Players will compete for their share of a $230,000 total prize purse, divided equally to $115,000 in each draw.
The women’s draw will also be increased to 32 players from a previous 16, now in line with the men’s draw, providing an opportunity for more female professional players to compete in a World Series event.
The news caught the attention of many in the sports world, including tennis-great Billie Jean King, who expressed her support.
“This announcement is so much more about the message than the money, and I am thrilled another U.S. championship event has stepped up and done the right thing.”
With more money in the pot, the stakes are higher in 2013 than ever before. Spectators are sure to see a tournament full of exciting matches and spectacular play from the best squash players in the world today.
“This year’s event, with the full 32 draw for men and women will be our best presentation of the championships to date. Our partnership with Drexel, now in its third year, also makes it easy for us to put on a great entertainment showcase,” said Kevin Klipstein, CEO of U.S. Squash.
“This is not your ordinary squash event.”
The event forms part of the 2013 World Series for both the Professional Squash Association (PSA) and Women’s Squash Association (WSA).
Former world champion tennis star Billie Jean King has expressed her support for the announcement that the U.S. Open Squash Championships will provide equal prize money for men and women from this year’s event.
In a world first for squash, it was announced this week by U.S. Squash that the U.S. Open will lead the way in the industry by raising the prize money for women $115,000 to make it equal to the men’s fund, also ahead of many other professional sports yet to achieve parity for both genders.
The former women’s world #1, U.S. Open tennis champion, and campaigner for sports equality and prize money parity in tennis says that the move reflects positively on the sport.
“Any time you can achieve equality in any field of endeavor – be it in sports or in life – everyone wins,” said the sports icon and social justice pioneer.
“This announcement is so much more about the message than the money, and I am thrilled another U.S. championship event has stepped up and done the right thing.”
The U.S. Open Squash Championships brings together the world’s most elite male and female players to compete in one of the top international displays of professional squash talent in the world.
It receives global recognition as one of the premier events on the squash calendar, and forms part of the World Series tour – equivalent to the Grand Slam in tennis – for both the Professional Squash Association (PSA) and Women’s Squash Association (WSA).
In 1972, King won the U.S. Open tennis, but earned $15,000 less money than the men’s winner Ilie Năstase, leading to hear announcement that she would not compete the following year if the prize money was not equal. Her campaigning led to the U.S. Open Tennis becoming the first major tournament to offer equal prize money for men and women in 1973.
U.S. Squash CEO, Kevin Klipstein, said he was appreciative of the support of the eminent sports champion.
“Billie Jean King has led the way for so many girls and women in the last four decades,” he said. “We are pleased to build on recent advances in providing opportunities for girls and women by finally offering full parity in prize money for the U.S. Open.
“To this day real disparities in rights and opportunities for women and girls continue in the US, and even more so internationally. The messages we send with our actions, large and small, overt and subtle, matter.”
From 2013, the women’s draw will also be increased to 32 players from a previous 16 player draw, now in line with the men’s draw, providing greater opportunity for female professional players to compete in the World Series event.
Women’s Squash Association Chairman and CEO, Ingrid Lofdahl-Bentzer also expressed her appreciation of the announcement by U.S. Squash.
“As so many times before, the US has been the torch bearer for equality. The WSA is proud of being yet another sport benefiting from the firm beliefs and consequent actions of gender equality,” she said.
“To our delight, U.S. Squash is stepping up to the plate by awarding equal prize money across the board in the prestigious US Open”
The 2013 Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships will be held from October 9-18 at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
In a world first for squash, U.S. Squash has announced that the prize purse for the 2013 Delaware Investments U.S. Open will provide equal prize money for both the women’s and men’s championships.
Leading the way in the industry, and ahead of many other professional sports yet to achieve parity for both genders, the prize money for the women will be raised to $115,000 to make it equal to the men’s fund.
The women’s draw will also be increased to 32 players from a previous 16 player draw, now in line with the men’s draw, providing greater opportunity for female professional players to compete in the World Series event.
“It is a top priority for us to promote opportunities for girls and women to play squash. Offering equal prize money is one way we are able to help more female squash players compete at the highest level and to their full potential.” says Kevin Klipstein, CEO of U.S. Squash.
“In the US we have the same number of girls playing as boys, a nearly equal number of women and men competing in college, and an incredible, dynamic, entertaining World Champion and recent U.S. Open Champion in Nicol David. The women’s tour is equally as significant and competitive as the men’s, and the opportunities for both genders should be equivalent.”
This year’s prize purse will total $230,000, paying $115,000 to each division, making it among the largest prize money events worldwide.
