Four of the world’s top-10 squash professionals, as well as twelve of the top-25, will grace the courts of the Birmingham Athletic Club for next week’s Motor City Open presented by The Suburban Collection.
The 2013 installment of the MCO features the strongest field in the tournament’s 14 year history. With a $70,000 purse, it is the largest squash tournament in the Midwest.
The explosive action is set to get underway starting Thursday, January 24 with the Qualifying. Main Draw play kicks off on Saturday, January 26.
The star-studded field includes the past three MCO champions in Ong Beng Hee (2012), top seed Mohammed El Shorbagy (2011), and former world number one Karim Darwish (2010). They will face stiff competition from squash legend Amr Shabana, a four-time World Open Champion and former world number one, and Omar Mosaad, the number three seed.
Last year’s finalist, Hisham Ashour, is also back, and will be hoping to go one better this year. Also returning after strong showings in last year’s MCO are Alister Walker and Stephen Coppinger. Swiss Nicolas Mueller returns to the MCO after a one year absence that has seen his world ranking skyrocket to 21.
Rounding out the list of players exempt from Qualifying are India’s Saurav Ghosal, 2007 MCO Champion Olli Tuominen from Finland, and Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez.
Much like the Main Draw, the Qualifying for this year’s MCO will feature some very high-caliber action.
Qualifying competitors include MCO regulars like Scotland’s Alan Clyne, Hong Kong’s Max Lee, and Aussie Ryan Cuskelly. Joining them are up-and-coming star and two-time World Junior Champion Marwan El Shorbagy and Canadian veteran Shahier Razik.
Frenchmen Mathieu Castagnet and Gregoire Marche, both of whom advanced to the Main Draw last year, will look to repeat their 2012 heroics.
Chris Gordon will carry the hometown hopes as the lone American in the field.
What will follow next Thursday’s kickoff is six days of furious squash action as the world’s best slug it out to claim the champion’s share of the prize money, a Rolex watch courtesy of Greenstone’s Jewelers, and engrave their name on the Motor City Open trophy.