James aims for St George’s thrill
By SEAN REUTHE
Former World No.1 James Willstrop is looking forward to appearing on home soil during December’s Channel VAS Championship at St George’s Hill Open, the PSA M100 tournament that takes place between December 8-12 at the St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club in Weybridge.
The Yorkshireman, who spent 11 months at the summit of the World Rankings in 2012, has fought back from a combination of a career-threatening hip injury and illness to display some of his best ever form over the past few months, reaching the final of September’s NetSuite Open in San Francisco before making it to a first World Series semi-final in two years during last month’s U.S. Open.
Willstrop’s last PSA World Tour appearance of 2016 will come at the St George’s Hill Open and the 33-year-old World No.11 is hoping to finish off the year on a high in his native country before the Christmas break.
“I’m very looking forward to playing at home, I love that,” said Willstrop. “It’s just nice to have the support as a lot of us are out here on our own. We have friends on the Tour, but it is nice to not have jet lag to worry about and to not have to do much travelling.
“I would love to finish on a high because you’ve got some time to contemplate it, enjoy it and perhaps celebrate. It’s a lovely feeling because you’ve got three or four weeks to think about it. Most of the other parts of the year, regardless of whether you have a win or a loss, you’re straight into the next event.
“It’s nice sitting there when there’s a three week break and saying that you’ve had a good finish to the season.”
Willstrop will be joined in a world-class draw by some of the biggest names in the sport, with World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy and his younger brother, World No.7 Marwan, World No.4 Omar Mosaad and Colombian World No.8 Miguel Angel Rodriguez all vying for honours in Weybridge.
The qualifying rounds of the 2016 Channel VAS Championship at St George’s Hill Open take place on Tuesday December 6 and Wednesday December 7, while the main draw begins a day later.
The St George’s Hill Open is the second biggest tournament to take place in Europe this season, with it’s lucrative $100,000 prize fund, a 300 per cent increase on last year’s event, second only to the British Open.
Tickets for the tournament are priced from £10-£45 and can be booked online here: http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/ChannelVASSquash
Picture by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)