San Francisco is off as a handful of events tiptoe back on to the calendar
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
The 2020 Oracle NetSuite Open is the latest major tournament to be cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The PSA confirmed today that the event in San Francisco, originally scheduled for September 22-28, has been called off.
It is the latest major event to be called off. The Allam British Open, due to be held last week, the Grasshopper Cup and El Gouna were other high-profile casualties.
The Oracle NetSuite Open has been held annually on the PSA World Tour since 2011, with the latter rounds of the tournament being staged on San Francisco’s Embarcadero Plaza in front of the famous Ferry Building.
World No.1s Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem El Welily are the current defending champions after beating fellow Egyptians Nour El Tayeb and Tarek Momen, respectively, in last year’s finals.
“Unfortunately, the challenges arising from the COVID-19 outbreak have made it impossible to hold this year’s Oracle NetSuite Open,” said Tournament Promoter John Nimick.
“Both Evan [Goldberg, Founder and EVP of Oracle NetSuite] and I would like to thank all of our partners and supporters over the past eight years for their support in bringing the world’s best players to the Bay Area. Our tournament has become a major stop on the PSA World Tour and was one of the first Gold level events in the world to offer prize money parity.
“It is because of our partners that the Oracle NetSuite Open has made a positive impact on the world of squash.
“I am hopeful we will be able to showcase the world’s best in San Francisco once again next year and look forward to sharing our plans for the next instalment with all supporters in 2021.”
Nimick, of course, is one of the game’s leading promoters and he will be hoping that January’s Tournament of Champions in New York City will be allowed to go ahead. Sadly, NYC has seen a major outbreak of the coronavirus with more than 17,000 deaths so far and there may well be continued restrictions on the numbers of spectators allowed in to sports and entertainment gatherings.
With courts reopening in parts of the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand’s Unsquashable Premier League series concluded at the Squash XL Club in Auckland last week, with eight-man draws featuring local players in each of the four events. This week New Zealand claimed it was now Covid-free after mounting a swift and early response to the pandemic.
There are several tournaments scheduled for Australia in August, including the Shepparton Open, Melbourne Open, the North Coast Open and the Kia Australian Open at Bega from August 26-30 with $12k events for men and women.
The Hong Kong Open, cancelled last year because of security fears surrounding continuing protests against the Chinese government in the former British colony, is back on the calendar from September 1-5 with $30k competitions for men and women.
In Pakistan, the Chief of Air Staff-Serena Hotels Open is scheduled for September 14-18 in Islamabad, with a $30k prize fund for men and $12k for women.
Canada’s well-established Nash Cup is also on the calendar for September 15-19 in London, Ontario, with two Challenger events worth $12k each for men and women.
Two $20k women’s events remain on the calendar for September in Annecy, France, and Colwyn Bay, Wales.
All of these tournaments, of course, are subject to local legislation concerning the Covid-19 situation, with travel restrictions another major factor likely to affect the ability of players to travel across the globe to compete.
Picture courtesy of PSA