20-Mar, The Final:

[4] Lee Beachill (Eng) v [6] David Palmer (Aus) 
      15/11, 15/9, 15/10  (58m)

Beachill Bags Bermuda Title
England's Lee Beachill claimed his second major PSA title, winning the inaugural Bermuda Open in the tiny British colony's city of Hamilton after a surprisingly easy victory over Bermuda-based David Palmer.

Following Palmer's earlier wins in the five-star tournament against England's Peter Nicol and Canadian Jonathan Power, the two most dominant players in world squash, his adopted home crowd were eagerly anticipating that the Australian would take the title - but it was not to be.

Beachill had cruised through the earlier rounds and disposed of unseeded compatriot Nick Matthew in straight games in his semi-final, while Palmer had survived an exceptionally brutal five-game match against Power in the other semi-final.

Palmer said prior to the tournament that he was still not back to 100% fitness, but he wanted to show the Bermuda fans that he could earn their respect - a feat he handily accomplished in his match with Power. However, that Herculean effort appeared to have taken its toll because Palmer simply did not have the fire he displayed in abundance against Power.

Beachill, on the other hand, played magnificently - dispatching the ball around the court with pin-point accuracy, causing Palmer to constantly be digging balls out of the back corners and then having to use his incredible reach to retrieve Beachill's gentle drops. It was a clinical performance by the 26-year-old world No4 from Pontefract in Yorkshire, who moved gracefully around the court patiently waiting for any opportunity to punish Palmer for loose shots.

Beachill won the first 15-11 and only stuttered momentarily at 14-8 as Palmer started to apply pressure to take three points in a row before losing the game. Beachill raced into an early lead in the 2nd game and it ended 15-9.

Palmer again fell behind in the third but at 3-8 down he began to show his ability to chase down every ball and show that he will be a force to be reckoned with once completely recovered from his injuries. With a highly partisan crowd urging him on, he rattled off six consecutive points to lead 9-8, and Beachill seemed to be struggling to maintain his form, but after one sustained rally that had the audience gasping as each player managed a series of impossible recoveries, the effort clearly impacted on Palmer, and Beachill then sprinted to victory dropping only one more point.

Palmer will no doubt be disappointed at losing the final but he proved throughout the tournament that he is back and well on the way to being as fit as he was last year before his unfortunate string of injuries. Beachill, on the other hand, has also proved that he is ranked No4 in the world on merit and he now has every intention of reaching for the top after collecting his fifth PSA Tour title.

During the Prizegiving ceremony, Beachill praised the Bermuda Squash Racquets Association for putting on a first-class tournament at the first attempt, and said he sincerely hoped that Bermuda would continue with the Bermuda Open which had already proved to be especially popular with all of the players who participated.

The evening had begun with an exhibition game between Pamela Nimmo and Australian squash legend Sarah Fitz-Gerald. The Scottish No1 put in a spirited performance against one of the greatest players of all-time, but Fitz-Gerald has a wonderful array of strokes and showed that would still be a significant threat in women's squash if she were to return to the WISPA Tour. Fitz-Gerald won the match 9-4 9-5 9-3.

Bermuda Gallery
from Fritz Borchert

Watch all the Matches on PSA 'replay'

Lee Beachill:
"I got a few lucky bounces my way, which put David under pressure from the off," said Beachill, a focused squash player since the age of eight.
"David is a skilful player and I had to play some of the best squash I have played all year just to sneak a win against him.
"I'm delighted with this win and it should be put me up to number three in the world. Of course my aim is to become the world number one but all I can do is try and be the best that I can be.
"The Bermuda Open could be one of the best events on the Tour in the future and all the players are hoping that it appears on the calendar next year."

David Palmer:
"I'm not going to use being tired as an excuse – I have won tournaments when I have been tired before," said a dejected Palmer after his defeat.
"I'm a little disappointed but Lee played well out there and wouldn't let me in to any rallies.
"I am pleased that I have shown signs I am recovering and I have got through a hard tournament without any problems with my leg.
"It would have been a dream come true to win this but I am pleased with the way I played and pleased to get this far."


