Island’s squash players vow to put on a show against stellar field
Bermuda’s squash players are determined to put their best foot forward competing against some of the world’s elite during the 2022 Chubb Bermuda Open Squash Championships at Bermuda Squash Racquets Association next week.
The island’s representatives have all been granted wild cards and will take to the courts in the first round qualifier in the men’s and women’s draws for the right to advance to the round of 16.
“Everybody is trying their best and understand what a privilege it is to have these players competing on our shores,” Micah Franklin, the head of squash at BSRA and local hopeful, told The Royal Gazette. “So we want to go out there and do the best that we can, and I think that the moment will get us playing above our level.
“With the crowd and the atmosphere, we are hoping to put on a show that is better than what we have done before. We are trying to amp ourselves up a little bit and get that adrenalin going.”
Leading the charge are national men’s and women’s champions Noah Browne and Emma Keane, who will face Egypt’s Seif Shenawy and Salma El Aify in their first round qualifying matches.
University student Taylor Carrick and Franklin are the island’s remaining players in the men’s draw.
Franklin will face Guatemala’s Josue Enriquez while Carrick will do battle with Colombia’s Matias Knudsen.
Also flying the island’s banner in the women’s draw are Rachel Barnes, Eilidh Franklin, Isabella White and Hailey Moss.
Barnes will take on Scotland’s Katriona Allen in her first round qualifier, while Franklin will meet Australia’s Alex Haydon.
Juniors White and Moss are two late additions to the field as cover for late withdrawals who will face opponents yet to be confirmed.
“It’s going to be busy, especially that first night because that’s when all the locals are playing,” Franklin added.
“But the club is prepared and we are taking the necessary precautions for the safety of all the players and there will be testing.
“We are going to have about a hundred spectators a day per, so we are expecting a very busy time.”
The event will feature men’s and women’s players ranked between the top 50 and 150 in the world.
Both the men’s and women’s draws will comprise 32 players that will compete for $10,000 in prize money in each category, as well as a spot in the Professional Squash Association World Open Championships, to be held at a venue and date yet to be announced.
Men’s and women’s top seeds, Faraz Khan, of the United States, and Hana Moataz, of Egypt, have both received a bye in the first round.
The first round qualifier in the men’s and women’s draws pits players ranked nine to 16 against those ranked 17 to 32 for the right to advance to the next round.
Meanwhile, Franklin has had his work cut out juggling training and organising in the build up to the event, to be held at the Devonshire facility from May 3 to 7.
“Training and things are going pretty well, and I am very busy trying to run the tournament as well,” he said. “It might not be ideal, but I am doing the best that I can.”
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