We have often been asked to come up with the list of best players of all time across sport and we thought this was a good time to bring out a list of the best racquetball players of all time.
For a sport like racquetball which has been around since 1950, it’s not easy to prune the list down to just a handful of players, but those mentioned below have definitely some of the best in the business.
Please note there might be a few other excellent racquetball players who probably didn’t go pro and unfortunately it’s tough to include them in this set of racquetball.
We would be happy to have a discussion about it and may be even tweak things around if we are convinced but in its own way it’s tough to do that given there’s very little video evidence from the times gone by.
11 Best Ever Male Racquetball Players of All Time List
If you are looking for a quick perusal of our list of the best men’s racquetball players of all times, here’s our list:
- Kane Waselenchuk
- Marty Hogan
- Sudsy Monchik
- Jason Mannino
- Cliff Swain
- Daniel De La Rosa
- Rocky Carson
- Jack Huczek
- Alvaro Beltran
- Mike Ray
- Mike Yellen
So why are these some of the best racquetball players in the world? What have they done to deserve this accolade?
We explain further.
In many of the other sports, like tennis, the discussion around GOAT, or the Great Of All Time has often proved to be inconclusive. Tough, at least at the moment, to discern between Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer now, right?
That’s not the case with racquetball with Kane Waselenchuk taking the cake here and eating it too.
There’re not too many records in the racquetball annals that do not belong to Waselenchuk and that’s despite been out of sport for a bit because of an doping ban.
In a sport which has just one Grand Slam every year – unlike tennis which has four – Waselenchuk has won 15 such titles in his career as on December 2022.
To give you a perspective of brilliant that record is, the next best in that list of most Grand Slams won has four titles to his name. Again, not to forget, Waselenchuk was absent in two of the seasons.
Canadian-born Waselenchuk also holds the record for the most successive match wins in the history of racquetball – and probably in all sports – having not lost a match over a streak of 134 matches. It was spread across three years.
Interestingly, Waselenchuk was also involved in another streak of 100+ wins in the three years between 2013 and 2016 and then won 83 in a row between 2016 and 2019.
As on December 2022, Waselenchuk has 124 title victories under his belt too, which trumps the next best by over 50 wins.
Truly, the GOAT of men’s racquetball.
Had it not been for Waselenchuk, Marty Hogan could well have earned the title of the greatest racquetball player of all time.
Hogan’s time was before Waselenchuk’s, with the American having played played for 14 years between 1976 and 1990. What makes his foray into racquetball rather spectacular is he was among the top two ranked player in those years he played.
To add to that, Hogan also captured more than 100 tournament victories and doing so at a time when the sport wasn’t quite as popular as it is today makes it that much more special.
In fact, Hogan could well be responsible for having changed the way the game was viewed and perceived by fans around the world, forcing to make it more professional than when he had begun playing.
Technically, Hogan’s contribution to racquetball was the power he displayed with the American’s serve speeds surmounting the kinds that had been on display before that.
Hogan is said to have been the first racquetball player to have hit the million-dollar revenue mark.
Sudsy Monchik makes it to this list as one of the best players of all times despite his relatively short racquetball career. The American became famous for his powerful backhand, which was said to be the best in the business.
His speed and power gave him a strong edge over his opponents and according to some experts, a longer career in the sport would have seen him emulate someone like Waselenchuk.
Mondchik did not have a very long career because of a back injury that forced him to retire after playing just seven seasons. However, that was enough time for Monchik to win 43 titles.
Together with his four US Open titles – between 1996-97 and 2002-03 – which made him the only player other than Waselenchuk to win it more than twice so far, Monchik also finished the season as a world number one on five different occasions.
Having begun his career in 1995, Jason Mannino is one of the very players to have finished in the top 10 of the official racquetball rankings on a record 15 occasions. Only four other players at the time of writing have that kind of a career record.
Mannino, who had suffered a terrible car accident even before his racquetball career got going, went on to win two US Open titles – one in 1999 and the second in 2006.
The USA Racquetball Hall of Famer opted not to use drive serves and was more reliant on the half lob ones. He was also known to not give up very easily, diving to get to the ball to keep it going and frustrate opponents into working hard for every point.
Cliff Swain began his racquetball career in the early 1980s and for 20 of the first 22 years he was a part of the circuit, he finished in the top 10 of the racquetball rankings. The two years he wasn’t a top 10 player was when he had opted to take up tennis as a professional.
Swain also finished as the world number one in six of those years, making him one of only two players to do that more than five times – Waselenchuk was the only other player.
A two-time winner of the US Open, Swain had a very aggressive serve and played with some of the highest intensity one could find on court.
Swain has also been involved in racquetball coaching, having also set up his own company in 2014 which sells his signature racquetball racket and also provides coaching videos on racquetball.
Daniel De La Rosa
One of the few players outside of the USA to make this list, Daniel De La Rosa became the first Mexican player to win a racquetball Grand Slam when he clinched the US Open title in 2021.
That made him one of just seven players in the history of racquetball to win this competition (at the time of writing). He was also a finalist at two other US Open Championships, losing to Kane Waselenchuk in 2015 and 2018.
Other than that, De La Rosa has also won gold medals at the World Championships, clinching the 2018 doubles top prize and 2022 doubles and team gold.
A multi-discipline sportsman as a kid, Rocky Carson finally took to racquetball and as in December 2022 has finished in the top 10 of the racquetball rankings on a whopping 22 occasions.
The only other player to have done this at least 20 times is Cliff Swain with even Waselenchuk finishing his career on 18, underlining Carson’s talent and longevity.
Twice in his career, Carson ended the season as the number one player. With 20 titles under his belt and medals at five Pan American Games, there’s every reason to believe Carson is probably one of the five best racquetball players of all times.
- Jack Huczek: A three-time IRF World Champion and a season-ending world number one in 2006-07.
- Alvaro Beltran: Mexican player who has won both, singles and doubles title at the Racquetball World Championships. Finished in the top 10 of the rankings 18 times at the end of the season.
- Mike Ray: Has ended the season as a top-10 player on 12 occasions including once, in 1990-91 as the world number one.
- Mike Yellen: A 10-time top-10 player at the end of the season, Yellen has also been the world number one on a whopping five occasions.
Final Word on the Best Racquetball Players of All Time
Some of the best racquetball players who have graced the court have been mentioned above but as far as the greatest of all times is concerned, there is no getting away from the fact that title goes to Kane Waselenchuk.