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Ready to Rumble

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World’s Best Squash Players Ready to Rumble at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions

New York, NY, January 6, 2012.

“This is the deepest and most competitive men’s championship draw I have seen in the 15 years I have been organizing these championships in Grand Central Terminal,” said John Nimick, president of Squash Engine, Inc., the promoter of the 2012 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, as he announced the draws for the world’s largest spectator squash event. The men’s 32-player draw, a PSA World series event, features 24 of the top 25 world ranking players, with the remaining eight spots to be determined by a 32-player qualifying draw.

The J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions continues to live up to its name as all but one of its winners have been ranked #1 in the world. The 2012 draw features four returning titleholders – defending champion and 2008 winner Ramy Ashour of Egypt, England’s James Willstrop (2010), Frenchman Gregory Gaultier (2009) and Egypt’s Amr Shabana (2006,2007) – eager to add another coveted Tournament of Champions crown to their trophy case.

Three-timefinalist Nick Matthew, who was just displaced from his year-long perch at the top of the world rankings by countryman James Willstrop, will also be a serious title contender. Rounding out the top six seeds is former world #1 and three-time semifinalist Karim Darwish of Egypt. Julian Illingworth, the highest-ever ranking US player on the PSA tour, will take on another former world #1, Thierry Lincou of France, in the first round. The only player among the top 24 making his J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions debut is Aamir Atlas Khan of Pakistan, whose uncle Jansher Khan won the Tournament of Champions the first year it was contested in Grand Central Terminal.

Former world #1 Rachael Grinham of Australia is the top seed in the 16-player WISPA-sanctioned women’s draw. Second seed is her sister Natalie, on the comeback trail after the birth of her son in 2010. Six-time US National Champion Latasha Khan of Seattle will play eighth seed Nour El Tayeb of Egypt in the first round, while Connecticut’s Olivia Blatchford will take on seventh seed Dipika Pallikal of India.

Celebrating 15 years of competition in Grand Central Terminal, the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions is the focal point of Squash Week in New York City. Men’s qualifying matches will be played on January 18 and 19. The tournament activities will officially kick off with the Lexington Partners Legends Showdown, featuring past champions Peter Nicol and Jonathon Power competing on the glass court in Grand Central Terminal on January 19 at 7:30PM. Other activities during tournament week include the ToC Junior Invitational Tournament with the finals of all draws on the ToC Glass Court on January 22. NY Squash will host the Grand Open amateur tournament, a qualifying event for the US National Skill Level Championships. Participants from New York City urban youth enrichment charities StreetSquash, CitySquash and PowerPlay NYC, will participate in clinics with the tournament competitors on the ToC Glass Court.

The 2012 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions is supported by returning title sponsor J.P. Morgan, silver sponsors Lexington Partners, Sea Island, NBC Universal and Cayman Islands, and bronze sponsors Dunlop, Affinia, Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, Campbell Apartment, The Columbia University Center for Shoulder, Elbow and Sports Medicine, New York Life and the St. Giles Hotel. The official tournament charities are StreetSquash and CitySquash. The J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions is operated by Squash Engine, Inc. an affiliate of longtime management company Event Engine, Inc., the largest commercial squash promotional company in the world.