World’s Greatest Squash Stars Will Light Up Grand Central Terminal
“The action on the glass court in Grand Central Terminal at the 2014 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions will be electrifying,”
said John Nimick, president of Squash Engine, Inc., the tournament promoter, as he announced the draws for the world’s largest spectator squash event. “Virtually all of the world’s top-ranking men’s and women’s players are entered, representing 23 nations and six continents. In the men’s draw, we have five returning titleholders in the hunt for the title – all of whom have been ranked #1 in the world. Nicol David, the Malaysian superstar who has been ranked #1 in the WSA Women’s World Tour rankings world for the past seven years, will be making her ToC debut.”
The men’s 32-player draw, a Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Series event, features 23 of the top 24 world ranking players and one wild card entry. The remaining eight spots will be determined by a 32-player qualifying draw.
The women’s 16-player draw, a Women’s Squash Association (WSA) Gold event, has the top 11 ranking players and a wild card entry. The qualifying tournament, which will determine the remaining four main draw spots, features 12 of the remaining top 24 players and four local players.
Headlining the supremely talented roster of top contenders in the PSA men’s draw is defending champion and three-time ToC titleholder, 26-year-old Ramy Ashour of Egypt, who became the youngest Tournament of Champions winner when he won the title in 2008 at age 21. Ashour, ranked #1 in the world since May 2012, will be supplanted in January at the top of the rankings by 2012 ToC champion Nick Matthew. The 33-year-old Englishman will be carrying into the ToC the momentum of a brilliant year end success which saw him win the World Open for the third time in November and capture his first Hong Kong Open title in December.
Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the 2009 ToC champion who went toe-to-toe with Ashour in the five- game 2013 ToC final, has been ranked #2 since June 2013 and defeated Matthew to win the 2013 US Open title in October. Mohamed El Shorbagy, the 22-year-old Egyptian, served notice in 2013 that he will be a title contender. He notched victories over higher ranked players Matthew, James Willstrop and Karim Darwish en route to two PSA titles and his highest world ranking, #4, in December.
Rounding out the top six seeds are two former world #1 players, England’s James Willstrop, the 2011 ToC champion and Egypt’s Karim Darwish, who has been a top 10 player since October 2007. Princeton University graduate Todd Harrity, the first American in 21 years to win the US Intercollegiate Singles Championship when he took that title in 2011, will receive the tournament’s wild card entry.
Nicol David, who has maintained the #1 WSA world ranking since January 2006, will be the odds on favorite to claim the ToC title in her inaugural appearance at Grand Central. The 30-year-old Malaysian won five of the eight WSA tour events she played in 2013. Laura Massaro of England, ranked #2 since March, defeated David twice in 2013, winning the CIMB KL Open and the Allam British Open. Third-ranked 24-year-old Raneem El Weleily of Egypt is a two-time World Junior Champion who defeated David in the year’s first tournament. England’s Alison Waters, Frenchwoman Camille Serme and Joelle King of New Zealand complete the top six seeds. Former US champion Latasha Khan of Seattle, Washington has the wildcard entry, while two-time intercollegiate champion and former world junior champion Amanda Sobhy of Seacliff, NY will play the qualifying draw.
Celebrating 17 years of competition among the world’s best squash players 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 15 and 16; women’s qualifying matches will be played January 18 and 19. From January 17-19, 2014, the Grand Open tournament, presented by NY Squash and a qualifying event for the US National Skill Level Championships, will feature more than 200 amateur players competing at several NYC squash clubs. Participants from New York City urban youth enrichment charities StreetSquash and CitySquash will participate in clinics with the tournament competitors on the ToC Glass Court.
Tickets range in price from $8 to $170 and may be purchased at www.tocsquash.com.
J.P Morgan, a global financial services company, is returning as the Platinum title sponsor of the tournament for the sixth year. Lexington Partners, a sponsor for 15 consecutive years, is the event’s Gold sponsor for the sixth year. Comcast l NBC Universal and S&P Capital IQ, (a division of McGraw Hill Financial) are Silver Sponsors. The J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions is supported by Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, The Campbell Apartment, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Dunlop, Brandix and Red Bull. The Westin New York Grand Central is the tournament’s Official Hotel. The tournament’s official charities are the urban youth enrichment programs 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.
Media inquiries: Beth Rasin 917 992-2281 firstname.lastname@example.org
Event and sponsorship information: John Nimick 617-731-6874 email@example.com