Dominant David Claims First Tournament of
World number one Nicol David claimed her
first J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions title with a
resounding 11-4, 13 -11, 11-8 victory over world No2 Laura
Massaro on the iconic glass court in Grand Central
Terminal in New York.
"The ToC is huge," said the Malaysian superstar
after the triumph over her English rival in the climax of the
Women's Squash Association (WSA) Gold event. "There is
something in the air here. I get goose bumps every time I walk
into Grand Central."
There was a buzz and eager sense of anticipation
among the crowd as they took their seats under the majestic
chandeliers in Vanderbilt Hall for the women's final.
This was the first time the most dominant player in women's
squash over the past seven years had competed in the Tournament
of Champions and the first time in a decade that the two top
players in the sport would contest the final.
"In that first game, both of us were figuring out
how the ball was going to play this evening," David said. "The
ball got faster as we were playing, and I was able to play some
good, low attacking shots."
In what seemed like the blink of an eye, the
30-year-old from Penang had notched the first game, 11-3.
Massaro was the attacker at the start of the
second game. After getting coaching advice from her husband
Danny, the English No1 took a 7-2 lead by playing more
aggressively and moving up in the court. Just as it looked as if
Massaro was well on her way to levelling the match, David dug in
and began chipping away at the second seed's lead.
"As soon as Nicol's back in the game at all,
she's like a dog with a bone," said 30-year-old Massaro, the
only player on the current Tour who has beaten David five times.
"She doesn't let go."
The seven-time world champion reeled off six
straight points to move ahead 8-7. Massaro evened the score at
eight-all. At 9-10, Massaro saved a game ball, but David
converted the next game ball opportunity to open up a two-game
"I just kept telling myself, 'keep going, keep
going, keep going'," said David about her come-from-behind
second game win.
At the start of the third, the players exchanged
points until David surged ahead, 7-4. Massaro fought back to 6-7
and then saved two match balls when her opponent took a 10-6
lead. But the top seed was not to be denied the one major title
missing from her collection, and closed out the championship
11-8 in the third game.
"I wanted this title badly," said David. After
the match, she basked in the glow of the majestic chandeliers
and the appreciation of a squash-savvy crowd who savoured the
opportunity to see this great champion in action, up close, on
the ToC glass court.
Even though she now has 72 WSA titles to her name
and has been at the top of the rankings for 90 consecutive
months, the 2014 ToC champion is still enthralled with her
sport: "I have learned so much from this sport, and I am
continuing to learn," said David.
When asked her most important lesson, David
replied: "How to trust myself and do what I am capable of."
The fortunate spectators at the 2014 J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions were thrilled to witness that capability
as Nicol David did what she does better than anyone else
in the world - win yet another squash championship.
Top Seeds David & Massaro Make Tournament of
The top two seeds will contest the final of the
J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions after Malaysian
favourite Nicol David and England's world No2 Laura
Massaro survived testing women's semi-finals of the
Women's Squash Association (WSA) Gold event at Grand
Central Terminal in New York.
There may have been sub-zero temperatures on the
sidewalks of New York City but inside Grand Central Terminal in
New York City the heat was on - in the all-glass squash court in
Vanderbilt Hall, where four of the five top-ranking WSA
players battled for the privilege of competing for the coveted
First match was Massaro against fifth seed
Camille Serme. Going into the match, Massaro said she
actually felt like the underdog: despite being ranked higher
than her opponent, Massaro had lost to the French player three
of the last four times they had played. And, after her
quarter-final victory over Madeline Perry, Serme said she
was indeed feeling confident going into the semis.
Massaro came out of the starting gates on fire,
winning the first game 11-5. Consistently hitting tight shots
and good depth, the 30-year-old from Preston in Lancashire was
able to control the T and attack every opening that came her
"A video of that game should be watched by anyone
who wants to understand how to construct a winning point," said
former England national coach David Pearson after the
match. "That was the single best game I have ever seen Laura
The game was closer than the score would indicate
as each player retrieved and attacked and was loathe to give
even an inch to her opponent.