Last year the U.S. Open offered the highest prize money in the history of the event and attracted all of the world’s top ten men and women players. The event continues to grow in stature and the competition intensified with this latest raise, becoming one of the most prominent tournaments in the world, and one of the most popular amongst the world’s best players.
In professional sports, tennis has become the role model for prize money parity since the U.S. Open in tennis did so in the early 1970’s.
“Any time you can achieve equality in any field of endeavor – be it in sports or in life – everyone wins,” said sports icon and social justice pioneer Billie Jean King. “This announcement is so much more about the message than the money and I am thrilled another U.S. championship event has stepped up and done the right thing.”
The 2013 Delaware Investments U.S. Open will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia from October 9-18.
The world’s most elite players will return to Philadelphia in 2013 to compete in one of the top international displays of professional squash talent, the U.S. Open Squash Championships.
Official dates have been announced for the 2013 Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships, the premier event that forms part of the World Series tour for both the Professional Squash Association (PSA) and Women’s Squash Association (WSA).
The 2013 Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships will be held from October 9-18 and once again hosted at Drexel University.
Last year’s U.S. Open saw women’s world #1 Nicol David take home the women’s U.S. Open trophy – the first time she has won the U.S. Open title and the only world series trophy she needed to complete her collection.
Coming off court from a four game match against world #2 Raneem el Weleily, Nicol was thrilled with the win.
“I’m just so overwhelmed – I just won the U.S. Open! I can’t believe it,” she said.
2012 U.S. Open men’s champion Ramy Ashour echoed her sentiments.
“It’s so good to win such a big title, it means a lot to me,” he said.
“All the players are producing the best squash at this tournament, and it’s a great chance for squash fans around the world to watch some quality squash”.
The U.S. Open is a major international showcase of talent in the sport, bringing visitors from across the globe to Drexel University’s Daskalakis Athletic Center to view the competition between world’s best professional players.
“Drexel University works in close partnership with U.S. Squash to host the U.S. Open. They have excellent experience with hosting national and international events.
The Daskalakis Athletic Center is a world class venue which provides the best resources and facilities to present a global event of this size and prominence,” said Kevin Klipstein, CEO of U.S. Squash.
This will be the third consecutive year the prestigious tournament has been held at Philadelphia’s Drexel University.
The finals of the event are streamed live on Squash TV and broadcast by 18 distributors worldwide, reaching a potential audience of 300 million people worldwide.
Sponsorship opportunities are available for the 2013 U.S. Open Squash Championships. For more information email email@example.com.
During the 2012 event, the players created a highlight video of the U.S. Open and tribute to one of the host city’s other famous resident athletes, Rocky Balboa…
Congratulations to Alan Thatcher, founder of World Squash Day, on another very successful global Squash Day event on October 20. It was great to see the international community of squash lovers come together in a united effort to raise awareness of squash and heighten the support of our Olympic bid on this special day.
World Squash Day is a positive and impactful occasion, and we are proud that many member clubs in the United States participated in making it as successful as it was. While the US only has 4% of the court capacity globally, a notable 5% of the clubs that participated were from America, showing our nation’s commitment and love of the sport.
World Squash Day is one of the many initiatives that U.S. SQUASH is supporting to promote squash to the world as part of the entire Olympic bid campaign. We are deeply invested in the overall ongoing drive to promote squash to the world both inside and outside of the squash community, as part of the entire Olympic bid efforts that will be the consideration of the International Olympic Committee when they make their decision.
Along with numerous articles about the Olympic bid and World Squash Day on our websites and within emails sent to our members – in September, U.S. SQUASH ran an article (left) about World Squash Day at the front of our official publication, Squash Magazine, which is sent to all members across the country and available in squash clubs across the nation.
World Squash Day is one part of a broad array of activity that U.S. SQUASH has been heavily involved with in terms of funding, promoting and driving the Olympic pursuit of squash globally.
“The leadership of U.S. SQUASH has been directly and deeply engaged over the last few months in working closely with the World Squash Federation and some of the most important executives in the Olympic movement regarding squash’s pending bid. In particular U.S. Squash has raised a significant share of the funding for our talented bid consultant who is responsible for the overall campaign, including producing the necessary media material including the all-important bid film that will be utilized for the upcoming presentations to the IOC,” says Peter Lasusa, Board Chair of U.S. SQUASH.
The U.S. SQUASH Annual Assembly was recently held, open to all members and constituents of U.S. SQUASH, at which Mike Lee OBE, the Olympic bid consultant, was enlisted to make the keynote presentation to our members about the Olympic bid and activities to promote squash including World Squash Day, to raise a broader awareness and understanding of the campaign within the US. That keynote presentation was also live streamed to all U.S. SQUASH members and the community at large online.
