Cumberland hosts international London Open squash tournament
PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 November 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Cumberland Lawn Tennis Club will host the annual international London Open squash tournament next week, with $20,000 (£12,800) of prize money up for grabs.
The qualifiers take place on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Alvanley Gardens venue in Hampstead while the men and women will then battle through the first round, quarter-finals and semi-finals before Sunday’s finals.
There are high hopes of success for the home nations in the men’s draw. There are 13 English players in the men’s draw, including the top seed and favourite David Lee while Scotland’s Alan Clyne, who represented his country at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, is the second seed.
However, tournament director Zubair Khan – who was world No8 in 1996 – believes there are other contenders.
“Karim Ali Fathi, the No3 seed, won it two years ago and Egyptians are always tough to play,” he told Ham&High Sport.
“Andrew Wagih Shoukry is also a good Egyptian player, and he should maybe be higher than the seventh seed. He is due to meet Karim in the quarter-final so that would be a big match.
“Tom Ford is a good young English player who is 92nd in the world, and we’ve given him a wild card – but he is playing Karim in the first match so that will be a good test for him.”
England Squash have additionally chosen four ‘local’ players – young homegrown talents who have been entered into the qualifiers – so Ben Ford, Lyell Fuller, Patrick Rooney and Phil Nightingale will get their chance to impress on Tuesday and earn their places in the first round.
There are also 13 English entrants in the women’s competition, but seventh seed Victoria Temple Murray is their best hope, while young talent Kate Russell could be one to watch in future.
The best-ranked players coming from the Czech Republic, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Belgium and Slovakia, underlining the international prestige of the tournament.
“It’s always fully packed,” said Khan. “As the tournament director, I always get excited and I’m looking forward to it very much.”
n Aspect Capital, Wolfe Property and Heathcote & Ivory have sponsored the London Open for the last eight years, and Hellman & Friedman LLC are new sponsors this year. Call 020 7435 6022 for tickets to the event.