19-Mar, Semi-Finals:
[4] Lee Beachill (Eng) bt Nick Matthew (Eng)
      15/5, 15/11, 15/8 (52m)

[6] David Palmer (Aus) bt [7] Jonathon Power (Can)
     15/11, 7/15, 15/12, 14/15, 15/9 (103m)

Beachill to face Palmer in Final
Howard Harding on the Semi-Finals

England's fourth seed Lee Beachill and Australia's sixth seed David Palmer will contest the final of the Bermuda Open Squash Championship after Bermuda-based Palmer gave his adopted home fans something to really cheer about after his epic five-game victory over Canada's Jonathon Power in the semi-finals of the new five-star PSA Tour event in the island's city of Hamilton, presented by Logic & HP.

Beachill Ends Matthew's Run
In the all-English opening semi-final, Beachill ended the brave run of his England and Yorkshire county team-mate Nick Matthew, the unseeded 23-year-old from Sheffield who despatched both the top seed Thierry Lincou and the world champion Amr Shabana to reach the last four.

Beachill, the 26-year-old world No4 from Pontefract, played precision squash against his opponent who was clearly feeling the effects of his giant-killing heroics over the previous two days. Matthew had no answer to Beachill's immaculate line and length, but he certainly showed in this Bermuda Open that he is a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Beachill, who burst into the world top five in January this year after a sensational victory in December's Qatar Classic, raced to an 8-0 lead in the opening game before Matthew replied. In the second, it was Matthew who held the lead most of the way, until Beachill took command from 7-9 down to go 2/0 up.

The underdog led by a single point on three occasions in the third, but after 52 minutes, Beachill clinched his 15-5 15-11 15-8 victory and a place in his ninth PSA final.

Palmer Wins Epic Power Battle
Palmer came into the tournament as the No6 seed, with just an outside chance of winning it. But after overpowering Peter Nicol in the quarter-finals, then Power in the semis - both of whom are also former world numbers ones - he clearly signalled his intention to regain his position as the world's top player.

The clash between Power and Palmer was a truly astonishing display of squash at the very highest level. Both played aggressively, showing great movement around the court, and both were prepared to vary their shots, constantly changing pace and direction.

Palmer made the first charge and never lost the lead in the first game. Surprisingly, both played an exceptionally clean match - a far cry from the constant stopping and disputing let calls in the Power-White quarter final. The players settled down far more quickly than some of the spectators, who took a couple of games to realise that cheering a brilliant shot has to wait until the rally has actually finished because these two really could retrieve the impossible!

Palmer moved around the court with astonishing grace for a big man, but in the second game Power turned on his magic and played superbly to win it comfortably. Palmer showed no signs of his recent injury and slowly began to take control in the third game to move 2/1 ahead.

The fourth was a seesaw battle between two players who never hesitated to go for their shots, and when Palmer took five consecutive points to lead 12-8 it appeared to be all over for Power. However, after moving Palmer from back corner to back corner, the Canadian played a series of delicate drops to claw his way back into the game until the two finally clashed physically in mid-court during a marathon rally with the game tied at 14-all and Palmer serving for the match.

The referee adjudged the clash to have been accidental contact and asked Power if he wanted to claim an injury time out. Power hobbled around the court for several minutes without claiming a time out, and Palmer showed the first signs of frustration when Power, for the longest time, ignored the referees demands to call 'set-one' or 'set-three'. Finally, he chose 'one' and the two men played an incredible rally, both playing the most delicate drops into the front forehand until Power managed to flick the ball into the back forehand corner, just out of the reach of Palmer who flung himself full length across the floor in a vain attempt to save his match ball. Power was out of the court before an angry Palmer could pick himself up (and then collect his racket, which he had kicked to the front of the court in anger).

With the match poised at two-all, it seemed a matter of who had the mental fitness to win the decider. Power took an early 3-0 lead, but Palmer showed extraordinary reserves as he chased down every ball and played superb length. He rattled off seven consecutive points, and for the first time in this phenomenal match, Power made several uncharacteristic errors as three drop shots hit the tin. Palmer slowly edged ahead, and his fitness never faltered as he finished with a flourish to take the final game, and the match 15-11 7-15 15-12 14-15 15-9, to thunderous applause from an appreciative crowd.

"This is the best match I've ever seen David play," said Palmer's coach Shaun Moxham afterwards. Palmer himself said it was an extremely tough match, and that he appreciated the support he received from the Bermuda spectators.