“We are very grateful that U.S. SQUASH invited Mike Lee across during their Annual Assembly to help raise interest in the Olympic bid to all constituents within the United States. We are also very pleased with the written support in email blasts and articles that U.S. SQUASH has provided throughout the campaign,” says Andrew Shelley, Chief Executive of the World Squash Federation.
U.S. SQUASH has just wrapped up the 2012 Delaware Investments U.S. Open, which brought international attention to the game of squash and produced extensive local, national and global media coverage of our top professional players and their Olympic aspirations in the lead up to World Squash Day.
During the U.S. Open, a video was produced highlighting the world’s top players (left) and encouraging viewers to ‘Back the Bid’, both within the video and in the accompanying text. That video was sent out to the entire U.S. SQUASH membership and other stakeholders a few days before World Squash Day with an article explicitly encouraging members to contact their clubs to participate in World Squash Day, and has also already travelled extensively around the world via social media.
The U.S. Open was an excellent way of highlighting why squash deserves to be in the Olympics. Leading up to and during the U.S. Open, the promotion of squash’s Olympic bid was a heavy focus – an article about the Olympic bid (right) was published in the official event program, extensive Back the Bid branding and signage was displayed, regular membership emails and website updates were produced and distributed to our entire national membership profiling the Olympic bid, content was provided on the U.S. Open web app, and social media posts.
We will continue to support the Olympic bid over the coming months in the lead up to the IOC’s decision. It is clear that this campaign has brought out the best in our national and international community, who have banded together in support of the Olympic pursuit, and we look with optimism to the outcome.
*Article taken from the U.S. Open Official Program, view PDF here.*
By promoting our sport at the highest level, we celebrate the best in the world, while at the same time accomplishing the goals of increasing the availability and awareness of squash, and laying the foundation for providing resources needed to do it on a bigger and better scale each year.”
– Kevin Klipstein, CEO of U.S. SQUASH
The U.S. Open provides an opportunity to bring together every great aspect of our sport – from the top level elite professionals, to community and grassroots participants; from fanatical followers watching the event onscreen via SquashTV, to local Philadelphian supporters joining the crowds to watch the gripping battles live from the stands; from squash enthusiasts tweeting about their favorite player’s success in the tournament from the other side of the world, to schoolchildren staring in wide-eyed, inspired wonder as they actually get to meet their squash idol in person at the event.
Squash has touched the lives of millions, and its lure is addictive. With an involvement level of some 25,000,000 players in 185 countries across the globe, this challenging contest of agility, strategy, talent, and mental and physical strength brings together an enthusiastic community of passionate and energetic players.
The United States has the fastest growing squash participation level of any country worldwide – the most recent data from the Sporting Good Manufacturers Association shows a remarkable growth of 82% between 2007 and 2011. Junior squash is one of the fastest growing areas, with participation in U.S. SQUASH junior events increasing more than 400% in the same period. Doubles participation has surged with the success of the pro tour, with the women added in recent years and local tournaments and leagues increasingly active. Women’s squash is another area which has been significantly intensifying, and this year’s Women’s Squash Week in September was the biggest ever, with events held in twelve cities from coast to coast for hundreds of players of all ages and levels.
As well as higher participation rates, U.S. SQUASH membership has increased by 105% since our low in 2005. Nearly 16,000 U.S. SQUASH members enjoy the benefits of being able to view their club, district and national rankings online, link with our entire national membership community, contact other members directly, arrange matches online, receive tailored communications about the latest squash events and news, and receive discounts with partner organizations.
One of the most exciting recent innovations at U.S. SQUASH has been the launch of the new U.S. SQUASH website, which features enhanced interactivity, information, profiling and membership benefits. With the significant increase in membership in recent years, and the high levels of traffic that the site experiences (it is the most highly trafficked national squash website in the world!), the new site has created a modern and advanced platform for the expanding U.S. SQUASH community to keep up-to-date with the latest news, updates, rankings, events and program information. A mobile web app will be soon to follow, similar to the one already available for the 2012 U.S. Open!
One of the main goals of U.S. SQUASH is to make squash more broadly accessible to play and watch, and to promote it to those who aren’t familiar with the world of squash. Traditionally, squash was available only to those few who could afford to join clubs, and tournaments seen only by members of those clubs, but in recent decades we have moved in to a new era, where the joy of squash is accessible to everyone, from every walk of life.
The urban squash movement, led by the visionary social entrepreneur Greg Zaff, was the start to this change, when Squash Busters was launched in Boston in the mid-90s. The program was the starting block for what is now a national network of urban squash programs across the United States, overseen by the National Urban Squash and Education Association (NUSEA), offering squash, education, mentoring and a bright future to the nation’s underprivileged and at-risk youth.