It was Serme that was on fire in the second game,
jumping out to 6-0 lead before winning the game 11-3. The
24-year-old from Creteil, near Paris, maintained her position in
the front court, using short front corner attacking shots and
high lobs to force Massaro to scramble and retrieve.
The third game was an early seesaw battle with
the lead exchanging hands several times until Massaro broke it
open at 8-6, winning the game 11-6.
The fourth was up for grabs. Serme took the early
lead at 4-0, and maintained it through to 7-5. Massaro
reasserted herself to regain the lead. At nine-all, Serme hit a
tin and then Massaro delivered a serve at match-ball that died
in the nick at the back of the court.
"I just really wanted to be able to enjoy being
on court. My goal was to be relaxed and use the whole court,"
said Massaro, now in the 27th WSA Tour final of her career. "I
am excited to be in the finals; finals day is always a big
occasion, but especially here in NYC where the crowds are so
In the evening's second match, world No1 Nicol
David defeated Alison Waters, the fourth seed from
England, in three hard-fought and closely-contested games.
"It was pretty close all the way," said David
after the 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 victory which takes the 30-year-old
from Penang into her seventh WSA World Tour final in a row - and
the 91st of her career.
"I had to put the pressure on with good depth. I
really found the front corners of the court today as well. After
two rounds of play on the glass court, I always see the ball
The final will mark David and Massaro's 25th WSA
Tour meeting since their first in 2005 - and their second in a
row on US soil. Massaro is the only player to boast five wins
over the Malaysian superstar - the most recent famously being in
last year's British Open final in May.
Click on Images for Larger
No1 Nicol David defeated the fourth seed Alison Waters
Serme Subdues Perry To Make Tournament of Champions Semis
French number one Camille Serme overcame a
frozen ear and a mid-match case of nerves to thwart Irish
champion Madeline Perry's effort to unseat a
higher-seeded player at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of
Champions for the second time.
Serme, making her maiden appearance in the
Women's Squash Association (WSA) Gold event at Grand
Central Terminal in New York, admitted to being
concerned going into the match because Perry held a 6-1 career
record against her.
Walking the three blocks from the Westin Grand
Central Hotel to the glass court in Grand Central Terminal in
bitterly cold New York weather, without a hat, Serme - who has
lost only to world No1 Nicol David since August 2013 -
said her ears had literally frozen by the time she arrived at
the tournament venue. By match time, the ear had thawed and the
Frenchwoman was sufficiently warmed up to take an early 5-1 lead
in the first game, managing to maintain her edge to win the
The second game was all Serme, who took a 2/0
lead in the match by winning the game 11-4. In the third, the
world No5 from Creteil, near Paris, had three match balls at
10-7 - and celebrated a premature victory on one of those when
she gave a jubilant fist pump thinking she had hit a winner.
But Perry, the 36-year-old world No7, ran the
ball down and won the point. "I got nervous," said Serme after
the match. "It came in my mind that I had only beaten her once."
Perry snatched the game 13-11 to keep the match alive.
The 14 times Irish champion from Belfast had
pulled off an improbable, come-from-behind, victory after being
down by a similar score in the opening round against Raneem
El Welily, the third seed from Egypt. She thought she could
do the same again.
Her top-ranked French opponent, however, had
other plans: "I knew that I had to stick to my tactical plan,"
Serme revealed later. The plan, which had worked in the first
two games, was to slow down the pace. "I did not want to give
her any opportunities to hit the ball hard which she does so
well. And I had to play my shots when I had the opportunity."
The agile and nimble 24-year-old executed her
plan well and won the fourth game 11-5 to close out the match.
The "happy and relieved" Serme, whose coach and
trainer are in NYC for the championships, is thrilled to be in
the ToC semi-finals - as much because she is as eager to improve
as she is to win. "It's good to keep winning," Serme said as she
cooled down on the stationary bike after the match. "This way my
coaches can see what I have to improve on."
Serme's semi-final opponent will be second seed
Laura Massaro of England. A few millimetres and two tins
by her New Zealand opponent Joelle King were all that
stood between the English number one and a two-game deficit.
