Preview by Dan
Shahier Razik was playing a league match in Holland
recently against our team and was whinging about the inferiority of
the European club facilities compared to North America. Considering
some of the clubs in Holland have full bars until 1am, the courts are
booked until past midnight, and the average age of the players are between
25 and 30 and mostly good looking you have to be curious of what Shahier
is talking about.
been practicing for the YMG classis at the Cambridge Club in Toronto.
I understand Shahier’s point.
The change room
is what you’d expect from an old boy’s club – lots of
comfy leather chairs everywhere, a jacuzzi and sauna and a feeling of exclusivity.
That feeling of exclusivity is warranted when the full story of the Cambridge
Club is looked at. Apparently it was an all men’s club which contravened
equal opportunity laws by not allowing female members. So to get around
this small point they said female members were allowed – no problems. They
then proceeded to place the squash courts and gym INSIDE the male change
|A bathrobed audience watches
Durbach and Handley playing their 1st round qualifying match at the
Cambridge Club’s male changing room.
(photo © 2002 Dan Kneipp)
Women are welcome
to join the club and play squash – but of course they’re not
allowed inside the men’s change room. So you’ll be practicing
and be playing a shot off the back wall – and then suddenly there’s
some old guy’s naked arse waddling past the glass wall.
is being played at BCE place, a shopping centre in downtown Toronto.
I’ve seen photos of the venue on SquashTalk before, but when you
actually see the venue it’s beautiful. The ceiling of the centre
can only be described as a modern version of a cathedral with dramatic
arches and light cascading through.
The match ups
Nicol versus Graham Ryding
Only four days
ago it was being said that Nicol’s ankle injury during English
league could possible sideline him for up to eight weeks and jeopardise
his ability to even PLAY in December’s World Open. Nicol said
he was unable to walk for two days, but he is here in Toronto ready
to resume his battle with Power. Apparently he has very flexible ankle
ligaments that while making it easier to cause an ankle injury, will
actually assist in ensuring the injury isn’t too bad. It won’t
be long into his match against Ryding before his fitness and movement
capabilities are shown.
in the world ranking is the perennial bridesmaid of Canadian Squash,
constantly dwarfed in Power’s shadow. If he played for Belgium,
Finland or the Netherlands he would be the nation’s star being
a previous top ten player. His season so far for 2002 hasn’t been
exceptional. This will be the third time this year alone that these
two have met (not including the Commonwealth Games). Nicol didn’t
have any trouble getting past Ryding winning their TOC and Pakistan
encounters both in straight sets.
Heath versus qualifier Rodney Durbach
Heath is currently
ranked 11 compared to Durbach’s 33. Heath has had a nightmare
run of tournaments, not getting past the first round in his last four
attempts. The only recent meeting Heath and Durbach have had was in
Florida in 2000 with Heath winning their quarter final match in four.
Boswell versus qualifier James Willstrop
|BCE Place Tourney
Venue. (photo © 2002 Dan Kneipp)
Boswell is the third
seed and #4 in the world. Willstrop at #45 is considered one of the future
stars of the game, but still has a large mountain to climb. Willstrop had
to get past Del Harris in the final round of qualifying which will be a
big mental victory. These two haven’t played before.
Beng Hee versus Paul Price
Beng Hee at
#7 has been a stable top ten player for a while now. Price at #19 has
been fluctuating back and forth in the high teens and is currently citing
an ankle injury as a hindrance to top form. These two don’t appear
to have played in a PSA match before.
Joe Kneipp versus #8 Lee Beachill
players that have not played against each other before. Not in PSA,
not in a league match. Both players have great racquet skills and ability
to hit shots that leave the crowd gasping. It should be a great match
and is anyone’s for the taking.
John White versus
qualifier Stefan Castelyn
White is currently
ranked #5 compared to Castelyn’s 24. Their only PSA match up was
recently in the Qatar Classic 2nd round with White winning in 4. That
wasn’t on a glass court so White should benefit from playing on
Toronto’s new and fast all-glass court.
versus qualifier Parke
currently ranked #10 to Parke’s #26. Simon Parke is still making
his gradual recovery from injury and is slowing creeping closer to getting
back to the top twenty. He has gone through qualifying to reach the
main draw of YMG. The most recent PSA match between these two was at
the 1999 British Open with Parke winning comfortably in 3.
Power versus #29 David Evans
#2 in the world
versus Evans who has recently had a colossal leap down the PSA ranking
from 15 to 29. It would be a brave man who would bet against Power in
his hometown not playing again on Tuesday. These two have played twice
in the last few years, at the 2000 US Open and last year’s Tournament
of Champions. Power won both of them without dropping a game. But fresh
in Evan’s mind will be their 2nd round match two weeks ago at
the Qatar Classic where Evan’s was able to make double figures
in two of the games, but still went down in 3.