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Australian Open 2010
09-15 August, Royal Theatre, Canberra

Duncalf leads Commonwealth assault
Andrew Dent reports

Three of the main contenders for the gold medal in the women’s singles at the 2010 Commonwealth Games are heading to Canberra in August for the Australian Open squash tournament.

England’s world number two Jenny Duncalf, fellow countrywoman Alison Waters (5) and Northern Ireland’s Madeline Perry (7) are the latest top quality players to enter the country’s most prestigious squash tournament.

They are joined in the top 10 by world number nine and 2006 champion Kasey Brown, the 24-year-old from Taree in New South Wales, who will be desperate to win another trophy after being runner up in 2007 and 2008 and a semi-finalist last year.

With the closing date for entries not for another two weeks, the 2010 women’s field is shaping up as the strongest since the glory days when Australian greats Michelle Martin and Sarah Fitz-Gerald dominated the sport.

So far eight of the world’s top 20 have entered and another four players ranked between 20 and 30 have also confirmed.

They include New Zealand pair Jaclyn Hawkes (14) and Joelle King (20), Malaysian duo Delia Arnold (22) and Low Wee Wern (27), Australian Donna Urquhart (16) and Frenchwoman Isabelle Stoehr (18).

Duncalf, 27, had a stellar year in 2009, winning three major tournaments in a row to end the year, including the US Open and Qatar Classic.

She is the last woman to have beaten world number one Nicol David and is heavily favoured to push the Malaysian superstar at this year’s Commonwealth Games. The last Englishwoman to win the Australian Open was Lisa Opie, who won the title in 1986 and 1987.

“We are delighted to welcome players of this calibre to Canberra,” Squash Australia CEO Gary O’Donnell said. “It’s been many years since Australian squash fans have been able to see the world’s best women on our shores.

“I encourage all sports fans to get to the ACT in August and see just how exciting squash can be.”

Have a look at  www.squash.me.uk/test for an alternative look at the Australian Open .... comments appreciated

King back to defend her
Australian Open title

New Zealand’s Joelle King confirmed on Tuesday she would be back to defend her Australian Open squash title in Canberra in August.

King stunned a talented field when she stormed to the 2009 Australian Open, beating 2008 champion Annie Au of Hong Kong in a thrilling women’s final.

The Australian Open was the biggest win of the 21-year-old’s career and began a surge up the world rankings to her current position of 20.

Following the rise in prize money for the 2010 tournament, King acknowledged she would find it difficult to defend her title at Canberra’s Royal Theatre from August 10-15.

“Winning the Australian Open was an absolutely amazing feeling for me, my first major title and some good wins over top 20 players,” King said of her 2009 triumph.

“I went into the tournament seeded sixth, but after a lot of hard work I knew I was ready to make a breakthrough.

“Joining the class of players on that trophy was so exciting and no one will ever take that away from me.

“I’m looking forward to Canberra this year and the next challenge of defending my title, which I know is going to be much tougher.

“Having gone up to a gold level tournament all the best players in the world will be there.”

King will be joined in the field by fellow countrywoman Jaclyn Hawkes, the world number 14, and France’s world number 18 Isabelle Stoehr.

Other confirmed entries are Malaysia’s Delia Arnold (22), Denmark’s Line Hansen (26), Queenslander Lisa Camilleri (39) and the world’s top ranked junior, India’s Dipika Pallikal.

Organisers are expecting many of the world’s top 10 to enter this year’s tournament over the next few weeks.

In the men’s field, 19 of the top 20, including Australians David Palmer, Cameron Pilley and Stuart Boswell and new number one Englishman Nick Matthew have already entered.

2006 Event   2007 Event   2008 Event  2009 Event

April 2010:
Palmer commits to Australia Open

Australia’s champion squash player, David Palmer has committed to playing in this year’s Australian Open. In what is likely to be his last year as a full-time touring professional, the former World, British and Australian Open champion is looking forward to competing for the title he won in 2008.

The 2010 Australian Open will be held in Canberra for the first time and will be a major sporting event for that city in August. Over a hundred of the world’s best men and women squash players and a few thousand spectators will place Canberra at the centre of world squash.

