A NEW ERA FOR SQUASH
the nomination of Welsh Devil Alex Gough at the head of the
Professional Squash Association, alongside new CEO M. Big Richard
Graham, and the more and more prominence and involvement of our
SquashMad Ziad Al Turki, it’s like a rush of fresh blood is
flowing through the Squash Body. Dialogue, new ideas, new
initiatives, new wills, new enthusiasm seem to have invaded our
Of course, Paul Walters, one of the most active (not to
mention criticised) squash promoters, had been talking with Queen’s
Club for three to four years now. But the fact that Ziad and Paul’s
joint venture, the Super Series Finals, has now landed at
Queen's for a three years spell is not only excellent news for
Squash, but quite characteristic of the New Era that I truly believe
is opening for our sport.
"It's certainly a better day today for Squash than Tennis! (it
"The Queen's Club is the right place for the Super Series Finals to
"Every tennis member is delighted to hear the news of this event."
CEO of Queen's Club
"This is fantastic news - Queen's Club is an English institution.
I've been here just five minutes and I already feel at home
"But, unfortunately, being here today doesn't qualify me to be in
the event! I need to do well in the rest of the Super Series events
this year to earn my place.
"The Super Series Finals is a great event - every match is almost
like a World Open final.
"Following the success of the Stella Artois tennis, having the
tournament here will be just fantastic!"
As you walk from Baron’s Court tube station to the famous English
Club, you cannot help feeling like you are in a time warp. The
imposing building sits as if it owns the place, and its calm
tradition impregnates the whole neighbourhood.
Then you enter, and more than a hundred years of history hits your
imagination. Precious wood, old photos, muffled sounds, long
corridors, people dressed in white everywhere (well, etiquette
oblige), stairs – “there is a lift, but we don’t use it much”, says
a member with a great smile - a wonderful ambiance all around, and
we are finally here, a great large room arranged for the press
At the top table, sit Andrew Stewart (New Chief Executive,
Queen’s Club), Lord Marshall (Queen’s Chairman, previously
Chairman and CEO of British Airways and currently also Chairman of
Nomura, a top Japanese bank), Ziad & Paul, and Nick Matthew,
who confirms what I’ve been feeling since I arrived… "The Super
Series being played here is fantastic news - Queen's Club is an
English institution. I've been here just five minutes and I already
feel at home… "
With a little smile, he adds “But, unfortunately, being here today
doesn't qualify me to be in the event! I need to do well in the rest
of the Super Series events this year to earn my place.”
Yes, it’s great news that Queen’s is welcoming the event. Even
Anthony Ricketts, all the way from New Zealand, called his
former manager Paul Walters: "This is fantastic news - I only wish
it had happened while I was still playing!" That says it all…
away with club members, in particular David Tarsh, chairing
the Squash tournament committee at Queen’s that was responsible for
attracting the SSF to the Club, I realise how keen everybody is to
have us around.
“We will offer top-notch lunches and dinners during the tournament,
giving spectators the chance to enjoy an all around event. Also, we
will hold a gala dinner on the Tuesday night, attended by all the
players and sponsors, preceded by a Champagne reception at the
"We hope this could become something of a social highlight in the
Squash calendar. Our aspiration is that Queen's will do for Squash
what Henley does for rowing and Ascot for horse racing." You can see
in his eyes how excited he is about this whole new venture. And
Lord Colin Marshall confirms, "The Queen's Club is the right
place for the Super Series Finals to be." And those are not just
words. The Gentleman means every syllable.
It was a good press conference. A few important mainstream
journalists came round, and it was nice to see them here, proving if
needed be that squash is again interesting the mass medias. Ziad and
Paul, both relaxed and smiling, were obviously delighted with the
whole morning, and they should be. They have done great.
”Squash is THE most exciting sport there is - and I hope we can use
this to convince all the members of Queen's, and the rest of the
world,” concluded SquashMad Ziad.
I rest my case…
ATCO Super Series Final is an extremely prestigious event on the PSA
calendar and it is fitting that it has found a permanent home in one
of the great racquet clubs of the world.
"One of the characteristics of the PSA Tour is that it has
traditionally featured some outstanding venues which many other
sports can only dream about - and the Queens Club with its blend of
tradition and elegance is an important addition for us.
"I am sure the club members will be thrilled by the level of squash
that they see and that the tournament will attract a good audience
at its new home. Mr Ziad al-Turki and ATCO are great patrons of the
sport and it's fantastic for the PSA to have such support as we look
to develop our Tour and showcase our players."
PSA Chief Executive
and I are rights-holders for the Super Series Finals, and we could
hold it anywhere in the world, but have chosen to keep it in London
where it has been for many years now.
"Queen's Club is known the world over - it's great news for Squash
that the Super Series Finals will be held here. It is very easy -
and quick - to set up an all-glass squash court and seating in a
place like this. It will be much less disruptive to Queen's Club
members than the Artois tennis tournament.
"Squash has great athletes who deserve greater profiles, and is the
most exciting sport there is - I hope we can use this to convince
all the members of Queen's, and the rest of the world."
SSF 2009 announcement