Record prize fund to be split equally
By SEAN REUTHE
New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal will host the prestigious J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions for a 22nd successive year in January when reigning World Champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem El Welily return to battle for the coveted PSA World Tour Platinum title.
Held under the chandeliers of Grand Central Terminal’s spectacular Vanderbilt Hall, the Tournament of Champions is one of the most highly-anticipated tournaments on the PSA Tour and the 2019 edition features a record prize purse of $360,000, which will be split equally across the men’s and women’s draws.
Egypt’s EShorbagy headlines the men’s event – which takes place between January 16-24 – and will be bidding to win his third Tournament of Champions trophy, while he will also be aiming to keep his grip intact on the coveted World No.1 spot amidst a serious challenge from World No.2 Ali Farag.
If ElShorbagy exits the tournament at the semi-final stage or earlier and Farag wins the tournament then the latter will claim top spot for the first time.
The 27-year-old ElShorbagy – a ToC champion in 2015 and 2016 – is featured on the same side of the draw as younger brother Marwan ElShorbagy and defending champion Simon Rösner, and receives a bye into round two where he will play either Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller or compatriot Mazen Hesham.
Meanwhile, Farag gets his tournament under way against 2010 winner James Willstrop, while the likes of New Zealand’s Paul Coll, Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez and 2018 runner-up Tarek Momen are all involved on the Harvard-graduate’s side of the draw.
El Welily tops the women’s draw – which begins two days after the men’s – and will make her first appearances on the PSA Tour since reclaiming the World No.1 spot from compatriot Nour El Sherbini on December 1.
The 29-year-old from Alexandria won this tournament in 2015 and will look to continue a stunning start to the season which has seen her reach four successive finals and claim two titles, including October’s U.S. Open in Philadelphia.
El Welily is seeded to play Hong Kong Open winner Joelle King in the semi-finals, while defending champion El Sherbini is predicted to play World No.3 Nour El Tayeb in the other last four fixture.
United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy will have home hopes on her shoulders and the 2016 runner-up receives a bye into round two where she will play one of Canadian duo Samantha Cornett or Danielle Letourneau.
If she can win her second round fixture, a mouthwatering third round match with El Tayeb will await her and she will aim to avenge her second round defeat to the Egyptian in the 2018 Tournament of Champions.
The 16-year-old Marina Stefanoni takes the wildcard spot in the women’s event for a second year running after she became the youngest player ever to compete at the tournament last January.
The British Junior Open runner-up will take on Egypt’s Zena Mickawy in round one. Olivia Blatchford Clyne and Haley Mendez will be the other US women to take part, while Todd Harrity and Chris Hanson will carry US hopes into the men’s draw.
The Tournament of Champions will be the first PSA World Tour Platinum event of 2019 and the winners of the event will qualify for the season-ending PSA World Tour Finals.
All fixtures from the glass court at Grand Central Terminal will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while the semi-finals and finals will also be broadcast by major broadcasters around the world such as BT Sport, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
For more information on the Tournament of Champions, follow the event on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or visit the tournament website.
2019 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, Grand Central Station, New York, USA.
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) [bye]
Mazen Hesham (EGY) v [17/32] v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
[17/32] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) v Eain Yow Ng (MAS)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) v [17/32] Zahed Salem (EGY)
[17/32] Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Nathan Lake (ENG)
Ben Coleman (ENG) v [17/32] Tom Richards (ENG)
[9/16] Diego Elias (PER) [bye]
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) [bye]
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) [bye]
Youssef Soliman (EGY) v [17/32] Joel Makin (WAL)
[9/16] Fares Dessouky (EGY) [bye]
George Parker (ENG) v [17/32] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
[17/32] Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
[9/16] Max Lee (HKG) [bye]
[9/16] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) [bye]
 Simon Rösner (GER) [bye]
 Tarek Momen (EGY) [bye]
[9/16] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) [bye]
[17/32] Raphael Kandra (GER) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Lucas Serme (FRA) v [17/32] Declan James (ENG)
[17/32] Greg Lobban (SCO) v Arturo Salazar (MEX)
Chris Simpson (ENG) v [17/32] Borja Golan (ESP)
[17/32] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [WC] Chris Hanson (USA)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) [bye]
 Paul Coll (NZL) [bye]
Todd Harrity (USA) v [17/32] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
[9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) [bye]
Campbell Grayson (NZL) v [17/32] Leo Au (HKG)
[9/16] Daryl Selby (ENG) [bye]
[Pre-Qualifier] v [17/32] Ramy Ashour (EGY)
[9/16] James Willstrop (ENG) [bye]
 Ali Farag (EGY) [bye]
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) [bye]
Ho Tze-Lok (HKG) v [17/32] Mariam Metwally (EGY)
[17/32] Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) v Tinne Gilis (BEL)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) [bye]
 Annie Au (HKG [bye]
Coline Aumard (FRA) v [17/32] Joey Chan (HKG)
[17/32] Mayar Hany (EGY) v Low Wee Wern (MAS)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) [bye]
 Camille Serme (FRA) [bye]
Haley Mendez (USA) v [17/32] Milou van der Heijden (NED)
[17/32] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) [bye]
 Nicol David (MAS) [bye]
Alexandra Fuller (RSA) v [17/32] Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
[17/32] Zeina Mickawy (EGY) v [WC] Marina Stefanoni (USA)
 Joelle King (NZL) [bye]
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) [bye]
Nada Abbas (EGY) v [17/32] Nadine Shahin (EGY)
[17/32] Samantha Cornett (CAN) v Danielle Letourneau (CAN)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) [bye]
 Alison Waters (ENG) [bye]
Hollie Naughton (CAN) v [17/32] Emily Whitlock (ENG)
[17/32] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) v Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [bye]
 Laura Massaro (ENG) [bye]
Julianne Courtice (ENG) v [17/32] Yathreb Adel (EGY)
[17/32] Fiona Moverley (ENG) v Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS)
 Salma Hany (EGY) [bye]
 Tesni Evans (WAL) [bye]
Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) v [17/32] Nele Gilis (BEL)
[17/32] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v [Pre-Qualifier]
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) [bye]
Pictures courtesy of PSA