Not only has the urban squash program had a phenomenal impact on the lives of the young people who access the services every day, but also on the squash community as a whole. Equally fulfilling is the opportunity for passionate squash players to share their love of our sport by passing on the flame to enthusiastic young people. No longer does the squash community exclusively focus inward. Hundreds of squash players volunteer at urban squash programs across the country, tutoring and coaching the students. They form deep relationships that last years and pass on their love for squash, often rediscovering it themselves in the process.
U.S. SQUASH’s own mission is also about focusing more broadly on growth and progression – using collaboration and innovation to intensify the awareness and participation in our sport, and achieve the vision of giving all people the opportunity to enhance their health and well being through squash.
Hosting an event like the U.S. Open raises the awareness of squash both internally and externally, and brings together local, national and international supporters of our sport – from local clubs and communities, urban squash players and volunteers, and grassroots participants, to international pro competitors, worldwide fans, and global stakeholders. It provides an excellent opportunity to reflect annually on everything we strive to achieve and inspire a renewed appreciation and recognition of our sport and its dedicated community.
The 2012 Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships came to a conclusion on Friday in front of a sellout crowd of almost a thousand fans who had the thrilling experience of witnessing two world champions, Nicol David and Ramy Ashour, play their hearts out to win the prestigious women’s and men’s U.S. Open title.
Despite extremely successful individual careers, including both previously having won the World Open, the highest level of professional competition – for both it was their first time winning the title of U.S. Open champion. For Nicol, it was the only major title missing from her trophy cabinet…she had won every other professional title possible in squash.
During their acceptance speeches, both players said that a chance at an Olympic medal would overshadow all the successes they have achieved in their careers so far. Nicol vowed that if the current Olympic bid is successful and squash does get voted into the 2020 Olympics, she’ll be there – “even if I have to bring my walking stick!” she chuckled.
Ramy added: “I’d swap all the trophies and all the successful things I’ve done in my life with one gold Olympic medal. It’s the pinnacle for every athlete in the world. I might be a little bit old, but hopefully I can make it in 2020.”
With World Squash Day coming up this week, a further global push to profile squash and the pursuit to secure a place at the 2020 Olympics, the U.S. Open was certainly an excellent lead up to highlight why our magnificent sport deserves to be there. The U.S. Open brought together every great aspect of our sport – from the top level elite professionals, to community and grassroots participants; from fanatical followers watching the event onscreen via SquashTV, to local Philadelphian supporters joining the crowds to watch the gripping battles live from the stands; from squash enthusiasts tweeting about their favorite player’s success in the tournament from the other side of the world, to schoolchildren staring in wide-eyed, inspired wonder as they actually got to meet their squash idol in person at the event.
Throughout the week thousands of fans from near and far walked through the doors of the host venue at Drexel University’s Daskalakis Athletic Center to experience the enthralling display of elite squash, and by all accounts it was an exceptional event.
“It’s so good to win such a big, big title – it means a lot to me,” said Ramy, “It has been a great week. Everything has been so well organized. Everyone has been doing their job here more than perfectly,” he added.
World #1 James Willstrop echoed the sentiments, both via Twitter during the event, as well as in an article he later penned for UK’s Yorkshire Post entitled ‘Squash is on the up in the US’.
Local media showed significant interest in the event, with television coverage from NBC10, PHL-17 and 6abc, the Philadelphia Inquirer providing daily updates on results and matches, and feature articles by the Philadelphia Business Journal, Daily Pennsylvanian, Drexel Triangle, Daily Princetonian, The Journal News and more. Further from home, international press coverage stretched from England, France, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Egypt, Mexico and Africa. Along with excellent ongoing coverage streamed live worldwide by PSA SquashTV throughout the event, the finals were also aired live and free to viewers on ESPN3.
In a highlight win for the United States, national wildcard Chris Gordon, world ranked #72, beat world #15 Hisham Ashour in the first round of the event. A huge win in his career, and a significant achievement for any player to beat an opponent over fifty places ahead in world rankings, the win will go down in the books as a special moment for squash in the United States.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to U.S. SQUASH. I wouldn’t be out here if it wasn’t for them. They gave me huge confidence by giving me a wildcard and helped me in my dream,” he said.
In addition to the U.S. Open championships, many other events occurred throughout the week in Philadelphia alongside the main tournament.
The U.S. SQUASH Annual Assembly was held, bringing together members from across the country to discuss all aspects squash in the United States, as well as the Olympic bid. The keynote presentation was made by Mike Lee OBE, who is leading the World Squash Federation’s campaign for squash’s inclusion in the Olympics.
