Perhaps you’ve seen some Racketlon games, or you have played it, but you want to know more about the sport. For instance; whose genius idea was it? How did they come up with the rules? How is the game managed? And so on. Well, you have come to the right place…
Racketlon has been around for about 40 years, and throughout its short life, compared to other sports, it has seen unprecedented growth. Countries have embraced the sport and developed managing bodies dedicated to supporting talent within the sport, as well as, to growing it.
National and international tournaments have already taken root in numerous countries, and the list continues to grow. If you are interested in joining in as a player or a dedicated fan, we will catch you up with all you need to know about Racketlon.
If you’re completely lost and don’t have any idea about Racketlon, do yourself a favor, and check the following clip.
Here is a list of fascinating facts about Racketlon that will add to your Racketlon knowledge vault. As a player and a fan, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of facts not many people know about the sport, and maybe win a Racketlon trivia game or two, and win the bragging rights as a Racketlon trivia pro.
These are 25 facts about Racketlon.
1. Racketlon wasn’t always called Racketlon.
The name Racketlon is relatively new. In the younger days, it was known as “mailapelit,” – racket games in Finnish. The name reflected its birthplace and the underlying idea of what the sport will entail.
Mailapelit is a name that captured the essence of what would later be known as Racketlon – a collection of four racket sports. From Mailapelit came a Swedish word Racketmasterskap meaning Racket Championships.
2. Racketlon is a compound word.
Racketlon comes from combining two words: “Racket” and “Athlon,” and it was invented and trademarked by Peter Landberg, a Swede who ran several racket tournaments in Stockholm.
Athlon, a Greek word meaning sport or contest was a perfect modifier to the word racket and put together, gave the sport its meaning. The name is inspired by other sports that combine a variety of sports into one, such as decathlon and triathlon.
3. The sport was a product of four people’s ideas.
The time period is the mid-1980s, and the location is Finland, where four individuals met together. One played table tennis, another played squash, the other badminton, and the last one tennis. Their mission was to combine their respective sports into one, and as a result, Racketlon was conceived.
4. The international governing body is called FIR.
In 2002, members of the Racketlon community founded the International Racketlon Federation. The federation was created with the goal of regulating the rules and organization of Racketlon tournaments worldwide.
Although the purpose remains the same, later, the name was changed from the International Racketlon Federation (in English) to French – Federation Internationale de Racketlon (FIR).
5. About 30 countries are registered with the FIR.
Currently, there are around 30 countries registered with the FIR. Each of these countries has created their own national Racketlon federations and participate in international competition. Given that the sport is growing rapidly, in popularity, we can expect to see this number to continue increasing.
6. One-third of FIR nation members are non-European countries.
Despite Racketlon’s roots in Scandinavian countries and Europe, in general, it has grown into countries outside this proximity. There are currently more than 10 non-European countries with national Racketlon federation. Is your country on the list? No? Perhaps they’ll soon join in.
7. The sport was born in Finland.
Racketlon was founded in Finland and later spread to surrounding countries, such as Sweden and Switzerland. The first competition was held in Helsinki in 1986, and from there, competitions outside the birth country began to emerge.
8. Stefan Edberg played Racketlon after retiring from professional tennis.
Stefan Edberg, a Swedish who once held the title of Tennis World number 1, began playing Racketlon upon retiring from professional tennis. His curiosity into the sport and years of experience in tennis allowed him to win the 2004 Vaxjo regional Racketlon Championships.
9. Fred Perry pioneered the sport.
It is said that Fred Perry was the first pioneer into experimenting with playing different racket sports. He managed to win World Table Tennis Championships, win Wimbledon three consecutive years, in addition, to several grand slam titles and international table tennis medals.
His excellence in multiple racket sports is, probably, what inspired the development of a single sport that would test skills on multiple racket sports.
10. The first tournament was held in 1989.
This first competition involving various racket sports was first held in Sweden in 1989, and it paved the way for the following year’s Swedish Championships which attracted over 200 players.
11. Peter Landberg is the man who made the sport official.
Swedish Peter Landberg is credited with organizing a number of racket sports competitions long before the sport acquired its current name and status on the world stage. He is known as Mr. Racketlon due to his efforts in advancing the game.