Kiwi King had played authoritative and confident
squash to win the first game 11-9, and had game ball at 11-10 in
the second. A drop shot from the sixth seed barely clipped the
tin to even the game at 11 points each and Massaro managed to
eke out the victory 13-11.
At the break between games, Massaro's husband and
coach Danny told her: "Just relax, enjoy being out there." The
world No2, who acknowledged having a strong self-critical
nature, took the advice to heart. "After all, I won't be able to
do this forever, so I should enjoy it while I can," said
Massaro. The difference when she got back on court was stunning.
She won the third game 11-3 and the fourth 11-7.
earned her trip to the ToC semi-finals when she ended the run of
English compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry, a qualifier who
upset England's No7 seed Jenny Duncalf in the first
round. "The key to the match was making sure that I stayed in
front and didn't allow SJ to play her shots," said the fourth
seed from London after her efficient and 'never-in-doubt' 11-5,
11-6, 11-2 victory.
Waters should be fresh for her semi-final match
given that her match time for the two opening rounds combined
totals less than an hour. The British champion will probably
need as much energy as she can muster as she will be taking on
top seed Nicol David who defeated fellow Malaysian Low
Wee Wern in three games.
The world No1 had another busy NYC day: David
participated in a photo shot with men's world No1 Nick
Matthew for the announcement of their appointment as
official Laureus Sport For Good Ambassadors. The
30-year-old from Penang also attended the ToC Inaugural
Women's Leadership Luncheon honouring former WSA player
Natalie Grainger before returning to her hotel to prepare
for her evening match. None of these activities, however,
distracted the Malaysian superstar from the primary reason for
her presence in New York City - to win her maiden ToC trophy!
Super-focused and finely-tuned, David defeated
her younger national rival 11-5, 11-3, 11-4 to record her 25th
Tour match victory in a row since losing last May's British Open
final to Laura Massaro.
When asked if she ever gets bored with squash
after so many years playing and being No1 (since August 2006),
David's answer was emphatic: "No. I just get more and more into
it, especially these last few years when I feel like I truly
understand the game," explained the Malaysian who this month
marked her 90th consecutive month at the top of the world
Click on Images for Larger View
Camille Serme overcame a frozen ear and a
mid-match case of nerves to thwart Irish champion Madeline Perry
Nicol David defeated fellow Malaysian Low Wee
ended the run of English compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry Laura Massaro of England Records A Win Against
Her New Zealand opponent Joelle King
Despite the stormy and snowy evening, world No1
Nicol David thrilled her fans in New York City
with her long-awaited debut at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of
Champions on the iconic ToC glass court at Grand Central
The Malaysian superstar demonstrated her complete
mastery of all facets of the game of squash as she defeated Hong
Kong's Annie Au 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 in the opening round of
the first Women's Squash Association (WSA) Gold event of
David had been quite busy since arriving in the
Big Apple and her itinerary on Monday included a visit with
renowned modern artist Frank Stella, who has also been a
squash promoter. "It was fascinating to hear him talk about how
he comes up with his ideas," said the squash star who likes to
draw in her free time. Nicol also made time to visit the young
women participants in StreetSquash, a Harlem-based youth
"But as soon as David entered Vanderbilt Hall to
play on the Grand Central glass court, her razor-sharp focus was
all about squash," reported event spokesman Beth Rasin.
"The seven-time World Champion was deliberate in every step of
her pre-match preparation and when she stepped on court, there
was no question as to who was the boss out there."
David's match strategy was classic - hit the ball
to good length, and then place it short. "The corners on the
court are pretty dead which worked to my advantage," said the
30-year-old from Penang later. "Annie can be dangerous when she
gets the ball in the middle of the court and I definitely did
not want to let her in the match."
David's quarter-final opponent will be her
younger countrywoman Low Wee Wern who despatched American
veteran Latasha Khan 11-6, 11-7, 11-5. "It was a bit
scrappy out there," said the Malaysian number two. "It took a
little while for me to find my length."
