New York City will host the first PSA World Series ranking event of 2013 when the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions takes place at the world-famous Grand Central Terminal from 18-24 January.
"The 2013 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions will be the most exciting and competitive in the 16 years that this championship has been played in Grand Central Terminal," said John Nimick, president of Squash Engine, Inc., the tournament promoter, as he announced the entry list for the world's largest spectator squash event
"As one of the coveted major titles on the PSA Tour, the Tournament of Champions sets the benchmark for the start of the new calendar year ranking season.
"With a major shake-up in the 2012 year ending rankings, the 2013 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions will be especially significant as several players have an opportunity to re-assert their dominance by winning the title."
In fact, the Tournament of Champions is aptly named, as all but one of its winners have also been ranked number one in the world. The men's 32-player World Series event draw features 23 of the top 25 world-ranked players and one wild card entry, representing 14 countries and all five continents. The remaining eight spots will be determined by a 32-player qualifying draw.
The 2013 draw features five returning titleholders eager to add another coveted Tournament of Champions (also known as the ToC) crown to their trophy case. Headlining the supremely talented roster of top contenders is the just-crowned 2012 World Champion, 25-year-old Ramy Ashour of Egypt, who became the youngest Tournament of Champions winner when he won the title in 2008 at the age of 21.
Ashour won his second ToC title in 2011, and with his recent year-ending triumph at the PSA World Championship in Qatar, will regain the world No1 ranking on January 1. Nick Matthew of England will be looking to avenge his semi-final loss to Ashour in Doha and defend his ToC crown which he won for the first time in 2012 (as pictured) after being a three-time finalist.
Englishman James Willstrop, the 2010 champion, has topped the PSA rankings for all but one month in 2012, and will be eager to reclaim the PSA top ranking spot. Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the 2009 champion and winner of the inaugural NetSuite Open championship in October, has recently been playing some of the best squash of his career. 33-year-old Amr Shabana, the 2006 and 2007 champion, still has the shot-making and speed to make a run for a third Tournament of Champions title.
Mohamed El Shorbagy, the 21-year-old Egyptian who was a surprise finalist in the just-completed World Championship and was defeated in the 2012 ToC quarterfinals by Matthew, will also be a serious title contender. Rounding out the top six seeds is England's Peter Barker, who attained his highest world No5 ranking this month. Princeton University senior Todd Harrity, the first American in 21 years to win the US Intercollegiate Singles Championship when he took that title in 2011, will receive the tournament's wild card entry.
Celebrating 16 years of competition among the world's best squash players in Grand Central Terminal, the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions is the focal point of Squash Week in New York City. Men's qualifying matches will be played on January 16 and 17. From January 18-20, the Grand Open tournament, presented by NY Squash and a qualifying event for the US National Skill Level Championships, will feature 200 amateur players competing at several NYC squash clubs.
Participants from New York City urban youth enrichment charities StreetSquash, CitySquash and PowerPlay NYC, will participate in clinics with the tournament competitors on the ToC Glass Court.
JP Morgan, a global financial services company, is returning as the Platinum title sponsor of the tournament for the fifth year. Lexington Partners, a sponsor for fourteen consecutive years, also returns for the fifth year as the event's gold sponsor. The JP Morgan Tournament of Champions is supported by Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, Comcast| NBCUniversal, The Campbell Apartment, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and Dunlop. The Westin New York Grand Central is the tournament's Official Hotel. The tournament's official charities are the urban youth enrichment programs StreetSquash and CitySquash.
The JP Morgan Tournament of Champions is operated by Squash Engine, Inc., an affiliate of longtime management company Event Engine, Inc., the largest commercial squash promotional company in the world.
More details on the event site www.tocsquash.com