There is a difference between being the best squash player in the Capital District and being the best squash player in the world.
Albany area champion Kyle Sleasman learned that fact when he took on former world No. 1 John White in last Friday’s opening round of the Albany Open at Siena College. Though Sleasman put up a good fight, White still won the best-of-five match 11-5, 11-7 and 11-9 to advance to the second round.
“He’s just able to put amazing pressure on you, and I was really fatigued,” said Sleasman, who had a 5-1 lead in the third game before White pulled out the victory. “That’s all it takes.”
Sleasman and his older brother, Dan, represented the region at the Albany Open – one of the last stops on this year’s Pro Squash Tour. Dan lost to Guyana national squash team member Robert McDavid in three games in his opening round match.
“I treated it like any other match, but I quickly learned that it wasn’t like any other match,” said Dan Sleasman, who coaches the Siena College squash team with Kyle. “I played a guy with extraordinary talent, and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
“He was very tough,” said McDavid, who coaches Vassar College’s squash team. “He’s the same as me. I’m coaching in a small town (Poughkeepsie). I’m not getting as much action as I had been.”
The Sleasman brothers acted both as competitors and ambassadors during the three-day tournament that took place at Siena and Albany’s Fort Orange Club. When they weren’t playing, they helped Fort Orange Club squash director Steve Kuzman set up the rooms for spectators and watched the international field of pros play.
“Our goal is to get Albany on the map as a squash city, and having the Pro Squash Tour here is a great opportunity,” said Kyle Sleasman.