New WSA board turn to Tommy Berden to grow Women’s Tour
By LEE HORTON – Squash Mad Chief Reporter
TOP Dutch promoter Tommy Berden has stepped in to help the WSA regroup and grow the women’s World Tour.
Berden, who is married to leading female player Natalie Grinham, had been approached by the new WSA Board, which was installed last month at the association’s AGM in New York.
Berden promoted the highly successful combined men’s and women’s World Open tournaments in a Rotterdam theatre in 2011, two years after staging the Women’s World Open in Amsterdam.
The WSA announced today that they had reached an agreement with Berden’s NextSquash company to provide support to the association at both strategic and operational level.
Australia’s world number 11 Kasey Brown, the newly-elected WSA President, said: “Our members have asked for quite some time now to get Tommy and his company involved. They have proven to be successful promoters and are highly respected by the players and fellow organisers.”
WSA’s Chairman Latasha Khan added: “NextSquash has a wealth of squash knowledge and an extensive network within the global squash community.
“They know how to run events at all levels and can contribute a great deal to our association. We are excited to work with them as we continue the WSA vision to inspire, empower and entertain while strengthening our tour.”
Berden, 34, also commented: “We are looking forward to working with the WSA. The women’s game has improved tremendously over the past decade and I’ve experienced first hand as a promoter that the girls are well received wherever they compete.
“We have always been committed to growing the sport and I am very upbeat about the opportunity to work with the current WSA crew to secure an even better future for women’s professional squash.”
Members are desperate for a period of stability and growth following three years of political upheaval, management changes, personality clashes and fears that the Women’s Tour was showing signs of serious decline.
Further changes are in store for WSA as Suzie Pierrepont has decided to step down from her roles as North American Tour Director and Acting Tour Director, as exclusively revealed by Squash Mad earlier this week.
Pierrepont has held the position since April 2013, was on the Board of Directors at WSA from 2009 to 2013, and achieved a career-high world ranking of 25.
In a statement released by the WSA, Brown said: “The Board is saddened with the news of Suzie’s departure. Her achievements in establishing a strong tour calendar for WSA is a reflection of her passion and commitment towards women’s squash and everyone at WSA is so appreciative of the time and effort she has put in. We wish her all the best for her future endeavours.”
Despite the changes, stability is maintained at WSA with Kim Creamer continuing her duties as COO, and Elliot Selby as WSA administrator.
The new WSA Board, which also includes world number two Laura Massaro (England), world number nine Jenny Duncalf (England), Ashley Bernhard (USA), Nathan Dugan (USA) and Marjolein Houtsma (Netherlands), plan to map out a new strategy for the Women’s Tour.
Pictures from Squash Mad archive and WSA