PSA issues 2021 calendar as WSF World Doubles is postponed
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
The World Squash Federation has announced that the 2022 WSF World Masters Squash Championships will take place in Wroclaw, Poland, in August next year.
This follows the cancellation of the 2020 World Masters, which had been postponed from its original dates of August 25-31 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was also scheduled to take place in Wroclaw.
The championships will take place at the world’s biggest squash club, the 33-court Hasta La Vista Club, and competitors from across the globe will compete in age-group events ranging from over-35 to over-80.
The Hasta La Vista Club has hosted multiple major events, including the 2013 WSF World Junior Championships, the 2017 World Games and European Masters, and the European Team Championships in 2018.
“The WSF World Masters Squash Championships is a highly anticipated tournament on the WSF calendar, and we are pleased to allocate the 2022 edition to Poland after they missed out on hosting the event in both 2020 and now 2021 due to the ongoing impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said WSF Masters Commission Chair Malcolm Kerr.
“The Hasta La Vista Club is a spectacular venue with world-class facilities and we’re excited to welcome the globe’s best Masters players next year to the historic city of Wroclaw for what promises to be an exciting event.”
Polish Squash Board Advisor Maciej Klis said: “We’re very excited to host the best Masters players from around the globe. Without a question it is a privilege and a big responsibility to put on such a big event in one venue.
“I’m sure that both Polish Squash and Hasta la Vista will be well prepared for such an important tournament, especially in these difficult times. Poland has hosted many events over the last 10 years, but we have still got a hunger to make them even better.”
Hasta La Vista Club owner Zenon Waniak said: “My vision of the big squash club is now on fire as the facility can finally be seen and used according to its purpose. Hasta La Vista Club has hosted many events for the European Squash Federation and World Squash and I’m sure that my team will deliver the very best event with a lot of benefits for masters players.
“I’m also attending some Masters tournaments, so I can’t wait to invite world-class players to play at my home club.”
2021 WSF World Doubles Championships Postponed
The 2021 WSF World Doubles Squash Championships, originally scheduled to take place in July of this year, have been postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The event was due to be held on the Gold Coast in Australia between July 1-5 but the WSF Board of Directors and Squash Australia have taken the decision to postpone the tournament until a later date due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on international travel as well as the health and safety issues arising from the pandemic.
The World Doubles was last held in 2019 in Carrara, Australia and saw Australia dominate with gold medal wins across the men’s, women’s and mixed events. Donna Lobban and Cameron Pilley took two gold medals each, while Ryan Cuskelly and Christine Nunn were also on the winner’s podium.
“We’re extremely disappointed to be postponing the WSF World Doubles Squash Championships, but the health and safety of everyone attending and competing is an absolute priority,” said WSF Chief Executive William Louis-Marie.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had an impact on our regular calendar of events, we are still looking forward to a strong end to the year and have multiple world-class events in the pipeline.”
Squash Australia Chief Executive Robert Donaghue said: “It’s a difficult decision to postpone the WSF World Doubles Squash Championships, but there are a number of challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic which make hosting an event of this stature very challenging at present.
“The Doubles Championships feature athletes from across the globe and we have chosen to postpone the tournament with a view to rescheduling for a different date once the situation surrounding international travel becomes clearer, while we also want to mitigate against any potential health and safety issues.
“Squash Australia and the World Squash Federation remain in close contact and we hope to be able to announce alternative dates during the 2021-22 calendar in due course.”
PSA provisional calendar for rest of 2020-21 season
The Professional Squash Association (PSA) has issued a provisional calendar for the remainder of the 2020-21 PSA World Tour season which will see the world’s best players compete at seven top-class tournaments across three continents between March – July, 2021.
Following the current back-to-back men’s and women’s PSA Platinum tournaments forming the CIB PSA Black Ball Open in Cairo, Manchester’s National Squash Centre will host the Manchester Open, PSA Silver tournament between April 19-25, before the tour heads back to Egypt for the El Gouna International Squash Open from May 20-28.
June will be a jam-packed month for the PSA World Tour, with three tournaments scheduled. The inaugural Necker Mauritius Open presented by Beachcomber will take place between June 1-5 following its postponement from 2020, while the Allam British Open will see players compete at the oldest tournament in professional squash between June 14-20.
At the end of the month, the CIB PSA World Tour Finals will take place in Cairo, which is where the CIB Road to Egypt culminates. All PSA Platinum title winners qualify for the CIB PSA World Tour Finals, with remaining places being allocated to the highest ranked players on the CIB Road to Egypt Standings, which are currently headed up by World No.1s Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini.
The final tournament of the season will be the 2020-21 PSA Squash World Championships presented by the Walter Family. Held in Chicago between July 10-17, the PSA World Championships is the most prestigious tournament in squash and will provide a climactic end to the current campaign, with a total of $1,000,000 in total player compensation up for grabs.
The calendar is subject to change and all tournaments will abide by strict COVID-19 protocols with relation to health and safety, international travel policies and social distancing guidelines. There will be no fans on-site at certain tournaments until local situations improve.
“After a lot of hard work behind the scenes and close discussions with tournament promoters and our players, we are pleased to reveal our provisional calendar for the rest of the 2020-21 PSA World Tour season,” said PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough.
“The entirety of the 2020-21 season will have taken place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has fundamentally changed the way the PSA has had to operate both the PSA World Tour and the PSA Challenger Tour.
“If our provisional calendar comes to fruition, we will have staged 12 PSA World Tour events throughout the campaign in addition to around 50 PSA Challenger Tour events by the end of the season. While we are naturally delighted to have overcome some significant hurdles to create playing opportunities for our players, we are under no illusions that the work stops here.
“While a number of unknowns are still at play – chief among those the differing international travel policies between countries – we are already liaising with our tournament promoters as we look to establish a thriving professional circuit for the 2021-22 season. For now, I look forward to watching the world’s best squash players in action over the next few months in what promises to be a captivating end to this campaign.”
Action from all tournaments on the PSA World Tour will be streamed live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan). Semi-finals and finals from major PSA World Tour events will also be shown live via PSA’s contracted broadcast partners.
PSA World Tour Provisional Schedule: April 2021 to July 2021.
Manchester Open (Silver): April 19-25 in Manchester, England
El Gouna International Squash Open (Platinum): May 20-28 in El Gouna, Egypt
Necker Mauritius Open presented by Beachcomber (Gold): June 1-5 in Grand Bay, Mauritius
Allam British Open (Platinum): June 14-20 in Hull, England
CIB PSA World Tour Finals: June 22-27 in Cairo, Egypt
2020-21 PSA Squash World Championships presented by the Walter Family: July 10-17 in Chicago, United States
PSA World Tour website: www.psaworldtour.com
Pictures courtesy of WSF and PSA