Altmann Steals the Show!

As the 2007 German Open finished today after three intense Racketlon days in the Rüsselsheim "Freizeitoase" sportcenter the winners in the three main events were from Sweden (Men's Elite), Germany (Ladies' Elite) and Germany again (Veterans' Over 45). And it was probably Silke Altmann in the Ladies' class that stole the show in the end. She managed to outmanouvre, not only the world no.2 (Martina Kakosova) in the semifinal, but also the current world no.1 Susanna Lautala-Näykki in a very dramatic final that ended when she got 7 points in the tennis at 7-20, meaning an overall victory by 2 points only.

The Men's Elite ended according to expectations with a victory for Sweden's world no.1 Magnus Eliasson, who had no problems with fellow countryman Christian Wall in the final. (Wall had to give up due to a calf injury half ways into the squash at a stage when he was behind by too many points to hope for recovery anyway.)

Eliasson - Wall +24 (21-10, 21-14, 11-5 Wall retired)

It was, in fact, in the semifinal against Austria's Michael Dickert that Eliasson became under the most pressure; Dickert started off by winning the table tennis quite easily 21-11 and after a very strong performance also in the badminton (winning 21-19) he was in the lead by 12 points before the squash. When he then got off to a very good start in squash, 3-0, it was getting really interesting! But Eliasson rarely disappoints and this time was no exception. He did lose as many as 13 points in the squash in the end but after a stable tennis performance (21-9) he still walked away with a safe +8 margin.

Eliasson - Dickert +8 (11-21, 19-21, 21-13, 21-9)

Wall's way to the final was more interesting, given his victory over higher seed Elmar Schaub in the quarterfinal. It was probably the match of the tournament and a Gummiarm drama that it will be hard to forget any time soon! Wall won in a way that has become typical for him. By spectacular comebacks after slow starts in amost all sports; He won the badminton 21-14 after having been down 1-4 and leading tightly by 11-10. He won the squash 21-11 after 6-6 and 10-8 and, most interestingly, he won the tennis 21-19 after having been down 9-16 (at which point he made 7 straight points to 16-16!) The set ended 21-19, which meant an equal score and a Gummiarm tiebreak. Wall won the toss and chose to receive. Schaub hit the serve into the net. And that was it. A Gummiarm victory for Wall in the quarterfinal. (For evidence of why all this is typical Wall remember his tournament victory in Gothenburg last year. See report.)

It is not a usual sight to see former tennis professional Wall in trouble in his specialist sport. He has never lost and Schaub's 19 is, in fact, the most anyone has ever received against him.

Wall - Schaub +1 (2-21, 21-14, 21-11, 21-19, 1-0)

The Veterans' Over 45 event saw Finland's Anders Lundström face Germany's Volker Sach. Lundström might seem like a new face to many but has probably played Racketlon much longer than anyone else around. He took part in the very first Racketlon event known to have taken place according to the format the FIR now defines as Racketlon (same four sports + same opponent in all four + every rally counts; see the rules introduction for the full definition). It was a tournament held in Helsinki, Finland, and attracted some 300 players. (At that time it was not known as "Racketlon", which is a Swedish - Peter Landberg - invention that emerged a few years later.)

The match between Lundström and Sach also goes down history as one of the more dramatic, charactarised by very long, slow, nervwracking rallies in the deciding tennis. Lundström had gained a 4 point advantage before tennis after an inspired 21-2 win in the squash and looked like a winner when he was behind by only one point in the tennis 14-15. At that stage, however, Sach pulled off a well-timed 4 winners in a row, which turned out to be a decisive move. The tennis ended 21-15 making Sach the winner with 2 points overall.

Sach - Lundström +2 (21-14, 21-13, 2-21, 21-15)

The organisation of this year's German Open ran friendly and smoothly which must be considered a great achievement given the fact that the organisation team was new to the task. And the ambition level was high - as clearly indicated by e.g. the large number of volunteers and the on-line scoring system with large displays borrowed from Sweden and first used at the Swedish Open last January. But the ambitions go even further; At the prize ceremony it was made official that Germany is an applicant for organising the 2008 Racketlon World Championships (that would then apparently be held at a sport center in Wiesbaden, which has not yet been used on the Racketlon tour). The only other known applicant at present is England, which should mean two very competent applicants for next year. Good news for Racketlon as a sport!


Results in summary from the 2007 German Open
(full results to be found on the tournament homepage, - Here is also the direct link to the results):

Magnus Eliasson (SWE WR1) - Oliver Zwiers (GER WR16) +20 (tt:21-19 ba:21-10 sq:21-14 te:2-2)
Michael Dickert (AUT WR5) - Henrik Håkansson (SWE WR17) +24 (21-7, 21-13, 21-19, -)
Christian Wall (SWE WR15) - Elmar Schaub (GER WR7) +1 (2-21, 21-14, 21-11, 21-19, 1-0)
Alexander Köpf (GER WR9) - Marcel Weigl (AUT WR3) +12 (23-21, 15-21, 21-14, 19-10)
Eliasson - Dickert +8 (11-21, 19-21, 21-13, 21-9)
Wall - Köpf +29 (21-17, 21-8, 21-9, -)
Eliasson - Wall +24 (21-10, 21-14, 11-5 Wall retired)

Susanna Lautala-Näykki (FIN WR1)-Karolina Pechova (CZE WR19)
Silke Altmann (GER WR4) - Martina Kakosova (CZE WR2)
Altmann - Lautala-Näykki +2 (21-14, 18-21, 21-11, 7-20)

Volker Sach (GER) - Anders Lundström (FIN) +2 (21-14, 21-13, 2-21, 21-15)