NEW YORK PUTS THE POWER BACK ON
We writers love Jonathon Power because he has a surname that gives us
a thousand bad puns: Power Failure, Power Surge, Power Cut, Super Power,
Power of Love, Glower Power and so on. Apart from that, I think that my
fellow Canadian is the best thing that has happened to squash since JahangirÂs
5-year winning streak.
|Power and Nicol
Keep up the Rivalry © 2002 D Tessier
is witty, outrageous, inventive, entertaining and articulate in two languages,
as all good Canadians should be, which means he always has something interesting
to say after a match. Alarmingly, over the last year there were signs that
the Power era was over: he had hardly won a tournament and had not beaten
Peter Nicol since the YMG Classic in Toronto in 2000. As you all know by now
Power took a thundering (or as Alan Thatcher would say ÂstunningÂ) 3/0 victory
over Nicol in the final of the Tournament of Champions in New York on February
say he surprised everybody is to commit the understatement of the year:
Nicol had been playing superbly and the betting in the press room wasnÂt
who would win, but how quickly Nicol would win. In a way New York is PowerÂs
town and the Grand Central crowd inspire him. After his disappointing
showing in the US Open in Boston two weeks earlier, it was great to see
him back again once more to keep the
Power versus Nicol confrontation on the boil. It threatens to
become a longer set of head-to-heads than the Jahangir
versus Jansher of a decade ago. (By the way you can find both
sets of head-to-heads on SquashTalk).
|Tessier on court
with Martin Heath
Tessier (initials:DAT) is not only SquashTalkÂs chief photographer and assistant
web-master, she is also a real techno-freak. In Grand Central Station she
made the blokes in the press room look like mumbling troglodytes. If there
was a problem with a laptop, e-mail or the web, we all went crying to Debbie
who sorted it out in no time flat.
has also gotten into movies, and you can find examples of her work on
Squashtalk with the interviews of Power, Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Chris Walker
in New York and Joe Kneipp at the US Open. But she is foremost a damn
good photographer: see my report of the TOC final between Power and Nicol.
The second photo shows Nicol at full stretch at the front of the court
while Power stands upright, languidly watching the tortures he is putting
his opponent through. Could be Photo of the Year. Steve Line, watch out!
A GLASS BRIGHTLY
There is understandable nervousness about going to Pakistan to cover the
Pakistan Open in March: the political climate between India and Pakistan
is still simmering and the WSF is keeping a very close eye on the situation.
Now that Finland have pulled out of hosting the MenÂs world Team Champs
next year, Pakistan are considering putting in a bid for the event.
Pakistan Squash Federation have just purchased a sparkling new all-glass
court from Germany (thatÂs about $120,000 worth of court), so they must
be taking it all very seriously. And while we are on courts, I bumped
into my old friend David Carr, who, with his partner Wolfgang, are putting
up squash courts all over the world. Last year they supplied courts in
both Russia and China. He was interested in my piece in the last Global
Gallery about Anderson Courts all over Massachusetts. CarrÂs company is
also building courts in the US and says there is enough work for both
companies. At a guess, he said, there were over 100 new squash courts
erected in the USA last year. In England there were about 15. Guess where
the squash growth is going to be?
JOURNALIST SUFFERS PRICE CUT
Chris Walker surprised everybody, yet again, by beating higher ranked
players to get to the semis of the Tournament of Champions. First he beat
world number two David Palmer, who refused to shake hands after the last
point and then ten minutes later when Walker again offered his hand. (If
Joe Shaw, PalmerÂs Aussie mentor, reads this he will be furious at PalmerÂs
behaviour). And then Walker beat Paul Price, another Australian, 17-16
in the fifth. I offered my congratulations to Price on a good match and
he turned and snarled at me, telling me to shut up and never to talk to
him again. Strangely another Australian player said a similar thing to
one of the referees, accusing him of national prejudice. Sorry, no names.
