First round and quarter-finals will trial shorter match format at the East Wintergarden
By ALAN THATCHER and NATHAN CLARKE
The Professional Squash Association have today confirmed that the 2018 Canary Wharf Classic will be the first ranking PSA World Tour event to be played using a best-of-three games scoring format.
The PSA M70 event, which takes place at London’s East Wintergarden from March 5-9, will see all round of 16 and quarter-final matches played under the best-of-three format, while the semi-finals and final will revert to traditional best-of-five scoring.
“The best-of-three scoring system has featured in the season-ending World Series Finals for the past few years and has contributed to what have been some of the most intense and exciting matches of recent seasons,” said PSA Chief Operating Officer Lee Beachill.
“Every point matters under the shorter format, a scenario that increases the intensity of the match from the opening exchange and as a sport it would be foolish not to explore the wider opportunities this format could bring to an event.
“For fans it will deliver a more intense viewing experience – with matches played at a higher, more explosive pace – while best-of-three matches also allow players greater recovery time between matches, essential for them to perform at their best day-in, day-out.
“We are excited to see how the format will work in practice during the Canary Wharf Classic.”
Tournament Promoter Tim Garner said: “Throughout our 15-year history the Canary Wharf Classic has embraced new technology and developments, forging a reputation as one of the most innovative events on the PSA World Tour.
“The best-of-three format brings a new dynamic to the sport and the crowd at the East Wintergarden – who are amongst the best in the world – will be treated to another instalment of world class squash again in 2018, when the drama and skill on show will be greater than ever before.”
The best-of-three format sparked significant debate following its deployment in the PSA World Series Finals in Dubai, much of it conducted by leading professionals.
Many argued for the change to become permanent in the hope of seeing shorter, more entertaining matches, which would be more attractive to television and cause less damage to the players’ bodies.
A counter argument proposed the view that the new format might dilute squash’s reputation as a sport built on phenomenal fitness levels.
The trial at Canary Wharf, one of the most popular tournaments on the PSA World Tour, will no doubt lead to more extensive debates as the PSA, promoters, sponsors, media and spectators assess the pros and cons of the experiment.
Pictures from Squash Mad archive