This post highlights some of the noteworthy news items for the LPRT this year. I periodically publish these items to this link:
So, if you want a trip down memory lane for the LPRT you can read that page from the top down. It isn’t comprehensive to the beginning of the tour in the detail captured recently … but it is built out pretty decently.
Here’s a quick summary of items of interest that happened on tour this year, to the tour itself or to its players. If you think I’m missing something, by all means let me know. This was a subjectively collected list of “news” items and I may have missed something worth capturing.
- 7/11/21: LPRT #1 Paola Longoria is heading to the Tokyo Olympics as a Sports Commentator for TUDN. She ends up doing sports broadcasting for the whole of the Olympics and misses the season opening tournament in Denver as a result.
- 8/23/21: Mattel Latin America included LPRT’s #1 Paola Longoria as one of three Latin American athletes to create Barbie doll likenesses for, in order to recognize Latin American athletes. Paola’s place in the landscape of sports media in Mexico continues to be strong.
- 10/2/21: Argentinian Natalia Mendez signs an agreement with Nike. It isn’t often we hear about our athletes signing with such a major brand.
- 10/11/21: Longoria takes her 11th US Open title, but not before an upset-laden tournament results in multiple top-8 seeds taken out in the 32s and 16s. Erika Manilla is the biggest shock, advancing out of qualifiers and into the semis despite never making a round of 16 previously.
- 1/17/22: Rhonda Rajsich is named the Mark Bingham Athlete of the Year for 2022.
- 3/6/22: Alexandra Herrera tops Longoria for the second final in a row, the first time Longoria has lost two finals in a row since Sept 2010. Is this the start of a new rivalry on tour?
- 4/10/22: PARC 2022 kicks off without a slew of major pro names, not the least of which was #1 Paola Longoria, who misses a “major” IRF event for the first time since 2014. Her absences are referred to vaguely as being due to a “lack of support” by the Mexican federation, and led to a significantly weaker Mexican team. The women’s singles is eventually won by Bolivian #5 Angelica Barrios over #3 Vargas in the final.
- 4/22/22: In the latest incident of Bolivian-born players lamenting the lack of support from their Ministry of sport, newly crowned PARC champion Angelica Barrios heavily criticizes the Bolivian organizations for promising and then reneging on financial support for Barrios, yet continuing to use photographs of her accomplishments with their logo attached. This comes hot on the heels of the Men’s PARC 2022 champion Conrrado Moscoso also criticizing the lack of support and possibly considering a switch to another country.
- 5/15/22: Longoria holds off Herrera in the final of the Sweet Caroline Grand Slam to reverse the trend of the last two events, and to seal the 2021-22 year end title, her 13th.
- 6/1/22: Herrera posts on social media herself in a walking boot: turns out she had a grade 2 ankle strain a couple weeks back but still traveled to Kansas City to compete in the Super Max. She forfeited out of singles early, but still managed to win the Doubles draw with Erika Manilla serving as a roving player. Herrera misses an opportunity to move up in the rankings ahead of the beginning of next season, but is still well positioned to challenge Longoria at the top in 2022-23.
- 6/10/22: Sunshine Arterburn makes history, becoming the first known transgender woman to compete on the LPRT. Arterburn previously competed as Michael Arterburn on the IRT as recently as Sept 2019, then began the transition process. She lost in the first round in both the pro and Open draws in Kansas City, both times ostensibly withdrawing with an injury.
- 6/11/22: Maria Jose Vargas plays the final event of the season 4.5 months pregnant. She takes an uncharacteristic loss early in the singles, but the bigger news will be her likely missing a good chunk of the 2022-23 season due to her expecting her 3rd child in the fall. This will have significant ramifications to the top of the tour, opening up some pathways for the current #3 ranked player.
- 6/11/22: Thanks to some major upsets at the SuperMax, three American women advance to the quarter finals for the first time since 2016.
- 6/12/22: Longoria wins the Kansas City Super Max 14,10 over Mejia, a rematch of last year’s final/upset win for Montse. It was a close match, with Mejia looking comfortable against the GOAT, but Paola ground out a win. This closes the book on the 2021-22 season.