Noah Browne and Emma Keane relishing chance to impress against stellar field
Noah Browne has vowed to leave everything on the court as he seeks to make early inroads during his first round qualifying match at the Chubb Bermuda Open Squash Championships today.
The national men’s champion has been pitted against Egypt’s Seif Shenawy in one of two matches taking place simultaneously at the Bermuda Squash Racquets Association that will kick off the tournament boasting some of the world’s elite players.
“I am really looking forward to playing,” Browne told The Royal Gazette. “It’s really exciting to be a part of this after a few years of Covid and being unable to play.
“I am very grateful to Chubb for helping to make this possible and the BSRA and Micah [Micah Franklin, BSRA head of squash at BSRA] for their efforts, without which this could not be possible.”
The wild card entry will venture in to the unknown against his seeded opponent.
“I am looking to go out and play my best against an opponent that I don’t know much about,” Brown added. “I am just looking to leave everything out there from day one and see how far I can go.”
Browne is also looking forward to showcasing his skills in front of the home crowd.
“It’s always amazing to play in front of the home crowd in Bermuda,” he said. “I am hoping as many family and friends can make it and will come and cheer as loud as they can. It might be the push I need to win.
“Overall, I am excited and feeling good. I love playing with Bermuda on my back, and even better to do it with Bermudians in the stands.”
Emma Keane, the national women’s champion, is equally as excited to showcase her skills at this level.
“I cannot put into words how exciting this is,” she said. “It’s been so long since Bermuda has had this level of squash, and it’s phenomenal that we have so many Bermudians involved and just to be exposed to this level of squash.
“This is the next step for anybody who is looking to up their game, and I think this is going to be a great example of where that next level sits.”
Keane will face fellow Bermudian Shannon Mann in her first round qualifying match.
“My expectations going in are to learn as much as I possibly can,” Keane added. “With the standard of players that we have got coming, it’s an incredible opportunity that so many people will never be fortunate enough to have.
“The goal for me is to just to spend as much time on court as possible and to make minimum mistakes and try and execute as much as the game plan as I can.”
Keane’s preparations have not gone without setback having been sidelined for a period after contracting coronavirus.
“Since I was last home for nationals, unfortunately I did catch Covid, which ironically probably was the rest of my body needed,” she said.
“I had a few days of just being in bed resting. I listened to my body when coming back to training and put in at least three or four court sessions per week focusing on strength training.
“Two weeks ago I started training in long sleeve tops in England to acclimatise to account for the humidity and just doing everything that I could think of that would put me on as much as a level playing field as I can.”
The event will feature 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 advance to the round of 16.