Victory for Laura Massaro and Gregory Gaultier at the PSA Dubai World Series Finals in May brought an end to what has been one of the most remarkable and memorable seasons ever in the history of professional squash – a nine-month spell that saw records broken, rivalries ignited, careers forged and history made.
Over the next few weeks we're looking back at the major moments that lit up the PSA World Tour during 2015/16, starting with the breakthrough performances, to the most outstanding performers and performances, shock moments, and rising stars that ensured the 2015/16 season – the first full season of combined governance since the PSA and WSA joined forces in a historic merger back on January 1st, 2015 – will go down in the sporting annals as one of the best ever.
While the players towards the top of the rankings were taking a break from action during the off season, there were still plenty of other tournaments taking place on the PSA World Tour throughout June.
World No.31 Paul Coll may have risen to prominence as a result of his ‘Superman’ dives during March’s Canary Wharf Classic, but it was June where the New Zealander really came into his own as he picked up three PSA World Tour titles on the bounce.
The 24-year-old began his month with victory over Australia’s Rex Hedrick in the final of the New Zealand PSA Classic on home soil before following that up with wins at the Christchurch Open and Invercargill Open over Angus Gillams and Tsz Fung Yip, respectively – ensuring that he captured three straight Tour crowns for the first time in his career.
As such, Coll was awarded the PSA Men’s Player of the Month for June, while England’s Millie Tomlinson captured her third successive Tour title at the Ukrainian Cup to be named as the Women’s winner.
Ukrainian Cup victor Mille Tomlinson (left) with runner-up Anna Klimundova.
Despite his defeat to Coll, Gillams still had a month to remember after taking the plaudits at the PSA Angers event where a 3-1 win over Spain’s Carlos Cornes Ribadas was enough for him to capture a fourth Tour title.
Tong Tsz-Wing and Tamika Saxby joined Tomlinson as the other female title winners throughout June, with Tsz-Wing triumphing at the Penang Open, while Saxby slalomed to the Sandgate Open crown.
Elsewhere, Australian veteran Mike Corren’s triumph at the Golden Open saw him make history by breaking his own record as the oldest ever PSA World Tour title winner at the age of 42 years and 99 days – extending his lead as the most successful active player on Tour with 51 titles to his name, 14 more than three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour.
Golden Open winner Mike Corren (second from left) with runner-up Ko Youngjo (second from right)
Jan Koukal of the Czech Republic was also in title-winning form last month after his Gibraltar Open triumph saw him become the first player to win at least one Tour title in 13 consecutive years – a victory that also saw him overtake the likes of World No.4 Nick Matthew, Egyptian legend Amr Shabana and World Champion Gregory Gaultier to become the sole occupier of third place on the list of the most successful active players with 34 titles under his belt.
The fourth stage of the 2016 Tour de las Americas headed to Paraguay in June where Mexico’s Arturo Salazar stormed to a second consecutive Tour crown, while Buenos Aires hosted the fifth stage, with Leandro Romiglio triumphing on that occasion.
Arturo Salazar (right) celebrates his Paraguay Open win against runner-up Robertino Pezzota
England’s Patrick Rooney and Mexico’s Jesus Camacho celebrated winning their maiden Tour titles at the Madeira International and British Virgin Islands Open, respectively, while Shehab Essam was the another victor throughout June with his win at the Arab Open.
Full List of Winners
Arab Federation Open 2016 – Shehab Essam (EGY)
Tour de las Americas – Paraguay Open 2016 – Arturo Salazar (MEX)
IJM Land 4th Penang Women’s Open 2016 – Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG)
PSA Angers 2016 – Angus Gillams (ENG)
City of Prague Open 2016 – Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP)
Harrow Ukrainian Squash Cup 2016 – Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
City of Kalgoorlie & Boulder Golden Open 2016 – Mike Corren (AUS)
Fitzherbert Rowe Lawyers New Zealand PSA Classic 2016 – Paul Coll (NZL)
Tour de las Americas – Buenos Aires Tortugas Open 2016 – Leandro Romiglio (ARG)
Madeira International Squash Tournament 2016 – Patrick Rooney (ENG)
Squashways Christchurch Open 2016 – Paul Coll (NZL)
Sandgate Open 2016 – Tamika Saxby (AUS)
ILT – Community Trust NZ Southern Invercargill Open 2016 – Paul Coll (NZL)
British Virgin Islands Open Squash Championship 2016 – Jesus Camacho (NZL)
Gibraltar Squash Association Gibraltar Open 2016 – Jan Koukal (CZE)