“We have been setting out a campaign to show the way the sport has modernized, improved and innovated. We have engaged the players in presenting to the IOC, and the key thing now is maintaining momentum all the way till they take the final vote,” said Mr. Lee.
The U.S. SQUASH Hall of Fame inductees were announced in a ceremony at the U.S. Open, and Class of 2011 inductees Bob Callahan and Joyce Davenport were both formally inducted during on-court presentation.
Bob joked about why he had been given such a special honor. “I finally figured it out! It’s because I’ve been around so long, I have dirt on every single person in squash – somebody had to come up with the award before I wrote my first book,” he laughed.
SquashSmarts facilitated a Kids’ Day, where hundreds of kids from local schools across Philadelphia got to attend the U.S. Open and meet some of their favorite players. Additionally, an elite urban squash squad brought together 28 young players from urban programs across the nation who travelled from cities as far as San Diego, Denver, Detroit, Boston, New York, Baltimore and New Haven for the opportunity to immerse themselves in their favorite sport for the weekend. They participated in a squash development training squad at SquashSmarts, and also received a visit and coaching from women’s world #1 Nicol David, a trip to the U.S. Open to watch some their favorite stars in action, and even a go on the U.S. Open center court.
13 year old Kevin Price was the one participant chosen to come from Detroit to represent Detroit’s Racket Up program. He had never traveled on a plane before the weekend, and along with that new thrill he also got to meet his idols Nick Matthew and Amr Shabana, and had the opportunity to play on the U.S. Open’s all-glass showcase court.
Tim Wyant, Executive Director of NUSEA, said the whole experience has been wonderful for the players.
“For us to be a part of this weekend, probably the biggest weekend in the year for squash, and for us to have the support of U.S. SQUASH and people like Nicol David is really special,” said Wyant. “This is an amazing experience for everyone involved.”
Just over 300 players participated in a Junior Championship Tour tournament at Penn University on the first weekend of the U.S. Open, allowing the nation’s most highly skilled players under 19 years old to compete with each other, and in close vicinity to the worlds best professionals in Philadelphia. The players were able to visit the U.S. Open between their matches, to be inspired by the elite professionals who were competing nearby.
The Intercollegiate Doubles was also held at the nearby in Philadelphia during the first weekend of the U.S. Open, a national championship doubles event which included collegiate teams from across the country in men’s, women’s and mixed divisions.
Hundreds of scholar athletes, who were selected to receive the U.S. SQUASH Scholar Athlete Award for gaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher during the past school year as well as competing in a number of squash tournaments, received recognition for their achievements in front of the crowds during an on-court presentation.
Local clubs hosted qualifier matches of the U.S. Open, and groups of members then also came along together the main event together for specially catered local club nights.
All in all, the extent of participation and support for the U.S. Open was overwhelming, and the event was a success thanks to the cooperation of the hundreds and thousands involved. In Tim Wyant’s words, it certainly was ‘squash’s biggest weekend of the year’, and everyone is already speaking with enthusiasm about the next one.
In the meantime, the Olympic bid will continue its momentum, to finally be officially announced just before next year’s U.S. Open.
A momentous global awareness activity will occur on October 20, World Squash Day, when thousands of squash clubs across the world will participate in the ‘2020 Challenge’ – holding simultaneous tournaments with 20 players a side in an attempt to create ‘the biggest squash match in history’. Tens of thousands of passionate players have signed up to be involved in the event, which is hoped to provoke extensive worldwide media coverage and heightened awareness. If you aren’t already involved, contact your local club to find out more.
Hosting an event like the U.S. Open raises the awareness of squash both internally and externally, and brings together local, national and international supporters of our sport – from local clubs and communities, urban squash players and volunteers, and grassroots participants, to international pro competitors, worldwide fans, and global stakeholders. It provided an excellent opportunity to reflect on everything we strive to achieve – and it really did inspire a renewed appreciation and recognition of our sport and its dedicated community. This year, it also gave us the chance to show the International Olympic Committee what its all about.
There’s no denying that Olympic efforts have been made right across the world to support the Squash 2020 bid. Whatever the outcome, it is clear that this experience has brought out the best in our international community of over 25,000,000 dedicated squash players, hailing from 185 countries across the globe, who have banded together to support our Olympic pursuit. We have been deeply united through our passion for our beloved sport and our global quest to have it recognized on the world stage.
At best, not only have we intensified our relationships, developed an even more passionate and unified community, and generated broader awareness about our sport, but we will also have the joy and pride of witnessing our elite athletes compete beside the rest of the world’s best in 2020.