12. May is “What is Racketlon” Month.
In an effort to spread awareness about Racketlon, the FIR has established May to be “What is Racketlon” month and has called on to Racketlon enthusiasts to share the passion with others in their communities.
13. The first ever International competition was held in 2001.
The Racketlon World Open held in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2001, was the first ever international competition. It brought together players from surrounding European countries to compete, and at the end, the biggest contenders were the Finns and the Swedes.
14. The Finnish Racketlon team was the first ever international tournament winner.
In the 2001 World Open, in Sweden, the Finnish team emerged victorious, cementing their legacy in the sport as the first-ever international competition victors.
15. The FIR World Tour has about 20 tournaments worldwide.
The Racketlon World Tour is a collection of international tournaments held in various countries. At the moment, there about 20 tournaments held in 14 countries in Europe, South America, The United States, and Thailand.
16. The sport is played from the smallest racket to the largest.
A Racketlon game is played set by set, from the smallest racket sport, table tennis, to the largest, tennis. Each sport gets a set of 21 points (11 for doubles), and the winner must win by a two-point margin. In the end, the player/team that gets the most amount of points, in all four sets, wins the game.
17. The tie-break point is called a Gummiarm Point.
Gummiarm means rubber arm in Swedish, and this was the term used to describe the tie-breaking point. In Racketlon, to break a tie after the four sets, players must play a single point in tennis, and the winner of that point wins the entire match.
18. Current Racketlon rules were amended by the FIR in 2019.
The current regulation rules around Racketlon were passed by the FIR in February 2019. These are the most recent ratified rules and regulation that define appropriate action during gameplay.
Given that the sport is growing internationally, as well as, internally, constant change is to be expected as the officials learn and modify the game, based on accumulating experience.
19. The official Racketlon logo was first used in 1990.
The Racketlon logo, as we know it, has been around since 1990, and it was used in the first Swedish Racketlon Championships. It features silhouettes of various players with the four different rackets used in the four sports included in Racketlon. The logo is co-owned by Lennart Eklundh and Marcel Weigl.
20. The sport has received extensive support from individual racquet sports.
The sport’s growth is owed, also, to the support from individual racquet sports, such as squash and badminton.
In an effort to increase international awareness, individual racquet sports promote Racketlon to players, as the ultimate test of skills for any racquet player, as well as, a friendly competition to see which particular sport would produce the best all-around player.
21. The first ever Racketlon World Open attracted players from 7 countries.
Seven countries joined each other in Gothenburg, Sweden in the 2001 World Open tournament. These countries were Finland, France, Germany, Scotland, Bulgaria, England, and the hosts, Sweden.
22. A former tennis world champion competed in the first ever Racketlon World Open.
Having a former high-profile tennis player take part in the sport was a highlight of the first-ever Racketlon World Open in 2001. Jan Apell, a lefthanded former Swedish tennis player, took part in this event. He had over 9 doubles ATP tournament titles, in addition, to a sweep in the Swedish professional tennis records.
23. The first tournament outside Scandinavia took place in Scotland.
The sport took off to a new level, in 2002, when the Scottish Open was announced. This was the first ever international competition to take place outside Scandinavian countries. Numerous players from several countries came together for this event, and Scandinavian players gave their utmost support to this development.
24. The Gummiarm rule was introduced at the Scottish Open.
In 2002, the Gummiarm rule was included at the Scottish Open Championships. The championship was to be a trial on whether this new approach to tie-breaking would be effective. The term Gummiarm is Swedish for rubber arm, and the term Gummiarm rule was coined by Phil Reid, the Scottish Open Manager.
25. A French man was the first non-Scandinavian player to break into the world top 10.
Because the sport gained high traction first in Scandinavian countries, players in those countries had longer time training and developing their skills.
For newer entrants to the sport such as France, catching up and winning against a Scandinavian country was a huge feat. In the 2002 English Racketlon Open, a French player, Nicolas Sene, was able to achieve the No.10 spot in the Racketlon world ranking.
And there you have it! From the history of the sport’s development to the evolution of rules, as well as, to its international growth. Whether it’s to sharpen your knowledge about this up-and-coming sport or to become a better-informed player, we hope you find this post helpful.
Keep in mind that the sport is rather young, and there hasn’t been much in terms of records such as shortest or longest matches, record holders, and so forth; nevertheless, the growth trajectory worldwide is indicative of development in these areas.