The world's best squash players have confirmed their entries in the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions, to be played at Grand Central Terminal in New York from 21-27 January 2011. The long-established event will be the first Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Series event of the New Year.
"It is entirely fitting that we have a glittering field of players to compete in the sport's grandest venue for one of its most coveted titles," said Tournament Director John Nimick.
Defending champion James Willstrop is also upbeat about the NY event: "I am immensely excited about the prospect of coming to New York to play the ToC again. New York has always been the most pulsating event on the Tour and my favourite. After last year's win, my affection for the event has only increased," added the Englishman.
"There is just no atmosphere like Grand Central and I will try to be in my best shape for it. The very best players will be there, and we are all vying for positions at the top of the world order, so the contest should be red hot."
Four players entered in the draw have held the world No1 ranking, three of whom have also captured the prestigious Tournament of Champions trophy. The three returning title-holders are defending champion James Willstrop of England and Egypt's Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour.
Nick Matthew, who became the first Englishman to win the World Open when he captured that title this month, will be the top-ranked player in the field having become world number one in the January PSA rankings.
The tournament field includes 24 of the top 27 players in the world. Players representing 21 countries will compete in the Tournament of Champions, including American Julian Illingworth. A native of Portland, Oregon, who now resides in New York City, Illingworth has achieved the highest international ranking ever of any US player.
The JP Morgan Tournament of Champions, which continues to be Grand Central Terminal's only annual world class sporting event, offers $115,000 in prize money, placing it among the world's top ten professional tournaments, and features a 32-player main draw and a 32-player qualification tournament. The tournament is sanctioned by the PSA, the regulatory body for elite international men's competition and the men's world rankings.
While the top ranking players in the men's professional ranks vie for one of the sport's most coveted crowns, amateur players will compete in the Grand Open, a companion citywide tournament run by the Metropolitan Squash Racquets Association and top junior players will contest the ToC Junior Open.
The championship debuted as the US Professional Championship in 1930 and was renamed the Tournament of Champions in 1993. Truly living up to its name, all but four of the Tournament of Champions titleholders have either been No1 in the world rankings or a World Champion.