No.1 Nicolas Mueller is expecting ‘goosebumps’ when he lines up in front
of a partizan home crowd at Halle 622 for the 2019 Grasshopper Cup, PSA
World Tour Gold tournament, which takes place between March 26-31 in
Mueller, 29, resides in Zurich and has appeared at every edition of the
Grasshopper Cup since 2012. The World No.17 has come within a whisker of
claiming major scalps against the likes of previous winners Ramy Ashour
and Mohamed ElShorbagy, and also close friend and current World No.5
Simon Rösner in that time.
Mueller faces Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip in round one next week and says
the Grasshopper Cup - which is the biggest PSA Tour event in Continental
Europe - is a real highlight for him on the calendar.
"I’m very privileged to be able to play in front of a sold out home
crowd, who are swinging Swiss flags," Mueller said.
"It’s definitely goosebump material. I love playing in front of a big
crowd, even more so when the majority are cheering for you. I’ve played
some of my best matches here, so it must give me a big boost.
"I’ve played this event in multiple locations, growing with the
tournament, from a $25K prize fund a few years back to now the biggest
tournament in Continental Europe.. the new location is perfect, with the
VIP section above, it’s very spacious, has a sponsors village and the
hotel is just a two-minute walk away."
A combination of injury and illness meant Mueller had a slow start to
the 2018/19 season and he struggled to get out of the starting blocks,
falling in the early rounds in each of his first eight tournaments.
Mueller followed that up by reaching the semi-finals of the Pittsburgh
Open last month though, and the ‘Swiss Rocket’ feels he is back to full
fitness as he aims to peak on home soil.
He said: "My season hasn’t really been the best. My summer preparation
was non-existent due to illness and injuries, and that definitely didn’t
help the process. At least now I feel like I’m back to 100 per cent
finally, just in time for the main event.
"If I start beating these guys [Ashour, ElShorbagy, Rösner] that means
I’d be amongst the top five in the world. Thats the quality you need to
beat players like that. I definitely have to believe in beating them and
the crowd definitely helps with that."
The Grasshopper Cup offers a $110,000 prize fund and round one begins on
Tuesday March 26 at the Squash Arena Uster. The second round onwards
will be staged at Halle 622.
Eight of the world's top 10 players - including World No.1 Ali Farag,
top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy, and his younger brother, 2016 champion
Marwan, will appear alongside Mueller in the draw.
Live matches will be shown on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport
Player (Europe only)
world-class draw, featuring eight of the world’s top 10 players, will
line up at Zurich’s Halle 622 between March 26-31 as the battle for the
prestigious Grasshopper Cup, PSA World Tour Gold title commences.
Current World No.1 and World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy - who finished
as runner-up to fellow Egyptian Ramy Ashour last year - tops the draw
ahead of 2017 runner-up Ali Farag, World No.3 Tarek Momen and World No.4
2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad, British Open champion Miguel
Rodriguez, 2016 Grasshopper Cup winner Marwan ElShorbagy and World No.9
Mohamed Abouelghar all feature, while former World No.1 James Willstrop
and 2012 winner Daryl Selby will also be involved.
The top eight seeds receive a bye into round two, where ElShorbagy and
Willstrop are seeded to meet for the 23rd time on the PSA Tour.
Home favourite Nicolas Mueller will get his tournament under way in
round one against Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip. Zurich-based Mueller, 29,
has taken ElShorbagy, Ashour and Rösner all the way to five games in
recent years and he will play Abouelghar in the last 16 if he can
"We’re looking forward to welcoming a world-class draw to Zurich for
what promises to be the best ever edition of the Grasshopper Cup," said
Tournament Promoter Steve Buchli.
"The Grasshopper Cup has long held a reputation as one of the most
prestigious tournaments in Europe, and spectators at Halle 622 can look
forward to six days of high-octane action."
A record prize purse of $109,000 will be up for grabs, while the first
round of the event will be held at the Squash Arena Uster.
Fixtures from the second round onwards will take place on the all-glass
court at Halle 622 and will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world)
and Eurosport Player (right). First round action will be streamed live
through the PSA SQUASHTV YouTube channel.