8:07 am
14 Apr 2024

James Willstrop Signs To Prince

8 Aug 2007

England's number one squash player James Willstrop has signed a three-year worldwide agreement with Prince Sports, with effect from 1 August 2007.

The 23-year-old Yorkshireman, who captained England to success in the recent World Team Championship after leaping to a career-high world No2 ranking, will make his debut as a Prince player in this week's ATCO Super Series Finals in Manchester, England.

The agreement - which includes racquets, bags, grips, strings and clothing - will see the former World Junior Champion using the new Prince O3 Black racquet.

As a youngster, James Willstrop won all four British National Junior titles (at U12, U14, U16 and three-times at U19), in addition to British Junior Open trophies at U14, U17 and U19. Success in the European Junior Championships in 2002 - which he followed by securing the World Junior Championship trophy - made Willstrop England's most successful junior of all-time.

After becoming one of the youngest players ever to play for the senior England team, Willstrop made a major breakthrough on the PSA Tour by winning the Pakistan Open in his first appearance in a Super Series final. Later, he reached the final of the British Open for the first time, as the seventh seed, then followed this by outplaying a top-quality international field in Doha to lift the Qatar Classic trophy in only his second Super Series final appearance!

A silver medallist in the Mixed Doubles in the Commonwealth Games in 2006, Willstrop confirmed his domestic status at the beginning of this year by winning the British National Championship title for the first time - beating fellow Prince player John White in the final in Manchester. Then in March, he won the Canary Wharf Classic in London to claim his sixth PSA Tour title.

"James has established a great reputation in the sport - and is one of its finest ambassadors. We are delighted that he has joined Prince to become the face for the brand worldwide," said Prince International Player Promotions Manager Andy Bunting.

"He is an extremely gifted player - and we are looking forward to a long and mutually-rewarding association in the future."

Willstrop is also pleased to be joining the Prince team: "It's a really natural move for me to become a Prince player - everything about it seems just right.

"I love the new racquet - particularly as it gives me that extra edge on racquet head speed, enabling me to get extra acceleration on the ball with just a flick of the wrist. With the way the game is changing, this additional speed is really important," explained England's top player. "And the sweetspot is great too."

After a lengthy summer break from the circuit, Willstrop can't wait to be back in competitive action at the Super Series Finals this week, armed for the first time with his O3 Black. "This is one of the biggest events of the year, featuring the top eight players in the world, and I am very keen to do well in it.

"But it'll be familiar territory for me, as the National Squash Centre is where the England squad trains and Manchester is almost a second home for me. It's also the court where I won my British National title earlier this year - so the atmosphere should be great.

"And it would be especially nice to do well in my first tournament as a Prince player," added Willstrop.

The O3 Black racquet joins the O3 Tour and the O3 Silver in the Prince squash range this year. Boasting the same 470 sq cm head-size as the O3 Tour, the O3 Black weighs only 135 gm - and has a suggested retail price of 189 Euros.

Prince's new O3 breakthrough is the first significant development in racquet technology since the late eighties when racquets changed from wood to graphite. The O3-engineered racquets provide a large sweet spot in a manoeuvrable and aerodynamic frame. Prince re-engineered traditional pin-sized string holes into giant O-Ports, providing total string freedom for a livelier response across the entire string bed. This expands the conventional sweet spot in racquets by up to 54%, turning it into a Sweet Zone!