German National Squash Champs  22-25 May 2015  Wurzburg  


Learning the Lingo:  "Vier beide" = "four all" ... "strafpunkt" = "conduct stroke"

#6: It's all in  the angle

A few weeks ago ASB's Peter Schmidl mentioned to me the possibility of enlarging the very small sidewall clear window that appears on some ASB courts, to allow photographers access to a different angle.

"Sounds good," I said, not really knowing if it would be any good or not, but lo and behold on this court in Wurzburg we have those enlarged slots.

After experimenting with it, you can definitely get some interesting angles, and reflections!

It maybe needs to be just slightly longer to be able to get some of the action near the service box - you can just see the darker strip of the normal wall on this shot.

Note - on this court there's a wiring tube going up the corner of the court that restricts access to the slot a little, so without that it may be better.

Of course, you have to be more patient, waiting for the players/action to be in the right area - especially for those 'along the tin' shots,  but the slots definitely get the thumbs up from me!

Now, I just need a (very small) clear slot at floor level on the tin to get some of those lovely low angles .... pretty please !!!

#5: It's all in the numbers

The Draws for the German Nationals follow a pattern that's unusual, to me anyway, in that they're totally pre-determined according to ranking.

So, in a 32-draw #1 plays #32, #2 plays #31, #3 plays #30, down to #16 plays #17 ... the magic number is 33!

That continues through the rounds so that the top seed always gets to play the lowest ranked player, eg in a 16 draw #1 plays #16, #2 plays #15 etc ( the magic number is 17), and in the quarter -finals it's #1 v #8, #2 v #7 and so on.

You can see the logic - you've earned that ranking so you reap the rewards, and Simon Rosner must love always getting the easiest draw ("I never actually thought about it that way, he said, that's just the way it is!").

If you're in the middle of the draw you get a chance to play those closest to you, which can only be good, but if you're near the bottom you're probably going in with little or no prospect of advancing or improving.

Apparently the rankings and the system are used in all of the tournaments that go towards generating the German rankings, and people do end up playing the same opponent time after time - which probably isn't a good thing.

According to former National Coach Barry Dodson, the system was introduced a few years ago to take away the possibility of any manipulation of the draws, and it served that purpose.

Barry thinks it's time for a change to the more usual flexible type of draw ("you could do public draws over the internet, if 'rigging' is still a worry," he says), and although it's none of my business, I agree.

Learning the Lingo: "Satz Ball" = "Game Ball", "Spiel Ball" = "Match Ball" (yes, 'Spiel' = 'Game')

#4: An Englishman Abroad ... well, not quite!

What's a name like "Nicholas Wood" doing in the German Nationals draw, you might ask.

Well, I found out when said player asked me "what will it take to get my photos on SquashSite?" (in a perfect English voice, I might add).

"A kettle and a story," was the obvious reply [typically for Europe, no tea-making facility in hotel room, and I forgot my travel kettle!].

So ... It turns out that Nick's Dad, an Englishman, came to Germany with work, met and married Nick's soon-to-be Mum, and stayed.

In 1982 he opened the first Squash Club South West Germany and Nick, born in 1984, was naturally brought up with a squash racket in his hand.  He has dual passports, but has spent the vast majority of his life in Germany.

He progressed as a junior, living and playing in Mannheim and playing for B&W Worms, but gave up the game for a a while with work commitments before starting to play again five years ago.

"I just wanted to try to be the best I could," explained Nick. "I met up again with Barry Dodson, who was my coach as a junior, started training and I just couldn't stop, I wanted to see how far I could go.

"I made the top 20 in Germany, played in the Bundesliga, and today was my first ever match on a glass court, a dream come true really!"

Nick lost that match, but that's not the point. Seeded 19, he's in the 17-32 playoff draw ...

here's his results 

Learning the Lingo: "Let" = "Yes Let", "Kein Let" = No Let", "Ball an ..." = "Stroke to ..."

#3: Learning the (ref's) Lingo

Having travelled the world covering squash, you get used to all the Referee's calls being in English, the only problem being to understand some of the accents.

But here, it was a bit of a rude awakening watching the first match when the referee's first call was what sounded like "Aushlag Vetzel" (not the correct spelling, I'm sure, but I have to own up that the only exam I ever failed was my German 'O' level some 45 years ago).

Quickly enough you realise that that's the German for "Hand Out".

And then someone tells you that literally it means "Change of Service", which makes sense, of course as "Hand Out" doesn't really mean much to me either!

Google translate to the rescue

Anyway, take this as the first instalment of "how to referee in German", we'll throw in more terms as we go along ...

Learning the Lingo:  "Doppelt" = "Not up", "Tief" = "Down", "Fuss Fehler" = "Foot Fault"


#2: Revenge is a dish best eaten Cold

Nine years is a long time to wait for revenge, but that's how long Simon Rosner had to wait to get his own back on Patrick Gassler !

It was 2006 when the last played a proper match, in the Bundesliga final.

Simon was playing for Paderborn, Patrick for Stuttgart, second on at number three and Patrick took the honours that day, 3-0 with Stuttgart going on to take the title.

Not only was that disappointing for Simon, it was also the last time he lost to any German player!

So, with Steffen Rosner (yes, Simon's dad) instrumental in organising this tournament, Patrick was given the wildcard entry which, means that he took the #32 spot in the draw which pitted him in the first round against #1 ... you guessed it!

It was an entertaining match, enjoyed by both players and the sizeable crowd, swelled by local TV come to witness it too, and although Patrick managed to take the third game there was only ever going to be one winner as Simon ran out the 3-1 victor.

"Sometimes you just have to be patient," laughed Simon after the match.

"I still remember that match well, we were closely ranked at the time but I was still expecting to win and it was a big disappointment to me, especially as we lost the match. I finally got my revenge though!"

Patrick was happy too:

"All credit to him, he's improved so much, and grown a bit too! It was a nice match, it was good fun and I really enjoyed it. It's certainly no disgrace to lose to the world number seven!"

#1: Welcome to TSC Heuchelhof

Welcome to the venue, Tennis and Squash Club Heuchelhof !

On the outskirts of Wurzburg, the club has bar and restaurant facilities, eight outdoor clay Tennis courts, and three indoor courts.

There are three glassback squash courts, two in a line and one on the other side with the bar - looks like a nice arrangement for club play, could be a bit hectic with three Nationals matches happening at once, we'll see!

And of course the hall which houses the indoor tennis courts has been populated with an ASB all-glass squash court with seating for 500, plus retail/refreshment areas.

All in all pretty impressive ... 

first impression photos in the Gallery

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