For the third year, doubles came to singles, as the four-handed game was celebrated during Doubles Day at the 2019 FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships.
Doubles Day highlighted the game of hardball doubles, a hugely popular and growing game in North America. Hardball squash doubles was originally invented in 1907 at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia, fewer than twenty blocks from Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center. Doubles Day included a look at the future of the game, with the finals of the 2019 U.S. Intercollegiate Squash Doubles Championships at Philadelphia Cricket Club.
All 2018-19 national doubles champions were honored with an on-court celebration. Those present included players of all ages, from National Junior Doubles champions to National Age Group Doubles champions in the 75+ division.
Graham Bassett, the Squash Doubles Association (SDA) tour director, presented the association’s annual awards on court. Bassett spoke about the benchmarks of the men’s professional tour: events were contested in twenty cities across Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. with prize money totaling more than $600,000. “As a player-run tour,” Bassett said, “these awards are particularly impactful for players as they are recognitions from their peers.”
Colin West was given the 2019 Rookie of the Year Award. West won the Pittsburgh Golf Challenger in February and rose to No. 25 in the SDA rankings.
The Most Improved Player Award went to Hameed Ahmed. He was a finalist at the Denver Club Open and the Piedmont Driving Club Cup in Atlanta and was a semifinalist at the Tavern Club Open in Cleveland. In just three seasons on tour, Ahmed, the associate head coach at Harvard, has risen to No. 15 in the world rankings.
The Team of the Year Award was given to James Stout & Greg McArthur. This tandem captured the Baltimore Cup and were finalists at the Maryland Club Open, North American Open, and the David C. Johnson Jr. Memorial.
John Russell won the Player of the Year Award. Russell, playing with five different partners, reached eleven finals and won five events, including the prestigious Kellner Cup. His impressive season saw him finish atop the SDA rankings.
The Sportsmanship Award was given to Greg McArthur. “This player was selected by his peers,” Bassett said, “as a consummate gentleman on and off the court. He plays clean and never exchanges a negative word with opponents on court, all while achieving a career high No. 4 ranking.”