making this one, the draw could look pretty interesting for match ups when you see who is and who isn't in the draw. Kane Waselenchuk won't be there. Tony Carson and Chris Crowther are both no shows also. It pretty much leaves things up to Rocky Carson and Alvaro Beltran to hold position in the front. I will add, I see Ben Croft who I think is better than his current ranking, at least playing on Saturday. And as for the number 4 and 5 spots, now would be a good time for them to make some noise this season.
I'm interesting in seeing US Open Semi-finalist Alex Landa and one of the World Racquetball Tour's top dogs Jake Brendenbeck attempt to work their way through the draw. Alex Landa looks set to meet the 209's Markie Rojas after he plays through his round of 32. Landa could easily be in the top 5 if he played more events. And watching how Brendenbeck does will be a good indication of how the WRT competition currently stacks up when it comes to competing with some of the IRT's key young players. (I'll be thinking this, and I don't think I'll be the only one.) Jake is set up to be able to meet Daniel De La Rosa in the 16's. This will be a test for both players. For Daniel, it will be a test of being where he supposed to be as a top 5 ranked player. This match won't make the Network stream though, because Rocky will be playing at the same time.
The New Jersey Open is an intimate event because the view and access ensures getting up close and personal with the pros. It will close out 2014 for the IRT. Together with next month's New York Open, the two events will serve as an Eastcoast mid-season swing for the tour. I'd like to think, anything can happen.
Mentioning the women: The Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour is coming off of it's grandest event of the year. Paola is owning all of the momentum and the battling on court will be for second place and mid-pack standings. Kudos to the tour for making the stream of their events easily accessible. As it's great for the diehards (After the fact has been easier, because live streaming still is sometimes too glitchy.) Coming off of such a developed event in Mexico, there has to be some momentum, and it's time to use some of that momentum to start thinking more about how the brand looks. Get things looking better and more developed for those outside the diehard group, pointing to the value of the tour from something other than a top down view. Time to make investments.