Low is experiencing the good and the bad of
starting the year with a personal best world No6 ranking. "It is
good to be ranked six in the world, but there is also the
pressure to keep my ranking high," said the young Malaysian, who
is now looking forward to her quarterfinal contest with David.
"I saw Nicol win the World Junior Championship in
2001 in Penang when I was 10 years old," noted the 23-year-old
whose hometown is also Penang. "To now be able to challenge her
on court instead of sitting outside watching her play is a true
Click on Images for Larger View Nicol David Will Play
Low Wee Wern in The Quarter Finals
Power Into Tournament of Champions Quarters In New York
English qualifier Sarah-Jane
Perry and unseeded - and unrelated - Madeline Perry
of Ireland advanced to the quarter-finals of the J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions at Grand Central Terminal
after scoring stunning upsets in the opening round of the
Women's Squash Association (WSA) Gold event in New York
Perry, the world No7, dropped the
first two games in her afternoon match against third seed
Raneem El Welily, the world No3 from Egypt who seemed to be
in complete control after her 11-8, 11-4 lead.
But, from the very start of the
third game, Perry (pictured above in action with El Welily)
was a different player. The 36-year-old pushed up several feet
and started playing attacking shots much as her Egyptian
opponent had done in the first two games.
"She's really a better player
than me in terms of skills," said Perry later. "So I realised
that I just had to stay positive, enjoy myself and do something
different than my usual conservative game."
The change in Perry's strategy worked exceptionally well as she
took a 10-3 lead in the third game, before winning it 11-6. The
fourth was more of the same and Perry won the game by the
identical score. Welily, 25, from Cairo, reasserting herself at
the start of the decider, taking an 8-5 lead.
But the WSA Tour veteran from
Belfast was not about to give up against her younger opponent
and scrambled to move ahead 9-8. After Welily tied the score at
9-9, both players dug in their heels and played the point of the
day as each covered all four corners of the court and Welily
retrieved several seemingly irretrievable balls. After the young
Egyptian hit a cross court from the deep forehand corner, Perry
flew forward to hit an attacking backhand dead nick volley -
clinching the match on another attacking backhand volley.
"I still can't believe it," said
Perry in her post-match interview. "I just hope that one of the
photographers got the picture of that backhand volley at
After gathering her thoughts,
two-time ToC semi-finalist Perry added: "I'm obviously
delighted. I was completely outplayed for the first two games
and completely turned it around and played some great squash.
"I had some trouble with my knee
for a few months after the summer which disrupted my training
but trained well for the last couple of months and felt much
better. I love the court and the amazing venue!"
Fifth seed Camille Serme
will be Perry's quarter-final opponent after the French number
one advanced with a 3/1 victory over two-time defending champion
. The Dutch star won the first game 13-11 by hitting an
extensive variety of shots and using the lob exceptionally well.
Serme - who has lost only to
world No1 Nicol David since August 2013 - admitted to
being surprised by her 35-year-old opponent's first game
The world No24 from Creteil, near
Paris, adjusted in the second by playing more length. "I just
tried to be more patient, which wasn't so easy," said Serme. It
may not have been easy, but the adjustment worked and, after
taking an 8-3 lead, Serme won the second 11-6.
A number of uncharacteristic
errors from Grinham - who confessed to getting nervous - and
excellent court coverage by Serme, gave her the third game 11-4.
The five-time French champion sealed the victory after winning
the fourth 11-7. As a wistful Grinham stood by the stands
watching the next match later, she said: "I really wanted to
have another chance to play on this court."
Qualifier Sarah Jane Perry,
looking remarkably relaxed and confident, earned her trip to the
quarter-finals in her maiden appearance in the event with a
seesaw five-game victory over seventh seed and England team-mate
Jenny Duncalf. Perry, the 23-year-old world No17,
controlled the first game with good length and accuracy.
Click on Images for Larger View Sarah-Jane Perry's Victory Over Jenny Duncalf
Camille Serme 1st Round Win Against Natalie Grinham
Alison Waters Through to Round Two Along With Madeline Perry
Joelle King of New Zealand dominated her match against
Australian Kasey Brown
In the second, the lead exchanged
hands several times until Perry closed out the game 11-9.