David is currently based in Orlando, Florida in the United States to take advantage of the lucrative US squash tour, but he is true-blue Aussie and can’t wait to get back home.

“Apart from a few exhibition matches the Commonwealth Games and the Australian Open in 2008, squash fans in Australia have not seen me playing and competing against the best in the world. That is true of all our touring Aussies. I couldn’t be happier that the Australian Open in 2010 will be right up there as one of the handful of elite tournaments,” David said.

“Another great bonus is that the men’s and women’s tours will come together in Canberra. That always makes for a great atmosphere and a large number of high standard matches to watch.

“I know Canberra is Stewart Boswell’s home town, but it almost like home for me. I grew up in inland NSW a few hours north and I feel strongly the move to Canberra, the increase in prize money and the move to August will make it a great championship,” David said. Stewart Boswell is the defending Australian Open champion and a native of Canberra although now based in Manchester in England.

Organisers of the Australian Open welcome David Palmer’s commitment to his home championships. “It’s a great outcome when the leading Australian players who are nearly all based overseas make the effort to travel back home for the Australian Open,” said Gary Hampson, Tournament Director. “This year, they have to be on their best form to keep the title in Australian hands. Most, if not all, of the top sixteen ranked players in the world will be. Let’s hope David is fit, healthy and determined in August.”

David will also be promoting his recent change in rackets to Black Knight. The gold-finished racket he has been using recently has certainly drawn a lot of comment from his fans.

Another bonus of the rescheduling of the Australian Open to August is the preparation this allows for the Commonwealth Games team for October in Delhi. Doubles matches on a two metre wider court is a feature of the Commonwealth Games competition. The overseas-based Australian players returning in August can practice their doubles and hone the team skills they will need to win Gold in Delhi. A doubles camp has been arranged in Melbourne immediately following the Open in Canberra.

2006 Event   2007 Event   2008 Event  2009 Event

July 2009:
Canberra to host
Australian Open 2010-2013

Squash Australia announced on Sunday that Canberra will host the Australian Open for the next four years, beginning in 2010.

The tournament will be held next July on an all-glass court set up in one of the city’s major venues. Prize money will be boosted for both the men and the women’s events, ensuring participation by even more of the world’s top players.

The Australian Open has been held in the South Australian wine growing town of Clare for the past three years and has grown in stature and exposure over that time.

Squash Australia president John Holland said holding the tournament in the nation’s capital would mean more exposure for a tournament steeped in Australian squash history.

“Squash ACT put in a very impressive bid, backed by important support from the ACT Government,” Holland said.

“While other cities were interested in hosting the Australian Open, Squash Australia believed that the ACT bid was far and away the best and it was a unanimous board decision to award Canberra the tournament.”

Squash ACT president Gary Hampson said that with nearby Queanbeyan having produced Heather McKay, arguably the best player in history, the area had a proud squash history. He said Squash ACT envisaged turning the Open into a major sporting event which would draw visitors to the city.

“Half of Canberra seems to disappear off to Melbourne for the Australian Open tennis in January – we want people to head for the Australian Open party and squash festival in Canberra in July,” he said.

“It’s more than just the Men’s and Women’s Championships. There will be parties, coaching seminars, tours and mini-tournaments for all level of players. What other major sporting event in the world encourages the spectators to come along and play their sport alongside the touring professionals? It will be a real festival of squash.”

ACT Sports Minister Andrew Barr said the tournament had the potential to become a tourism drawcard as the city heads towards its centenary in 2013.

“The Australian Open represents the premier squash tournament in this country and for it to be held in Canberra for the next four years is a fantastic achievement,” he said. “I congratulate Squash ACT on their successful bid and I am excited by their proposal to develop a ‘Festival of Squash’ with the Australian Open as the showpiece.”

Canberra continues to produce world class players, with three-time Australian Open champion Stewart Boswell currently ranked number 20 in the world and 18-year-old Christine Nunn about to head off to India with the Australian Junior Women’s team.

Boswell, in Clare for the 2009 Australian Open, said playing the tournament in his home town would be a career highlight.

“I have spent so much time overseas that to come home to play the tournament in Canberra would be something special.”





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