Johan du Randt and Mark Parsons Win Red Zone Invitational

Bertan Cikigil
April 17, 2012
Sleepy Hollow, NY

Red Zone ChampsThe long awaited and anticipated "Winner Take All, $1K" Sleepy Hollow Men's Paddle Invitational was finally staged April 14th at Sleepy Hollow Country Club, New York. Some of today's best-known male stars of the game—Johan du Randt, Mark Parsons, Juan Martinez-Arraya, Brad Easterbrook, Mike Gillespie, Max LePivert, Anton Mavrin, Sebastian Bredberg—participated in the professional division. 

An eight-team club player’s tournament ran concurrently. The NWPTL (Northern Westchester Paddle Tennis League) clubs—Seven Bridges, Pound Ridge, Waccabuc, Birchwood, Sleepy Hollow CC, Bedford GT and the town teams of White Plains, Sleepy Hollow and Briarcliff Manor—entered their top teams to try out Red Zone Paddle.

Red Zone Paddle uses a red rectangular target in the middle of the back screen on both sides of the court. A point is automatically won if the target is hit. (And a cowbell is rung in honor of the event.) This changes the game since the players have to defend the zone as well as try to hit the mark. The points are somewhat shorter and somewhat more creative than in regular platform tennis.

What made this particular gathering so special was the "marrying" of the new Viking low bounce ball with Red Zone Paddle itself.  From all accounts, it worked to perfection. This new ball is ideal for an extended season that lasts well into the warm days ahead (with or without Red Zone Paddle). 

Red Zone FinalistsAll Red Zone Paddle matches were two sets with a match tie-break instead of a third set when needed. The always-sponsored Red Zone Paddle professional tournaments provide prize money as well as sumptuous lunches, tournament favors, and paid travel expenses and no entry fees for players. The tournament's primary purpose is to offer an  enhanced spectator experience with a much greater spotlight on the nationally-ranked tournament players themselves. The tournament's main sponsors were FIC Capital, L.M. Waterhouse Co., Inc., and the Thomas E Hales Foundation.

In the semi-finals, Martinez-Arraya and Easterbrook bested Mavrin and Bredberg, 6-3, 6-2 and du Randt and Parsons defeated Gillespie and LePivert, 6-4, 6-3. In the finals, du Randt and Parsons prevailed over Martinez-Arraya and Easterbrook, 6-3, 7-6 (3) for the $1K.

Third place winners were Mavrin and Bredberg, beating Gillespie and LePivert in the tie-breaker.

The big winners of the NWPTL, Snider  and Brzov (tennis professionals themselves, just like all the aforementioned professional names), earned a "wild card" entry in the next Red Zone tournament.

2012 Red Zone PaddleThe creator of Red Zone Paddle and organizer of this tournament, Bertan Cikigil said, "We are indeed grateful to have these fantastic racquets men, with their fantastic past and present tennis backgrounds, enter the event. These guys have had ATP world rankings, Davis Cup participation, etc. Wow! All spectators were treated to watching a very exciting way of playing the game. Some even concluded that they were witness to the best display of paddle skills ever."

Cikigil and the sponsors feel that now there is a "road map" for a player-run mini tour. Watching the very best players, seeing exciting and shorter points invariably end with a winner, and shouting “More cowbell!” make Red Zone Paddle tournaments a blast to attend.

To see what Red Zone Paddle looks like (and hear the cowbell), check out www.redzonepaddle.com.

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