Racquetball is just a fast-growing sport that is currently known as the “fitness of the future” and has not hit mainstream yet.
Today, if you would ask who was the best racquetball player of all time, you would likely get a few different answers, as there have been some great players to play men’s professional racquetball. You would hear “Marty ‘Smokin’ Hogan,” “Cliff Swain,” “Sudsy Monchik, or “Kane Waselenchuk.”
Going forward, Kane Waselenchuk (Edmonton, CAN) is a name most people will be talking about as the “Best Racquetball Player of All Time.” more and more for a long time to come.
Kane has four world championships that have come in a time frame when he was suspended for two years from the game, but after serving his suspension he started the 2008/2009 season right where he left off….winning events.
This time he would win events in dominant fashion. He went on a rampage and beat handily just about everyone who stood in his way to take back what he believes to be his: the #1 ranking title.
At the very first big event of the season at a "Grand Slam event," the Motorola World Championships in Denver, CO, Kane had to make it through three rounds of qualifying before taking on the best of the world. He would enter the event unranked because he hadn’t competed in a major event in two years, and this would cause him to play into the very top players.
Kane would prove this to be an easy task as he gave up only 19 points through qualifying rounds.
This warrior then went on to take out the #2 ranked Jack Huczek in four games and #3 ranked Alvaro Beltran in three games before beating then #1 ranked player Rocky Carson in five games.
The only other player to win an event as a qualifier is six-time world champion, Cliff Swain.
At the following “Grand Slam event” Kane would make history winning his fourth career US OPEN title, becoming the second player ever to do so. He now has a career US OPEN record of 34 wins and only three losses. Sudsy Monchik was the first player to win four US OPEN titles.
Last weekend on May 9th, Kane Waselenchuk completed the Triple Crown of racquetball at the 2009 Motorola IRT Pro Nationals Racquetball Championship presented by Verizon Wireless in Chicago at Navy Pier. He won his third grand slam for the 2008-09 season. Another historical accomplishment as he is the only player to ever do so.
Now that the dust has settled on the IRT Pro Racquetball Tour, the amazing season produced by Kane can be placed in its proper perspective.
The world number one was almost perfect en route to three grand slam titles and seven tier-one titles in eleven events.
Kane, playing for Pro Kennex Racquetball and representing his clothing company Krowning Moment, threatened most of the season to finish perfect, winning his first 33 matches before losing his first match to Mexico’s all-time best player playing for Gearbox, Alvaro Beltran, at the California Open in January 2009.
Kane would continue where he left off, winning the last four events of the season going 16-0 and now has the all-time best season winning percentage, dethroning the legendary Marty “Smokin’ Hogan. Kane went 49-1 for the 2008/2009 season, overtaking Marty Hogan’s one-loss season in 1977-1978 when his record was 44-1 in National Racquetball Club (NRC) events.
Even Marty agrees that Kane’s astonishing season is pure domination. After winning nine out of ten events, Mr. Hogan said, “That is some serious domination! He is an all time great player in his prime!”
Kane would continue and win ten out of eleven.
When asked what he thought about Kane Waselenchuk’
Kane’s Coach, Jim Winterton, mentions, “Every time Kane goes on the court, fans are going to be witnessing something special.”
“We (Mike Martinez, his wife Kim, and myself) talked about this--the crowd does not know what to do. They are in shock. They see at least two to three "Did I just see what I thought I saw?" shots per match. Shock and Awe describes a Kane match. He is the greatest player to ever play and I saw them all.”
Coach Winterton continued describing what made Kane different from the rest of the pros.
“First, his desire to learn and improve.”
“Second, his mechanics and footwork are as close to perfect as you can get.”
“His court intelligence is amazing. What Shakespeare was to writing, Kane is to racquetball. The creativity is amazing. I saw him, after a two-year layoff, take a forehand about mid court and where most players would have hit a traditional forehand, he went to his knees and hit an overhead so his opponent would have to take the ball chest high; I mean who else would think or be able to react like that?”
“And many more.” Coach finished.
He and his coach, Jim Winterton, have trained to achieve great heights, but four-time world champion winner Waselenchuk believes there is more to improve. He believes he is not at 100% of his potential.
“I feel I am at 70% of my maximum potential. I feel there is always more to learn and I will continue to learn through my entire career.”
Kane continues as to why he trains to be the greatest: “In the belief and desire to always challenge myself and never settle for mediocrity.
“I can just say that my personal expectations are to continue to learn, improve, and place myself in a position to be the greatest player ever to play the game. I will strive to bring this sport to a level no one has ever seen.”
The prospect of the world number one getting even better is the last thing his competition needs to hear.
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