Birmingham, Mich. – World number 6, Mohamed El Shorbagy of Egypt leads six of the world’s Top 20 in pursuit of a record purse at the 2012 Motor City Open presented by the Suburban Collection. The tournament’s main draw begins Friday, January 27 with the final set for Monday, January 30 at Michigan’s premier squash facility, the Birmingham Athletic Club, north of Detroit.
El Shorbagy will have stiff competition for the $50,000 in prize money – and a Rolex watch presented by Greenstone’s Jewelers. The draw boasts two other top Egyptians in World #14 and second seed Hisham Mohamed Ashour, and World #13 and last year’s finalist Omar Mosaad. The draw also sports MCO regulars Cameron Pilley of Australia and Englishman Adrian Grant, the 2009 MCO finalist.
Other top players include Alister Walker of Botswana, Pakistan’s Aamir Atlas Khan, top-ranked North Americans Julian Illingworth of the USA and Canadian Shahier Razik, Scotland’s Alan Clyne, Malasian Ong Beng Hee, and South African Stephen Coppinger..
Top seed El Shorbagy will lead off the Main Draw First Round on Friday against a qualifier. But the first round match to watch is a showdown between the Egyptian Ashour and Englishman Grant – the World’s #14 and #17 players. Due to new Pro Squash Association rules, tournaments are limited to four seeds, making for intriguing first-round draws.
Tournament qualifying begins Wednesday, January 25, and the draw will feature Birmingham Athletic Club pro Julian Wellings. Wellings is a former World #46 who is now one of the top junior teaching pros in the U.S.
In addition to the world’s top players, the Motor City Open offers kids clinics, sponsored by the DeRoy Testamentary Foundation, with guest appearances by the touring pros, and a pro-am doubles tournament. The MCO sponsors a charity auction benefiting The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.
Presented by the Suburban Collection, the Motor City Open is in its 13th year. The six-day tournament, Michigan’s only pro racquets sporting event, typically attracts more than 1,500 spectators. The winner earns a cash prize, a Rolex chronometer donated by Greenstone’s Fine Jewelry and a replica vintage steering wheel trophy.