Laura Massaro heads to New York as world number one
By NATHAN CLARKE
Defending champion and current World No.1 Raneem El Welily will headline a stellar cast including reigning Women’s World Champion Nicol David and World number one-in-waiting Laura Massaro when the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, the first PSA World Series event of 2016, gets under way in the spectacular setting of Grand Central Terminal on January 9.
El Welily’s victory on the spectacular all-glass NetSuite Challenge Court 12 months ago laid the foundation for her surge towards dethroning Nicol David atop the World Rankings.
But, after reaching three consecutive World Series event finals, taking the title on two occasions, the in-form Massaro is set to overtake El Welily and occupy the World No.1 position for the first time in her career come January 1.
The reshuffling at the top of the women’s rankings this past year, after David’s stranglehold on the top spot for more than nine years, has the ToC fans anticipating some great drama on the ToC glass court in Vanderbilt Hall during tournament week.
David, who at No.3 is at her lowest ranking in 10 years, returned to form earlier this month with a decisive victory at the 2015 Hong Kong Open.
With the likes of British Open winner Camille Serme, the Egyptian top six duo Nour El Sherbini and Omneya Abdel Kawy, and the home crowd favorite 10th seed Amanda Sobhy, also included in the line-up, 2016 promises to be one of the most competitive women’s championships in ToC history
“The J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions is proud to have increased the women’s draw size and prize money to be equal to that of the men, and we are thrilled that all of the games’ top ranking players will be here in Grand Central,” said Tournament Promoter John Nimick.
“The talent, passion and competitive intensity that we are seeing now on the PSA Women’s World Tour is incredibly exciting and compelling. We are looking forward to spectacular squash from these remarkable athletes who always seem inspired to play their very best in our awe-inspiring Grand Central venue.”
Draw – 2016 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, PSA Women’s World Series:
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Delia Arnold (MAS) v Rachael Grinham (AUS)
Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Heba El Torky (EGY) v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Donna Urquhart (AUS)
[Qualifier] v  Emma Beddoes (ENG)
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Low Wee Wern (MAS)
[WC] Kanzy Emad El Defrawy (EGY) v  Joshna Chinappa (IND)
 Annie Au (HKG) v Emily Whitlock (ENG)
Victoria Lust (ENG) v  Nicol David (MAS)
Ticket prices range from $8 for early round matches, going up to $170 for the sought-after Men’s and Women’s Finals on the evening of Thursday, January 14th. Tickets are available online at ToCSquash.com or by calling (718) 569-0594.
Pictures from Squash Mad archive and STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)