Tune into the live-stream here starting Saturday, 9/15 at 9AM CDT.
Last year, the highest ranked player of the tournament was Zhen (Eugene) Wang, Top 100 Men’s player in ITTF ranking at the time, who took home the grand prize as expected. This year we have even more resilient competition with JOOLA’s very own Thiago Monteiro from Brazil, who is currently ranked 108 in the world with a career high ranking of 59 in 2008. Who will emerge from this intense battlefield of champions to claim the Grand Prize of $3,700?
To get a better understanding of organizational and internal perspectives of this tournament, we spoke to Linda Leaf, the Tournament Director for the Badger Open.
JOOLA: How did you become an organizer of this table tennis event?
Linda: I guess you could say that I founded or started the Badger Open 11 years ago. It was the first and only 4 Star tournament in Wisconsin.
JOOLA: How do you feel about the status of the Badger Open within the US Table Tennis Community in the last couple years?
Linda: I am proud to say that the Badger Open has grown steadily. Several years ago, we had to move to a larger venue. We are now at the Milwaukee County Sports Complex and we have 50 tables. The Badger has also attracted more high-level players.
JOOLA: How do you feel about this year’s open and what can we expect to be different this year?
Linda: We are very delighted that Thiago Monteiro from Brazil will be competing. He is rated 2741 and is a very exciting player. A player like Thiago will really shake things up in the Open. The Badger always offers great prize money, especially in the Open. First place is awarded $3,700. The Badger always offers some fun events too. In addition to the Recreation event, we will have a Family Doubles. Also, one fun event only at the Badger is the “Beat the Serve” contest, which we do immediately before the finals in the Open. This year we are following JOOLA’s lead and also will be doing a mini table table tennis competition using JOOLA mini tables. JOOLA did this at the US Nationals and it was widely popular!
JOOLA: How many people are predicted to attend (players and audience)?
Linda: We hope to reach the 300 players total that we obtained last year. And a couple hundred Milwaukee residents always turnout to watch the exciting competition.
JOOLA: How do you feel about JOOLA being this year’s sponsor?
Linda: We are delighted to have JOOLA sponsor the Badger. JOOLA tables are top notch and the JOOLA staff cannot be more helpful. JOOLA is a great partner and innovative in their approach and dedicated to building table tennis.
JOOLA: If you had to tell someone who has never attended the Badger Open 3 things about the event what would they be?
Linda: You will see some of the best players in the US competing; in addition to serious competition, the Badger Open offers fun activities and a free lunch for players; and an on-time tournament with experienced and friendly staff.
We thank Linda for giving us a look into the internal aspect and history of the Badger Open. It’s clear that this year will be an exciting event, and JOOLA is looking forward to being a part of it!
If you are interesting in signing up for the 2018 Badger Open, follow the LINK BELOW and ENTER!