Tournament of Champions: One of squash’s greatest venues
By Emma Keane
The annual J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions is currently taking place in New York, where an all glass show court has been constructed to host the event. The court is resident in the Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal for the duration of the tournament, which spans January 9th to the 17th of this year.
Whilst many are drawn to this tournament thanks to its prestige of being the longest running annual squash tournament, my initial interest came from the tournament’s established venue. Though the tournament has been running annually since 1930, it has only made Grand Central its home since 1999, where it has been held every year since. This very nearly coincided with the introduction of the women’s event, which was held as an invitational in 2001, and then became a full championship draw in later years.
The thing that strikes me most about a court in Grand Central Terminal is that it is the epitome of taking squash to the people. Over the past few years, I have heard many people say that squash is a dying sport, so how better to raise awareness than to hold a tournament in a venue that sees thousands of people come and go every day? Not only does it attract the attention of commuters, but it also attracts some of squash’s highest calibre players. How could it not? With the tournament history, show court location, and packed seats, it seems that J.P. Morgan have really struck gold with the set-up of this tournament.
Even from the limited experience I have playing on an all glass court, I remember the feeling of stepping onto that court for the first time, knowing that the stakes were just that little bit higher. With an audience on all sides, there was nowhere to hide the mistakes, so it needed to be my best performance. With the current matches going on in NYC, it seems the feeling is mutual among the squash community.
Visit psaworldtour.com for information about how to watch matches live and get live score updates.