Prize money increase attracts galaxy of stars
By SEAN REUTHE and ALAN THATCHER
World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy is in line to make his first appearance at the prestigious Canary Wharf Classic for five years after the entry list for the PSA M100 tournament was released today (January 12).
This year’s instalment of the Canary Wharf Classic – which will celebrate its 15th anniversary between March 5-9 – will feature $100,000 in prize money for the first time and the increase in financial compensation has enabled the tournament to attract a high-calibre draw to London’s East Wintergarden, with six of the world’s top 10 players in attendance.
ElShorbagy, who defeated younger brother Marwan to finally get his hands on the PSA World Championship trophy last month, heads the entry list ahead of U.S. Open champion Ali Farag, Marwan and six-time winner Nick Matthew.
“I am really looking forward to be back playing there, I’ve never won it before, so I would love to get my name on that trophy,” said ElShorbagy.
“We always get an amazing crowd there and it makes the tournament very exciting. Having the glass court in a such amazing venue like that makes it even more exciting for the players.”
Matthew, the 37-year-old from Sheffield, will be making his final ever appearance at the tournament after announcing his intention to retire at the end of the season and the three-time World Champion returns to East Wintergarden to defend his crown after beating Egypt’s Fares Dessouky in last year’s final.
Matthew said: “Canary Wharf is absolutely one of my favourite tournaments on the Tour. I’ve been lucky enough to have been successful there, but more than that I love the unique atmosphere at the event, it can be an incredible one to play in.”
The other top 10 players involved in the tournament are Qatar Classic runner-up Tarek Momen and World No.8 Simon Rösner, while four-time winner James Willstrop – the current World No.13 – is seeded eighth for the tournament.
Meanwhile, World No.56 Nathan Lake, the Cheltenham-based 25-year-old, has been named the tournament wildcard for the event.
The qualifying stages will be held at the Wimbledon Racquets & Fitness Club between March 3-4, while the main draw gets under way at East Wintergarden on March 5 and lasts until the final on March 9.
All matches from the main draw will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while the semi-finals and final will be broadcast on mainstream channels around the world, such as BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
The 2018 instalment of the tournament will also be a historic one as it becomes the first ranking PSA World Tour event to be played using a best-of-three games scoring format. All round of 16 and quarter-final matches will be played under best-of-three scoring, while the semi-finals and final will revert to the traditional best-of-five format.
For more information on the tournament, please visit the tournament website: www.canarywharfsquash.com
Tickets for the Canary Wharf Classic have sold out for a seventh year in a row, but squash fans can email the following email address to get added to the waiting list: [email protected]
2018 Canary Wharf Classic, East Wintergarden, March 5-9:
1) Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
2) Ali Farag (EGY)
3) Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
4) Nick Matthew (ENG)
5) Tarek Momen (EGY)
6) Simon Rösner (GER)
7) James Willstrop (ENG)
8) Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
9) Daryl Selby (ENG)
10) Borja Golan (ESP)
11) Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Wildcard: Nathan Lake (ENG)
Picture by PATRICK LAUSON