Duncalf, the world No9 who has been ranked as high as two in the
world, cut down on her errors in the third and fourth to even
the match at two-all. Deliberately slowing the pace in the
fifth, Perry was the beneficiary of more unforced Duncalf
errors, winning the game 11-4 to take the match.
"It is easier to be relaxed when
you are the underdog," said Perry, who is just returning to the
WSA Tour after a three month injury hiatus. "I certainly wasn't
expected to win." As for the confidence factor, Perry added: "I
know I am playing well and you have got think you can win;
otherwise, what's the point of playing?"
Perry will now face countrywoman
Alison Waters. The fourth seed played in front of the
most vocal crowd of the day - the Harvard University women's
squash team who had turned out in force to support their number
one player Amanda Sobhy, ranked 18 on the WSA Tour.
Waters, who defeated US number
one Sobhy 11-3, 11-9, 11-6, was unfazed by the partisan fans. "I
quite enjoyed the loud crowds - it is much more fun to play for
Waters completely contained the
American star, who had survived a tough five-game qualifying
match the night before. "Amanda is very strong and can be a
dangerous player if you let her have the ball in the middle of
the court," said the three-time British national champion. "So
my strategy was to keep her in the back of the court and out of
It was a strategy that worked.
"Ali was hitting her targets really well," admitted Sobhy. "I
was scrambling most of the time."
In the day's other matches, sixth
seed Joelle King of New Zealand dominated her match
against Australian Kasey Brown, the newly-elected Women's
Squash Association president. King's quarter-final opponent will
be world No2 Laura Massaro of England who defeated
Australian veteran Rachael Grinham - two days before her
37th birthday - in four games.
US Star Sobhy Succeeds With Main Draw Berth At Grand Central
Amanda Sobhy came back from the brink of defeat in the final
women's qualifying round of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of
Champions at the
Princeton Club in New York to defeat Egypt's Nour
in five games and advance to the main draw of the Women's
Squash Association (WSA) Gold event being played on the ToC
glass court in
Grand Central Terminal.
junior at Harvard University where she is the women's team number
one, had lost the first two games and was down 0-5 in the third. "I thought
of all my friends whom I had promised could see me play on the glass court
in Grand Central and how I would be letting them down if I didn't win this
match," Sobhy said. "So I just focused on one point at a time."
Harvard teammates cheering loudly, the 2010 World Junior Champion started
turning the tables on Sherbini, a three-time world junior title-holder.
Having felt stiff and tight in the first two games, Sobhy figured out how to
relax a bit on the court and gained a foothold in the match by winning the
third game 11-8. The 20-year-old from New York, who is playing college
squash and professional squash along with balancing the rigorous Harvard
academics, was buoyed by her teammates' support and took further command of
the match, winning the last two games - 11-6, 11-5.
is undefeated in college play, will face England's fourth seed Alison
Waters on the Grand Central glass court in the first afternoon session
Kong's Annie Au and Australia's Rachael Grinham also earned
trips to the Grand Central glass court with 3/0 victories over India's
Dipika Pallikal - the highest-ranked player in the qualifiers - and
Denmark's Line Hansen, respectively. Au drew Asian rival Nicol
David, the top seed from Malaysia, whom she will play Tuesday evening.
Veteran Grinham, a former world No1 who joins sister Natalie in the main
draw, will take on world No2 Laura Massaro on Monday evening.
longest qualifying match was played by Sarah-Jane Perry of England
and Egypt's Omneya Abdel Kawy who, in their maiden encounter, engaged
in a seesaw battle for the last qualifying spot. "It was a hard match and a
little contentious," admitted Perry, who jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the
first game but had to fend off a game ball before winning 12-10. "We both
really like to hold our position in the middle of the court." The second
game was all Kawy who found her rhythm and sprinted to an 11-2 game win.
is playing her first tournament since October after being sidelined with a
fractured vertebrate, eked out another 12-10 tiebreak in the third. Kawy
promptly turned around to win the fourth and even the match. In the fifth,
Perry took a 9-5 lead and won the game 11-7.
