Chris Hanson hoisted the S.L. Green U.S. Men’s Championship trophy for the first time in his career after a four-game, hour-long final against eighteen-year-old Andrew Douglas Saturday night at Philadelphia Cricket Club.
Fourteen of the draws at the 106th National Singles are reaching their conclusions tomorrow, but as is now traditional, the finals of the fifteenth draw, the S.L. Green—the men’s open draw—finished tonight.
The Philadelphia Cricket Club gallery hosted an overflow crowd who were treated to one of the most stunning results in tournament history, in which a first-time champion was guaranteed.
It was the twenty-six-year-old from Greenwich, Connecticut, that came out on top 11-6, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, after sixty-two minutes to claim the men’s national title.
“It feels great, I’m kind of speechless at the moment,” Hanson said. “That’s some of the best squash I’ve played. Credit to Andrew, coming out this weekend while still playing juniors, and to play like he did this week is incredible. I had to play some of my best squash to beat him. This is honestly one of the best moments of my life right now.”
The world No. 78 celebrated the victory with his family, friends and coach Rodney Martin.
“I wouldn’t be here without my family and my girlfriend, I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” Hanson said. “Last of all, I owe all of this to my coach Rod Martin. He’s like a father to me, and I wouldn’t be here without him.”
Hanson dealt with an injury-ridden 2016, which kept him out of the 2016 S.L. Green draw, and the PSA Tour for much of the season. Hanson is supported by the US Squash Elite Athlete Program.
“It was a tough year, I’m glad it’s 2017 now,” Hanson said. “Thanks to everyone who supported me along the way, everyone at US Squash, who supported me the whole way in my recovery. I feel like I’m back, and this is the perfect way to start my year.”
Since the National Singles was begun in Philadelphia in 1907, no Dartmouth graduate has ever won the men’s open singles title. Hanson, class of 2013, becomes the first Dartmouth player to win any open national title since Dick Remsen ’42 won the National Doubles with Germain Glidden in 1952. It is especially poignant for the Big Green squash program because Remsen just died three weeks ago at the age of ninety-six.
Hanson is the fourth S.L. Green Champion since 2013, which included this weekend’s top two seeds and semifinalists, Chris Gordon and Todd Harrity.
The men’s open draw has been called the S.L. Green since 1990 when New York developer Steve Green generously donated prize money for the division.