But I do wish these young Aussies would take a leaf out of the great Geoff
HuntÂs book when it comes to sporting behaviour.
Trouble with squash, there is no great literature and in an effort to
give the sport a little class, I think we should start a tradition right
here with Haiku For Squash, which would also encourage Japan to really
get into the sport.
is an ancient 17-syllable
Japanese verse format composed of three lines with five syllables in the
first, seven in the second and five in the third. Here is my first attempt:
hide in the nick
little black ball. Bounce you
send your Haikus to me at SquashTalk. Best one gets a copy of David PearsonÂs
new coaching book.
HAIL CAROL OWENS; NEW KIWIÂ
By the time you read this, Carol Owens will officially be a citizen of
New Zealand. So highly regarded is Carol that the New Zealand Minister
of Sport presented her with her citizenship papers in person in a private
ceremony in his office. And you can be sure that New Zealand squash will
give her the attention she deserves, the sort of attention that Squash
Australia failed to give her Â except every two years when they needed
her to play in the world team championships. Â
JUST WAIT A MINUTE, NATALIE POHRER, NEW AMERICAN
Meanwhile, the former Natalie Grainger, now Mrs. Ed Pohrer, has to wait
a little longer for her US citizenship. In my last Gallery I wrote that
Natalie would be eligible to play for the US this year because she has
not played for South Africa for three years. Well, the rules are a little
different in the US: before they can represent the US an athlete must
be an American citizen and her marriage to an American only gives Natalie
the right of residence. So she is on a green card for a couple of years
before she can apply for citizenship. As she is still only 24, and I feel
with her best years on the court yet to come, Natalie will still be a
great asset to the US team in a couple of years time.
MORE FOR WISPA
Despite the present economic climate, WISPA chief honcho Andrew Shelley
has added two more tournaments to the women’s schedule this year.
has now confirmed the Dunlop Telcel Mexico Challenge for Mexico City,
May 29 – June 2. It’s a 16 player draw with a 16 player qualification.
Later in the year the French Open is back on the calendar from September
12 -15. The women’s tournament is confirmed and there will be a men’s
tournament if it doesn’t clash with the US Open in Boston.
my latest calendar, John Nimick’s event is slated for September 11-15
in Boston and he won’t be inclined to change his dates again after the
tragedy of 9/1l last year. So it looks like the men won’t have a French
Open unless the dates for Antibes, France are put forward. Andrew tells
me that he expects the WISPA tour to total $850,000 this year, a healthy
increase over last year’s $3/4 million WISPA tour.
NO RED SEA FOR ME
I had a wonderful time last year in Cairo and Hurghada, on the Red Sea,
for the combined WISPA and PSA tournaments. In fact I have been going
to Egypt since the first Al Ahram tournament held in front of the Pyramids
in 1996. I was so entranced I took my lady on a week long cruise down
the Nile the following year, a memorable vacation. I have lost count of
the number of trips to this magic country and the number of WSF championships,
(senior and junior), WISPA and PSA tournaments I have reported on.
I have written many times on the amount of effort and money that the Egyptians
have poured into squash in the last six yearsÂ
.sometimes it appeared as
though they kept the squash boat afloat. Sadly, however, I will not be
reporting on the WISPA tournament in Hurghada in March because the sponsor,
al Ahram (EgyptÂs leading newspaper) has taken a vicious editorial line
that can only be described as a rabid anti-American/ anti-Semitic/ anti-Israel
stance. Indeed they even throw in the HIV epidemic just to make sure their
readers recognise just how evil Americans/Jews/Israelis are.
Having had my childhood destroyed by Hitler, (yes, I really am that old)
I have no intention of supporting a newspaper that embraces similar repugnant
policies and propaganda. I shall miss the warmth of the Egyptian people
and my annual game with Andrew Shelley on the open air court in the mid-day
sun. (Mad dogs and Englishman and all that).