Palmer's victory took 103 minutes - almost twice as long as his final opponent's - and takes the 2002 World Open champion into his 30th PSA Tour final.

"It remains to be seen whether Palmer has the necessary stamina for one more tough match against an in-form Lee Beachill," said event spokesman Roger Sherratt. "One thing is for sure -Palmer will have the Bermudian spectators cheering him on in his quest to take the Bermuda Open 2004 title."


Watch the Bermuda Semis
(just like Michael Douglas did -
see the gallery)

More photos

Watch the Bermuda Semis

This is how you
run a tournament

Dan Rutstein reports in the Royal Gazette

The Voice of Squash warned us all on Wednesday night that only 60 tickets were left for tomorrow's Bermuda Open final So hopefully someone will have the good sense to invite the Carifta Games organisers along to witness the culmination of a week of fast-paced, frenetic and highly-enjoyable sport.

Maybe they will learn something about how to a) run a superb tournament featuring all the high-class sport one could hope for, b) how to sell Bermuda as a first-class venue and as THE place to compete and c) how to take advantage of the rare position of host to give the Island's young athletes the best possible leg-up.


This is how to run a tournament.

It may be a little bit late, but if anyone at the BTFA is worried about how Carifta is going to work out, give squash tournament director Ross Triffitt a call.

Full article from the
Royal Gazette

Beachill focussed ...#

Watch the Bermuda Semis
(just like Michael Douglas did -
see the gallery)


18-Mar, Quarter-Finals:

Nick Matthew (Eng) bt [5] Amr Shabana (Egy)
       6/15, 15/13, 3/15, 15/11, 15/10 (74m)

[4] Lee Beachill (Eng) bt Joe Kneipp (Aus)
      15/8, 11/15, 17/15, 10/15, 15/4 (83m)

[7] Jonathon Power (Can) bt [3] John White (Aus)
      15/11, 15/7, 12/15, 15/10 (81m)

[6] David Palmer (Aus)
bt [2] Peter Nicol (Eng)
      15/11, 15/13, 8/15, 15/10 (57m)

Matthew does it again as
Upsets abound in Bermuda
England's Nick Matthew continued his giant-killing charge in the Bermuda Open Squash Championship by overthrowing Egypt's world champion Amr Shabana in the island's tiny city of Hamilton - but he was not alone in knocking higher-ranked players off their pedestals as Scotland's world No1 John White and England's world No3 Peter Nicol also failed to reach their seeded positions in the semi-finals of this five-star PSA Tour event.

Matthew, who became the only unseeded player to reach the quarter-finals after upsetting France's top seed Thierry Lincou, was in sparkling form against the Egyptian who won the world title in Pakistan just three months ago. After Shabana made a strong start to take the opening game, Matthew went on the attack in the second to draw level.

But Shabana again showed his brilliance in game three, allowing his opponent only three points. Matthew later admitted that he "hit the wall" in that game, and although spectators anticipated an easy win for the World Champion, Matthew clearly had other ideas.

The 23-year-old from Sheffield in Yorkshire dug deep to stay in the match and began to display the attacking strokes that have propelled him up to No10 in the world rankings. He took a hard-fought fourth game and held on to complete what was surely the greatest match of his young career with a 6-15 15-13 3-15 15-11 15-10 victory after 75 minutes.

“It was probably more guts that got me through in the end rather than great squash but sometimes that's the case,” Matthew told the Royal Gazette. “I felt fine at the end but in the third game I started to feel a bit tired but then I got a second wind and I was fine after that.

“He (Shabana) is so tricky to play because he attacks all the time and you never know what to expect with him so it's hard to get into a rhythm. It was tough because I was trying to keep him to the back but at the same time I had to attack as well.”

Matthew's semi-final opponent will be fellow-Yorkshireman Lee Beachill, the fourth seed who survived a five-game marathon against Australia's Joseph Kneipp to become the only expected name in the last four. The key point of the match was in the third game with the match evenly-poised at one-all and Kneipp leading 14-10. Beachill kept his cool, refused to make mistakes and chased the ball to all corners of the court to stay in the game. His determination paid off, and after saving three game balls, Beachill went on to clinch the game 17-15 after the Australian made a couple of crucial errors.

