Friday, January 7, 2011


“The Pros are coming! The Pros are coming!” For those of you who need inspiration, or tips on how to play ‘real’ squash, or are simply curious, the Motor City Open hosted by the Birmingham Athletic Club will be running from January 26 to the 31st. This first class professional squash tournament will feature some of the world’s best players fighting over ranking points and a total purse of $50,000.

The seeding for this event was taken from the December rankings despite it being played in January. So, even though world number 12, Dutchman LJ Anjema, is this year’s top seeded player, two higher ranked players are seeded 2 and 3. They are, Egyptian Mohammed El Shorbagy ranked 9 (who turns 20 next week) and Aussie Cameron Pilley ranked 11. I’m not too sure it even matters. All of the 11 players that went straight into the main draw are ranked inside the top 30. They are all good. Very good.

And so are the qualifiers. Fourteen of the sixteen are ranked between 31 and 62. The other two are American – Chris Gordon ranked 72 and Graham Bassett ranked 190. Chris and Graham received ‘local’ spots to get into the draw.

I decided not to play this year. The BAC was very generous in offering me ‘local’ spot into the qualifying, but without the necessary training and match practice required there is no way I would be able last more than half a game. Even with the necessary preparation required, with the quality of field that will be turning up, anything other than a 3-0 spanking would be a miracle. BAC squash pro Julian Wellings has the ‘wild card’ for the event which means he has a free ticket into the main draw. He will be playing one of the qualifiers in the first round.

This is a golden opportunity. Being able to watch a world class squash match is a rarity in Detroit. I encourage you to make the effort and buy a ticket: go and get inspired. You need to contact Julian for all prices and availability if you would like to experience these incredible athletes in person. E-mail him at or call (248) 646-5050.

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