SDA Star Manek Mathur Incurs Possible Achilles Injury In Big Apple Open Final      
by Rob Dinerman

Dateline October 29, 2018 --- The final round of the 16th annual Big Apple Open, a major stop on the SDA pro doubles tour hosted as always by the New York Athletic Club in mid-town Manhattan, came to a saddening and screeching halt midway through the second game when Manek Mathur, the reigning two-time SDA Player of the Year and a member for the past three seasons of the SDA Doubles Team of the Year, incurred what appeared to be a significant injury to his left lower calf or Achilles tendon and had to be helped off the court. Mathur and partner Chris Callis dominated the first game against their final-round opponents Bernardo Samper and Yvain Badan 15-5 and were leading 7-6 in the second when Mathur suddenly pulled up lame as he moved forward to retrieve a shallow Badan cross-court.

   Mathur entered the final having gone undefeated in SDA tournament play in more than two years, winning 18 consecutive tournaments and 63 straight matches with three different partners during the course of that considerable time span. The first 16 of those tournament wins were in partnership with Damien Mudge, who underwent major knee surgery this past August, which will sideline him until at least the early part of the Calendar 2019 portion of the schedule. Mudge attended tonight’s final and was sitting in the bench just behind the glass back wall of the NYAC doubles court. Ironically in light of how full of energy and health both he and Mathur were throughout their undefeated 2017-18 season, it was Mudge’s crutch that Mathur had to lean on in order to exit the court after incurring his injury. He was then attended to by medics who had swiftly been summoned by the host club, and his injury will be officially diagnosed and given the necessary treatment during the next few days.

   The evening, which began with a rousing pro-am final in which Clinton Leeuw and Dan Culliford barely emerged victorious in five games against Clive Leach (a two-time Big Apple Open champion) and Alan Kanders, had such a festive tone to it, and the pace and quality were so high throughout the 33 points that were played in the Pro final, that it seemed almost impossible to accept that it could all be truncated with such cruel abruptness by one capricious misstep taken by the best doubles player in the world at a time when he was playing at the very top of his game. The fervent hope is that Mathur will experience a full recovery and in due course be able to again illuminate the SDA tour with his charismatic personality and otherworldly talents.