SquashTalk
> News > TOC
2006
> Team Kneipp’s Preview

Search Squashtalk


Bottom Half of the TOC Draw

By Teanm Kneipp, Feb 25, 2006
Squashtalk Independent News; ©
2006 SquashTalk LLC

  SQUASHTALK
PRO
  SQUASH HEADLINES


Recent Events:
World Open
Qatar
US Open
Garrard
St Louis
Heliopolis

Other info:
Audi interviews
Video
recordings
Player profiles
Rankings
Calendar


 

Feather Sports
SQUASHTALK TODAY

www.princesquash.com

school squash

 

griggranieri
Gaultier arrives in
New York after missing last year’s event. photo © 2005
Fritz Borchert.

That
this year’s Tournament of Champions isn’t
the first super series event of the year highlights the increasing
health of the men’s professional squash tour, with
Chicago’s event last month being considerably bigger.
The last time TOC wasn’t the first major of the year
was in the 90s.

Despite
the competitiveness of the men’s
game at the moment and the number of players capable of
winning any given tournament, Ricketts is the only player
that has interrupted the stranglehold Power and Nicol have
on this tournament.

Here’s
how bottom half of the tournament pans out:

14* STEWART BOSWELL {AUS}
{Q3} Qualifier 3

Boswell’s injury induced sabbatical meant he was ranked
around 300 this time last year. Considering he’s ranked
16 this month, he has had a pretty impressive come back over
the past twelve month, but he’s still a long way from
his best ranking of 4.
Boswell was still sidelined when the 2005 TOC event was running.

7* PETER NICOL {ENG}
CAMERON PILLEY {AUS}

Nicol
has been sitting around 7 for the past five months now.
His quarter final loss last year to Ricketts in New York
was the worst result he had at this tournament in over
10 years. He plays well in New York, which won’t be
too comforting for Pilley, who hasn’t played him before
and will need to play well above his ranking of 28 to challenge
him.

11* GREGORY GAULTIER {FRA}
{Q4} Qualifier 4

Gaultier is currently ranked 11 and has a career best of
9. This is a little surprising because when you think of
the top 10 players you usually think of Gaultier as being
one of the players in that group, despite the fact that he
has only just punctured the bottom end (though consistently
and for a lengthy period). He does well regularly in the
medium sized tournaments, but his best result so far in a
major event is only one semi final. This will help you reach
the top 10, but you need more regular results and progression
in the big tournaments to make the move into the heart of
the top 10.

Gaultier
didn’t play in New York last
year, and copped a bit of flak for it.

Speaking
of missing players: if you’re ranked in the
top 24 you know you have immediate entry into any super series
(32 draw) event – or if you’re ranked in the
top 23 if there is a wildcard, which there always should
be. While the top 12 players are all present at New York,
the seeded players (top 16) that have given the tournament
a miss are the Malaysian contingent – Iskandar and
Beng Hee.

griggranieri
Anthony Ricketts is
looking for a big week in New York. photo © 2005
Debra Tessier.

Shahid
Zaman and Adrian Grant are the other players in the top
24 who have skipped NYC. For Iskandar, Beng Hee and Shahid
the decision was easy. The Asian games, which carries an
enormous amount of prestige (and sponsorship value) has just
finished and with the Commonwealth Games less than two
weeks away, relative to these tournaments, New York is
an insignificant jet lag hassle (which is a stark contrast
to Power’s attitude to the Commonwealth Games,
which as reigning champion and considering the exposure his
2002 gold generated, is very disappointing). Other players
that would have gained automatic entry into the Tournament
of Champions because of missing players are Jonathon Kemp,
Mansoor Zaman (another Asian Games casualty), Joey Barrington
and Ramy Ashour. Considering Team Kneipp’s ranking
is currently 31, which under any normal circumstance would
warrant having to qualify for a super series event, something
that we haven’t had to do for over four years – I
have to extend my thanks to all of the absentees.

4* ANTHONY RICKETTS {AUS}
{Q5} Qualifier 5

Last
year’s winner is currently ranked 4, one off
his career best. He made the final of the recent tournament
in England. Ricketts is so hot right now that you’d
normally say it would be a surprise if he didn’t at
least make the semi finals, but seeing as him and Nicol seem
to have a standing agreement that any match between them
has to go to five, and typically a score of 9-9 in the fifth
needs to be achieved before they’re both satisfied,
and considering they’re supposed to be meeting each
other in the quarter finals, well who knows. Also let’s
not forget that Ricketts’ scheduled second round opponent
is Gaultier, who he only just scraped past 4-2 in the 5th
in their encounter ten days ago, so that unhatched chicken
can’t be counted on.

9* NICK MATTHEW {ENG}
{Q6} Qualifier 6

Nick
Matthew is currently ranked 9, where he spent most of last
year. He has been as high as 5. He retired injured last
year in the quarters against Lincou. Considering he just
won the British Championships, disposing of Nicol and Beachill
along the way, he can’t be
discounted.

6* JAMES WILLSTROP {ENG}
MOHAMMED ABBAS {EGY}

griggranieri
The Crowds are Looking
forwar to Power going deep into the draw in New York.
photo © 2005
Debra Tessier.

Willstrop
has been ranked around 8 for most of the past year, is
currently 6, but had a brief one-month high of 2, a lovely
place he’ll be dying to return
to.

Abbas
spent most of the last two years in the high teens and
is currently 20. These two haven’t played in PSA
before. The crowd should be in for an entertaining match
as they both like hitting winners and will need to learn
to deal with the unpredictability of the other’s game.
Both players lost in the 2nd round last year, Abbas to Lincou,
Willstrop to Ricketts.

16* ALEX GOUGH {WAL}
{Q7} Qualifier 7

Gough
is currently 19, has been in the top 10 before and cites
a return to this elite group as his current motivation.
When he’s eager to run around the court and settle
in for a tough match he can be a particularly difficult opponent.
He hasn’t beaten Jonthan Power before, a task he’ll
almost certainly need to do if he wishes to progress past
the second round. Gough lost to Matthew in the 2nd round
last year.

2* JONATHON POWER {CAN}
{Q8} Qualifier 8

Power
had a month last year ranked #1, after over four years
of not holding the top position. Palmer pipped him for
that spot by winning the final of January’s Super Series
event in a tie break in the 5th. Power lost to Palmer in
a tie break in the 5th set in last year’s TOC quarter
finals. If he plays Palmer again this year it will be because
they’ve made the final together.
John Nimmick and his audience would be happy if that rematch
eventuated.

 


 






NEW … Get the New Jonathon
Power Instruction Video at the SquashTalk
eStore!

Squashtalk.com
All materials © 1999-2005. Communicate with us at info@squashtalk.com.
Published
by Squashtalk LLC, 409 Massachusetts Ave, Suite 102, Acton, MA 01720 USA, Editor
and Publisher Ron Beck,
Graphics editor Debra Tessier
Send
comments, ideas, contributions and feedback to the webmaster.

Copyright © 1999-2005 SquashTalk, all rights reserved, may not be reproduced
in any form except for one-time personal use.