09-15 August, Royal Theatre, Canberra
Duncalf leads Commonwealth
Andrew Dent reports
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
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.
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
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.
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.”
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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.
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
“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.
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.
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
“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
“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.
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
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
“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
“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.
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