Racquetball pros come to Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local racquetball players will get a chance to test their game against the world's top pros this week. Fresno's Sierra Athletic Club will host an International Professional Racquetball(IRT) event this week.

Matt Barserian of Fresno may be the Valley's best bet to advance in this week's pro tournament. Matt's played in many pro/am events and he knows this is a rare opportunity.

Barserian said, "It's kind of a surreal moment because you're playing in front of your home crowd. The top pros are the top pros for a reason. I'm very excited. Obviously I feel like I'm prepared."

Fresno is ready to host the world's top racquetball players. $20,000 in prize money is at stake. $3500 goes to the winner. Elite players get sponsor bonuses for winning.

IRT president Jason Mannino said, "The top ten players in the world can actually play for a living. Then once you get outside the top ten typically those guys also do racquetball for a living but typically they're a club pro somewhere. They teach lessons and clinics and camps."

The popularity of racquetball peaked in the 1980's. The pro game today is much faster.

Tournament director Nancy Feramisco said, "I'd say the biggest difference between like a good open player and a pro is the kill shot, the splats and the dives."

Barserian added, "There's a lot of the shots that they hit that recreational players just can't fathom."

Top pros from Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica will compete in the tournament which goes through Saturday.

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