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January 16 - 24, 2019

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World’s Squash Stars Confirmed for 2019 ToC

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December 6, 2018
by Chris McClintick

[Above: Raneem El Welily (l) and Mohamed ElShorbagy]

The 2019 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions welcomes 46 of the top 49-ranked men and 46 of the top 50-ranked women following the release of the tournament entry list today by tournament officials.

Egypt’s world No. 1’s Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem El Welily lead the field that will compete in one of sport’s most iconic venues—majestic Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal on the state-of-the-art Oracle NetSuite SuiteSuccess all-glass court—January 16-24.

Since 1995, the sport’s longest continuous and most iconic tournament has attracted the world’s top squash players. This year’s tournament features expanded draws of 48 players competing for a tournament record $360,000 in prize money, split evenly between the men and women.

“Squash fans will again be thrilled by watching the world’s best players battle for one of our game’s most prestigious and coveted titles in squash’s most electrifying atmosphere,” said tournament founder and director John Nimick.  “And with J.P. Morgan’s leadership, we are very proud to continue our tradition of making every match in Grand Central free and open to the public, as well as to our enthusiastic ticketed audience.”

The men’s draw will be without just one of the world’s top 20, 2009 ToC champion Gregory Gaultier, who misses what would be his thirteenth ToC appearance. Grand Central Terminal will welcome back a three-time ToC champion in the form of Egypt’s Ramy Ashour. Following an injury-ridden start to the season, Ashour will make his first PSA World tour appearance in his adopted home city. World No. 13 Fares Dessouky joins his compatriot Ashour in marking his return from injury at the ToC.

Germany’s Simon Rösner will defend his title with his highest career world ranking of No. 3, which the thirty-one-year-old achieved in December. England’s former world No. 1 James Willstrop joins his fellow past ToC champions ElShorbagy, Rösner and Ashour.

Team USA will have at least two representatives in the men’s first round with world No. 48 Todd Harrity qualifying for the draw based on ranking for the first time, and two-time U.S. men’s champion Chris Hanson occupying the men’s wild card position.

The women’s draw attracted the world’s top 20 ranked players, including four past champions. Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini is aiming to become the first women’s three-time ToC champion at just twenty-three years of age. El Sherbini, world No. 2, will be motivated to reclaim the world No. 1 ranking after her compatriot El Welily pegged her off the No. 1 spot for the first time in thirty-one months in December.

France’s Camille Serme, the 2017 ToC champion, returns to Vanderbilt Hall ranked world No. 5. Malaysia’s Nicol David, the most decorated women’s player in the sport with eight world titles, joins the field as the twelve seed.

The U.S. will have at least four Americans in the women’s draw—a tournament record—including two top-twenty players, Amanda Sobhy and Olivia Blatchford Clyne. Sobhy made her comeback to the PSA world tour following a devastating Achilles injury last year and returns to her home state ranked world No. 13 and will receive a first round bye. Connecticut’s Olivia Blatchford Clyne enters the tournament with a ranking of world No. 17, and will be joined by Brooklyn-native Haley Mendez, world No. 40, in the first round of play.

For the second consecutive year, sixteen-year-old Connecticut native Marina Stefanoni will occupy the women’s wild card spot. Last year, the three-time U.S. junior champion made her glass court professional debut in Grand Central.

A men’s and women’s pre-qualifying tournament will be held in January to determine the remaining two wild card spots.

View all entrants here.

Draws are set to be released on Thursday, December 13.

For tickets and more information visit tocsquash.com.