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Bermuda
– Major Player

…Power …Wardrobes … Parke … "VOS"
… Virtual Spectator

Global Gallery, April
12, 2005

Martin Bronstein, writes this month from his
home in London.

© 2005 All rights
reserved.
all photos© 2005, Debra Tessier

BERMUDA:
FROM NOWHERE TO MAJOR PLAYER

The Virtual
Spectator Bermuda Masters was an unqualified success and with another
two years to run in their contract – climaxing with the 2007 World
Open – this small island has become a major player on the world
squash stage. Ross Triffitt the tournament director had an army of willing
volunteers but most importantly they were well trained. Between games
it was a great sight to see eight kids invade the court with towels wrapped
around their feet or armed with sprays and cloths to clean the glass walls.
At many tournaments they can barely muster one person to do the mopping
up after a sweaty body has hit the deck.

The Bermuda Open Venue photo©
2005, Fritz Borchert

SOMETIMES
IT’S NICE TO BE A JOURNALIST

I
t is
amazing how many tournaments invite the press and when we get there, we
are totally forgotten. All we need is a fair sized room and telephone
lines. In Bermuda we had a decent room and broadband and wifi connections
supplied by Logic, a phone company who was one of the sponsors. They had
two experts on hand to help us get connected and in our goody bag (Yes!
A VIP goody bag for journalists, by golly) there was a $20 telephone card.
The catering section for the VIPS was just outside the press room and
there was endless food at lunch and dinner. Even though for four days
we were working from noon until midnight (honest) these conditions made
it more than bearable.

THERE
GOES THE WARDROBE

In the goody bag, in addition to a T shirt and a Virtual Spectator polo
shirt, there was an Izod black polo shirt that was so good that it is
now probably the best piece of clothing in my wardrobe. I have no alternative
but to dump my entire wardrobe and buy a new one to match the glitzy Izod
polo shirt. Expensive tournament…

ANOTHER
GOOD REASON FOR NOT BEING A GOLFER

Bermuda
is expensive: a fishcake sandwich and a glass of wine cost me $32 at my
hotel. (I had a wonderful luxury room at the Fairmont in Southampton all
to myself). And the Sunday New York Times set me back $9.50!! That paled
in comparison to the suckers who signed up for the golf day on Friday.
They all turned up ready for a nice round of golf, which they assumed
was as last year, compliments of the promoters. Just before a ball was
struck, they were asked to cough up $110. Quite a few jaws hit the ground,
but they paid, as golfers do. And that did not include a meal or any drinks.

RUMOURS….
I heard from more than one source that the folks from the Bermuda Squash
Rackets Association are getting so serious about their tournament that
they are thinking about buying their own MacWil all-glass squash court.
They would have had a terrific indoor sports hall but their bid for the
cricket world cup came to nowt and so the building program has been stopped.

POWER-LESS

Power was fit and thin in Bermuda
photo©
2005, Stephen Line

In one of my
reports on the matches I referred to Jonathon Power’s use of his
large buttocks to block. ( I was told this by some other players). If
that is the case his weaponry may be decreasing. Part of his tremendous
performance through five hard matches in Bermuda may be due to a new diet
that he is following. His aim is to get down to 5 percent body fat. Be
that as it may, his mental state was as good as ever I have seen him.
Totally focused on his game plan of wearing his opponents down, even if
they were younger than him. He wore out Gregory Gaultier, Thierry Lincou,
John White and Lee Beachill. I gotta get me some of that diet.

SOME
PLAYERS NEVER LEARN

Talking
to Simon Parke at the end of tournament party and in the course of the
chat he let slip that he is currently dating the daughter of an international
referee. Now for a professional squash player to put himself in that situation
makes him vulnerable from both sides – from the father if the player
is less of a gentleman than he should be, and from the other players who
might think he’s getting preferential treatment.

SPIN?
WHAT SPIN?

The man
known as The Vice of Squash …sorry that should be the Voice of Squash
… was making a star of himself in Bermuda. It is some years since
I have attended a tournament where I have had to put up with his “presentation”
skills. Each night he told the spectators that the cameras they saw were
filming for television and this action would be seen by, wait for it,
would be seen by 600 million people. If you took four noughts off that
figure, the claim could still be termed imaginative. But then that man
has always had trouble differencing between fact, fiction and fantasy.

WANNA
FEEL GOOD? TECHNOLOGY

When the
spectators turned up to watch the quarters, semis and finals, they were
confronted with huge screens, and cameras everywhere. First of all there
was Pro-active, the company that films for television, then Virtual Spectator,
the sponsor had cameras everywhere, including an overhead camera and,
at the front of the court, an infra-red camera. They were seeing what
they could do with their 3-D know-how and their high definition cameras.
And then there was Horizon who responsible for putting the images on the
big screens, showing reruns and imparting all sorts of data. They are
the company who are webstreaming the matches for the PSA. I have to say,
it gave the whole tournament a sense of importance and an aura of professionalism.