Not to be undaunted, Kneipp came back strongly to win the fourth game, but in the decider he again made several unforced errors, and appeared to lose concentration as Beachill cruised to a 15-8 11-15 17-15 10-15 15-4 victory in 83 minutes.

"That third game was critical and when I managed to pull a few points back I think the pressure reversed onto Joe and he made a couple of mistakes to let me in," said Beachill afterwards. "Even then he came back well in the fourth and was hitting some great shots. I just tried to play my own game and keep my concentration in the fifth - it was a tough match."

Second seed Peter Nicol fell victim to Bermuda-based David Palmer in the day's shortest match. Palmer, the sixth seed from Australia, started well and used his long reach to great effect while Nicol struggled to hit a good length.

After losing the first game, Nicol appeared to be making a comeback in the second and was leading 13-9, but Palmer again took command and won the game without conceding another point.

Nicol played catch up in the third. Palmer surged to an 8-2 lead and looked on course for an easy victory when Nicol suddenly upped his game and played immaculate squash, winning 13 points in a row to reduce the deficit to 2/1.

Not to be outdone, British Open champion Palmer again took control in the fourth, forcing Nicol to make a series of uncharacteristic errors with a mixture of deep volleys and deft drops. It was Palmer who looked the fitter, even though he had played a tough match on the previous day, and he comfortably won the match 15-11 15-13 8-15 15-10 in 55 minutes to earn his place in the semis, where he will face Canadian Jonathan Power.

The clash between former world No1 Power and the current world No1 John White was never going to be pretty to watch! White began powerfully and built up a 5-0 lead before Power settled down to a match that was marred by numerous let calls. The constant stopping and starting seemed to unnerve White who became increasingly frustrated during the match. Power won the first two games and held a narrow 12-11 lead in the third before White finally showed powered his way out of trouble and took the game.

The Scot started strongly in the fourth game and was leading 5-2, but the pair engaged in a series of disputes over lets which White clearly felt were called against him and Power was able to catch up to six-all and never lost the lead again. After 79 minutes, Power claimed his 15-11 15-7 12-15 15-10 win.

Power said afterwards: "I guess it was a very physical match. He's a big guy and always stretching so it's hard to find space. We were both looking for the same angles and it came down to tactics rather than fitness." Power's parents were at courtside watching him in action in a major tournament for the first time in several years.

When asked about his prospects in the semi final against Palmer, he said he was expecting another tough match and hoped the conditions would be the same as this evening. He commented that his match the previous evening had been almost unbearable because of the high humidity.



Video highlights from a
Palmer v Power Classic

More photos

Matthew takes out the
World Champion

Beachill gets past
Kneipp this time

Four number ones battle
for one place in the final

More photos


17-Mar, Round One:
Lincou the only casualty as
White & Palmer squeeze through

The main draw action got under way on the glass court at Bermuda High School on Wednesday, with the first match on court producing a sensational upset as Nick Matthew ousted top seed Thierry Lincou in five games.

Top seed sent crashing  from the Royal Gazette
"Yeah, it's not quite sunk in yet cause it was such a long match and tough. He was number one only last month and he is the top seed for this tournament so it's my best-ever win. I'm pretty pleased," declared a clearly jubilant Matthew

Lincou was the only seed to fall, but former world champion and Bermuda resident David Palmer struggled to overcome qualifier Olli Tuominen and five, and world number one John White found himself 2-0 down against world junior champion James Willstrop before recovering to reach the semi-finals.

Bermuda's local interest ended as wildcard Nick Kyme went down fighting to world number two and tournament favourite Peter Nicol.

Kyme in the Spotlight  from the Royal Gazette
"I was so nervous it was ridiculous," said Kyme after his 15-9, 15-11, 15-10 defeat which included some crowd-pleasing moments, not the least of which was an athletic splits followed by a bow to the main gallery. "But once I hit the ball hard a couple of times I felt much better. I know he had another level, but against Peter you have to earn every point and I'm pretty happy that I hit a few winners.

