Sunday 7 December 2008

PSA revamp tour for 2010

Golan v Gaultier in the 2008  Internationaux de FranceA while back I wrote an article about the decline of professional squash events in Australia (the country has not staged a major tournament for the past 17 years).

So good news earlier this week, as the PSA's new Chief Exec revealed in an exclusive interview with the Telegraph some of his ambitious plans for the men's tour over the next few years: top-level squash appears to be heading back there ...

The exciting development seeks to align the structure of the PSA world tour by 2010 to something akin to grand-prix format of the Master's series in tennis or F1 motor racing, with the biggest-money events all contributing to the 'race' that will culminate in a Finals event at the end of the season.

The Super Series has offered something similar over the years (though a kind of race-within-a-tour), but what distinguishes the new venture appears to be the higher-profile of the tournaments together with a higher proportion of PSA ranking points linked to performance in each of the top events. The 'final' would therefore prevent a bigger prize and incentive to aim at throughout the season. It would also mean that players would move between tournaments within a region, cutting out unnecessary plane journeys.

Mr Graham explained about the structure:

"Rather than it risking being a shoot-out, where players simply get prize money for winning, I hope we can structure it so that it had some relevance as to who would prevail at the end of the season".

From 2010, the calendar will have 10 distinguishable top-tier tournaments, while prize money will be offer at least $3 million over the year.

Plans are afoot to stage a tournament on Australia's Gold Coast, which would be a welcome step to re-igniting the public's interest in squash in the country and maybe sneaking some back page column inches (apparently they like their sport over there).

The programme also announced that a tournament would be staged in Namibia for the first time. It is yet to be decided whether the British Open will be included in the list.

Mr Graham has set the PSA a target for the PSA to "secure two major events by the end of 2008", and it appears that this goal has been achieved. Great to see explicit, measurable targets being used to develop the game for once - though I'd like to see more detail soon about how exactly the tour in 2010 will distinguish itself from the Super Series competition that has run with a degree of success for 16 years.

Australia & Namibia Declare Intent To Host PSA World Tour Events In 2010

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