•  Davenport North American Open • 23-Feb to 02-Mar 2013 • Richmond, VA •  


History: 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004

By Alan Thatcher

Nine great champions recall nine Richmond finals....

2004 - Durbach

Rodney Durbach (South Africa) 3-0 Jan Koukal (Czech Republic)
                           15-8, 15-10, 15-11


"I remember the 2004 tournament well, not only as I won the event but the hospitality that was showed to me by the people of Virginia. I stayed with a South African family, Bruce and Lynn de Wet, with whom I am still in contact. It was always nice to stay with a SA family as they always made me feel at home.

My first round was against Eric Galvez, who I knew would be tough as he was quick and fit but I also knew that if I could control the game then it would be a good match to start the week with.

I got through 3-0 and the next match was the big one for me against Australian Cameron Pilley, who I had not lost to yet but he was looking good even way back then.

I played well and got through 3-0, which put me in the semi-finals against Shahier Razik, with whom I had had plenty of long matches already. I won 3-2. It was not pretty but I really wanted to play in the final as I knew that Jan Koukal had beaten Paul Price (another top Aussie) so that was a big incentive. I was very confident and the final went exactly the way I wanted.

I knew Jan would be nervous and a little slow to start as he had had some tough games getting to the final. The final was most likely the easiest match of the tournament for me physically, but mentally to stay in control it was the toughest.

It was great to play and to win but to get the watch was a big bonus. It was not a Rolex but a lovely watch from Tiffany's Jewellery Store which I am still wearing today.

I also used my prize money to buy the engagement ring to propose to Zoe, to whom I have been happily married to for eight years and we have a son, Hector, who is five.

Congratulations to the event for being such a success and growing from year to year to be one of the leading events on the USA squash calendar.

Thanks for the memories.

2005 - Zaman

Shahid Zaman (Pakistan) 3-1 Bradley Ball (England)
11-5, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9

Shahid Zaman is now Head Coach at the Tennis and Racquet Club in Boston MA.

“The 2005 final was a great match. Bradley Ball is a real fighter. I really enjoyed that final with him because he was very fierce squash player, too.

“That was a great experience of my life. At that time I was based in London, training with my brother Ali Jan and coach Mo Yasin at the Ealing Squash Club, which I still remember well. I travelled from there alone to America.

“About that tournament I would say that Gus Cook was a great promoter of the game and he really helped me. I am really thankful to that American family where I stayed. They looked after me like I was their own son. May God bless them. Overall the tournament was great and our PSA is always a big support

I am enjoying life in Boston and I have a son Muhammad, who is nearly two years old. Life is good. No complaints. Thanks to God, as always.”


2006 - White

John White (Scotland) 3-0 Adrian Grant (England)      11-9, 11-6, 11-9

John White is one of the most popular performers to have appeared in the NAO. He is a true world citizen. An Australian who later played for Scotland, his father’s birthplace, he is married to an American and is now Head Squash Coach at Drexel University in Philadelphia, which hosts the US Open.

A former world number one, and World Open finalist (losing to his Aussie buddy David Palmer in the 2002 final), he is one of the hardest hitters of a squash ball in history, measuring 172mph on his forehand and an incredible 171mph on the backhand! That 2002 World Open final, in Antwerp, was an astonishing battle. White won the opening two games and held match ball in the fourth before Palmer recovered to win it.

"Beating Adrian Grant in the final of the NAO is in the memory books for life!

“Playing on the glass court at the University of Richmond was very exciting. Nice venue, great crowd and we as players were treated very well!

One of the best-run events on the PSA Tour!”

2007 - Ricketts

Anthony Ricketts (Australia) 3-0 Lee Beachill (England) 11-8, 11-7, 12-10

Anthony Ricketts of Australia produced a fighting recovery to bounce back from 10-5 down in the third game to win the final of the Virginia Pro Open in Richmond in 2007.

After powering through the first two games he was unable to maintain the momentum as the Englishman built a substantial lead in the third.

It was here that Ricketts seemed to switch back into machine mode - one that simply would not make any mistakes. This was an excellent display of how to focus your mind on your goal and not let anything get in your way. At 6-10 everyone was expecting to see the match go into a 4th game but Ricketts had other plans.