23-year-old Englishwoman's first round opponent is countrywoman Jenny
Duncalf, the seventh seed. Perry, who defeated Duncalf in the English
Premier League two weeks ago, was delighted with the draw.
Sobhy Leads Home Hopes In Tournament of Champions Qualifiers
one Amanda Sobhy single-handedly led home hopes through to the
qualifying finals of the Women's JP Morgan Tournament of Champions in
New York after beating compatriot Cecelia Cortes in the first
qualifying round of the Women's Squash Association (WSA) Gold event
at the Princeton Club.
for a second successive appearance in the main draw of the event at Grand
Central Terminal in New York - where she made the quarter-finals in 2013
- Sobhy despatched 24-year-old Cortes 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 in just 19 minutes.
20-year-old from New York, ranked 18 in the world, will now face Egypt's
Nour El Sherbini, ranked just two places higher.
world No4 El Sherbini is making her first appearance on the WSA Tour since
May last year after suffering a series of injuries. The 18-year-old from
Alexandria defeated England's Sarah Kippax 11-13, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 in
world No12 Dipika Pallikal, the highest-ranked player in the
qualifying draw, beat England's Emily Whitlock 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 and
will now face Hong Kong's Annie Au for a place in the main draw for
the third year in a row. Au defeated Australia's Donna Urquhart 11-7,
veteran Rachael Grinham made the qualifying finals after recovering
from 2/1 down to beat Hong Kong's Joey Chan 11-6, 4-11, 11-13, 11-9,
36-year-old former world No1 from Australia will now take on Dane Line
Hansen - who put paid to double Sobhy interest in the next round by
beating Amanda's younger sister Sabrina Sobhy 11-5, 11-8, 6-11,
Sarah-Jane Perry, also making her Tour comeback after an
injury-break, beat Olivia Blatchford of the USA 12-10, 11-3, 11-8 and
will now line up against Egypt's Omneya Abdel Kawy.
bidding for a fourth appearance in the championship since 2002, took out
Argentina's Fernanda Rocha 11-0, 11-3, 11-4.
Nicol David Relishes Tournament Of Champions
Malaysian squash star Nicol David is set
to make her long-awaited debut at this week's JP Morgan
Tournament of Champions in New York - and admits that
competing in the Women's Squash Association Gold event at
Grand Central Terminal will be "the highlight of the
David, the 30-year-old from Penang who has topped
the world rankings since 2006, heads a star-studded field which
features all but one of the top 20 women in the world. Following
two days of qualifying, the women's championship gets underway
next Monday (20 January), leading to the final on Friday (24
"The Tournament of Champions definitely is the
highlight of the year and what better way to play my first
tournament of the year than at Grand Central Station in New York
City," said David as she prepared to leave her Amsterdam base
for New York.
"I'm really thrilled to be part of this
tournament for the first time in my career and can't wait to
absorb the atmosphere that is in store for us. I've been to
Grand Central just to visit the place during my stay in New York
and it has such a buzz to it. I can't imagine how the buzz is
going to be as I step onto the glass court there. Can't wait to
get going already."
Top seed David meets a qualifier in the opening
round before a likely quarter-final clash with fellow Penangite
Low Wee Wern, the No8 seed. English opposition could then
line-up for the favourite, with Alison Waters and
Jenny Duncalf, the fourth and seventh seeds, respectively,
also lying in the top half of the draw - and second seed
Laura Massaro heading interest in the lower half of the
could well represent the tournament's 'dark horse'. The Dutch
number one is unseeded, but boasts an eight-match unbeaten run
at Grand Central after winning the title in 2012 and 2013.
The world No10 from Almere faces France's No5
seed Camille Serme, ranked two places higher, in the
opening round. The winner will face either Ireland's Madeline
Perry or Egypt's No3 seed Raneem El Welily.
Greatest Squash Stars Will Light Up Grand Central Terminal
New York, NY, December 11, 2013. “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 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.
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.
Nicol David, who has maintained the #1 WSA world ranking since
January 2006, will be the odds on favourite 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 Welily 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.
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
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
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.