8:24 am
14 Apr 2024

World's Best Ready to Rumble Into Grand Central Terminal for Tournament of Champions

21 Dec 2007

The world's best squash players will once again transform Grand Central Terminal in New York into the world's largest spectator squash event when the Bear Stearns Tournament of Champions gets underway from 10-16 January next year.

Headlining the list of squash stars who will be competing on the glittering four-walled glass court in Vanderbilt Hall will be Ramy Ashour, the 20-year-old Egyptian who soared to No2 in the world rankings just a year ago. Joining Ashour in the hunt for the coveted Tournament of Champions title will be the world's other top-ranked players, including world No3 Gregory Gaultier of France, the reigning British Open champion; two-time World Open champion and world No4 David Palmer of Australia; and England's Nick Matthew, world No5 and the 2007 Tournament of Champions finalist.

The United States will be among the 13 countries represented in the first PSA Super Series event of the year. Two young Americans will be making their second Tournament of Champions appearances - Portland's Julian Illingworth, a three-time US national champion; and New York's own Christopher Gordon. Local interest will also be fanned by Egypt's Yasser El Halaby, who won an unprecedented four men's national intercollegiate championships at Princeton University.

"Bear Stearns is proud to be the title sponsor of the Tournament of Champions for the fifth year in a row," said Bear Stearns Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, James E. Cayne. "Every year, Grand Central welcomes the best squash players in the world to this thrilling competition. It has become a great tradition in New York City and we are excited to once again be a part of it."

Tournament promoter John Nimick, president of Event Engine, confirms: "As the ToC enters its second decade as Grand Central Terminal's only annual world class sporting event, we are excited to welcome back the world's best players and once again present "squash week" in New York City."

The Bear Stearns Tournament of Champions continues to be the largest squash spectator event in the world with its unique combination of reserved seating and public viewing by what is expected to be 150,000 Grand Central commuters during tournament week. The championship debuted as the US Professional Championship in 1930 and was renamed the Tournament of Champions when it was presented in 1992 at the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center. It then moved to Grand Central Terminal in 1995, where it's annual presence since has been interrupted only by the Terminal's renovation from 1996 -1998. The Bear Stearns Tournament of Champions has truly lived up to its name - all but one of the titleholders has also been No1 in the world rankings or a World Champion.

A PSA Super Series event for the men, the Bear Stearns Tournament of Champions features a 32-player main draw and a 32-player qualification tournament. The Vanderbilt Hall championship presentation will have gallery seating for 500 as well as free viewing for the public.

Other activities during tournament week include extensive recreational competition in the Grand Open, a companion citywide amateur tournament and the SuperSTARS Connection Lunch on Wednesday, January 16 in support of PowerPlay NYC, Inc., a nonprofit providing fundamental sports and life skills training for girls in underserved communities in New York City. The Tournament also highlights the accomplishments of StreetSquash and CitySquash, two New York-based, youth-orientated after-school programs which blend squash, academics, community service and mentoring.

Rated by Forbes magazine as the No1 healthiest sport based on cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, muscular endurance, calories burned and risk of injury, squash was first played in England more than 100 years ago. It is now a popular sport in more than 120 countries. There are 15 million squash players worldwide and 400,000 in the United States. Squash is contested in all the major international multi-sport regional games and is on the short list of sports applying for inclusion in the Olympics.

In addition to title sponsor Bear Stearns, event sponsors include Dunlop, New York Sports Clubs, Executive Fliteways, Juice and Pilsener Urquell. The championships are also supported by Cityview Racquet Club, the Columbia Center for Shoulder Surgery, Grand Hyatt New York and the Campbell Apartment.

The Bear Stearns Tournament of Champions is operated by Event Engine, Inc., the largest commercial squash promotional company in the world. Event Engine, Inc. also produces major squash championships in Toronto and Boston, and METROSquash with Sue at the Field Museum in Chicago.