In a display of clinical finishing and pure concentration Ricketts gain excerted the pressure that had been seen in the first two games. The pace and accuracy was back and Beachill, who did appear a little tentative, couldn't respond and the Australian ran straight through the Englishman for seven unanswered points.

Ricketts took the third and final game 12-10 in emphatic style and with it the title of 2007 Virginia Pro Champion - still without dropping a game on the way!


2008 - Willstrop

James Willstrop (England) 3-2 Gregory Gaultier (France)
                          11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4

“This was a tough five-setter that really went to the wire. I had played well the whole week and it was during a good spell of form.

“I had reached the final at the Tournament of Champions, I won the British Nationals and also won the Canary Wharf final, so this win in Richmond was a big victory for me. The final was very tough and very tightly contested.”

2009 - R. Ashour

Ramy Ashour (Egypt) 3-2 Nick Matthew (England)
                       11-8, 13-11, 10-12, 5-11, 11-8

By Whit Sheppard

Ramy is just 21 years old, after all, and our new champion showed his youth when he vanished shortly after the match ended, which made for an interesting two-tier awards ceremony.

Nick Matthew came out and was extremely gracious in defeat, hitting all the right notes in his brief post-match comments, thanking the sponsors and praising the tournament organizers.

Said the runner-up from Sheffield, England: “It was great that everyone got behind both of us. Thank you very much for your support, it made it a pleasure to play.”

Ashour was eventually found, and made his apologies for his tardiness to the awards ceremony. He first thanked his opponent and joked that he never thought the match would go so long.

He then said: “I’m really happy winning this match. I think I’m back on track and have my confidence back.”

2010 - Matthew

Nick Matthew (England) bt Ramy Ashour (Egypt)
            11-9, 16-14, 5-4 retired

“I had lost the 2009 final to Ramy in five games and had come back from 2-0 down so I was determined to get a good start in 2010.

“The first game is always crucial with Ramy and after winning this one I managed to keep the momentum and win a tight 3-0 for my first NAO title.”

2011 - Matthew

Nick Matthew (England) 3-2 Ramy Ashour (Egypt)
11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6

“These were two contrasting finals. In 2011 it was a more topsy-turvy affair, with me gaining a two-game lead before Ramy, spurred on by a capacity crowd in the new venue at the Westwood Club, staged a great comeback but I managed to hold on in the fifth.

“Everyone is so gracious in Richmond and the tournament has a great community feel, firstly at the CCV and UOFR and now at the Westwood Club.

“The fact that Ramy and I have shared three great finals in Richmond means we get a great reception every time we go there. I have also often said the Jefferson Hotel is the best hotel we stay at on tour.”

2012 - Willstrop

James Willstrop (England) 3-0 Ramy Ashour (Egypt)
                              11-7, 11-8, 11-7

James Willstrop’s triumphant march to victory at the Westwood Club propelled the tall Yorkshireman back to the number one spot, which he held for the rest of the year.

“This was one of my best-ever performances. Ramy is a big threat with his attacking ability and I managed to stop him playing
the way he wanted to.

“I apologised to the crowd because it was not an exciting spectacle. It’s one of the matches I will always remember. Everything came together for three games in a major final in a very special tournament.

“That’s the kind of performance you are striving for all the time. It was career highlight. In fact, the whole week was.”

Previous NAO Winners

Year Winner Runner Up Score
2012 James Willstrop (Eng) Ramy Ashour (Egy) 11-7, 11-8, 11-7
2011 Nick Matthew (Eng) Ramy Ashour (Egy) 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6
2010 Nick Matthew (Eng) Ramy Ashour (Egy) 11-9, 16-14, 5-4 retired
2009 Ramy Ashour (Egy) Nick Matthew (Eng) 11-8, 13-11, 10-12, 5-11, 11-8
2008 James Willstrop (Eng) Grégory Gaultier (Fra) 11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4
2007 Anthony Ricketts (Aus) Lee Beachill (Eng) 11-8, 11-7, 12-10
2006 John White (Sco) Adrian Grant (Eng) 11-9, 11-6, 11-9
2005 Shahid Zaman (Pak) Bradley Ball (Eng) 11-5, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9
2004 Rodney Durbach (Rsa) Jan Koukal (Cze) 15-8, 15-10, 15-11

History: 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004

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