Round One:
Nick Matthew
(Eng) bt [1] Thierry Lincou (Fra) 
     15/11, 11/15, 15/11, 13/15, 15/7 (90m)
[5] Amr Shabana (Egy) bt Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
      15/6, 14/15, 15/13, 15/11 (65m)
[4] Lee Beachill (Eng) bt [Q] Graham Ryding (Can)
      15/13, 15/8, 14/15, 15/7 (75m)
[8] Joe Kneipp (Aus) bt [Q] Adrian Grant (Eng)
      15/7, 15/10, 15/10 (55m)
[7] Jonathon Power (Can) bt [Q] Mark Chaloner
     15/3, 15/9, 15/8 (69m)
[3] John White (Sco) bt James Willstrop (Eng)
     13/15, 10/15, 15/12, 15/6, 15/9 (82m)
[6] David Palmer (Aus) bt [Q] Qlli Tuominen (Fin)
     9/15, 15/9, 15/12, 12/15, 15/9 (81m)
[2] Peter Nicol (Eng) bt Nicholas Kyme (Ber)
      15/9, 15/11, 15/10 (35m)


Kyme's Moment of Truth
Dan Rutstein reports in the Royal Gazette:
“The butterflies are getting bigger, I think they are having babies,” said an increasingly anxious Nick Kyme, whose career will reach a pinnacle at around 8.30 p.m.

The Bermudian takes to the showcourt tonight to take on former world number one and tournament favourite Peter Nicol, the man who annihilated him for the loss of just a single point, albeit the first one, at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

“I really want the crowd to get behind me,” said Kyme, who is spending the day “trying to avoid getting too nervous”.
“I want people to scream and shout and give me all the support they can – I am going to need it. “This is an enormous game for me and I want to make the most of it.”

But Nicol, a native of Aberdeen in Scotland but now based in London, believes there will be no repeat of the Manchester humiliation.

“I am two years older, he has two years more experience, there is a different scoring system and he is playing in front of his home crowd,” said Nicol, who with his long hair looks more like a rock star than the world’s in-form squash player.

“Playing Nick is a tricky one. Do I really know that much about how he plays? Do I relax and take it easy because of his ranking? Do I play to the crowd a little bit? No, I go out there and be professional and win.”   Full Story


More photos


end of the line for Kyme

Lincou loses out in first round

Grant can't repeat his heroics

Shabana beats Beng Hee

More photos


Qualifying complete

Qualifying Finals
(Tue 16th):

Graham Ryding (Can) bt  Peter Barker (Eng)
     15-11, 15-14, 15-5
Olli Tuominen (Fin) bt Ben Garner (Eng) 
     4-15, 15-11, 15-5, 15-9
Adrian Grant (Eng) bt Dan Jensen (Aus) 
     12-15, 13-15, 15-14, 15-5, 15-6
Mark Chaloner (Eng) bt Paul Price (Aus) 
     13-15, 15-8, 17-15, 15-7

All the local Bermudian players predictably departed in the first round of qualifying, leaving Tuesday's qualifying finals to a set of players many tournament organisers would be proud to have as their main attractions.

Such is the quality of the draw here, and such the state of flux in the men's rankings, that quarter-finals such as Jonathon Power v John White and Peter Nicol v David Palmer are possibilities, and qualifying matches such as Mark Chaloner v Paul Price, both recent top-ten regulars, a reality.

Canada's Graham Ryding set up a first round clash with Lee Beachill with a 3-0 win over Peter Barker, and Finland's perennial qualifier Olli Tuominen also beat English opposition, recovering from a poor first game against Ben Garner. Tuominen faces Bermuda resident David Palmer in today's first round.

The second pair of qualifying finals produced success for English players, but at 2-0 down to Dan Jenson it looked for a while that Adrian Grant wasn't going to make it. PSA President Mark Chaloner is impressed with Bermuda (see story below), and earned himself a longer stay with a hard-fought victory over Paul Price.

Grant plays another Australian, Joe Kneipp, in the first round, while Chaloner faces Jonathon Power. 

Dan Rutstein reports in the Royal Gazette:
It was only when he was two games and 14-11 down that Adrian Grant really started playing squash effectively.

“I just wasn’t hitting to length,” said Grant, whose high ranking normally earns him an automatic place in tournament main draws.

“But when it got to the stage that I was facing match balls, I realised I had to do that. Dan is a great squash player and if you put it on his racquet he will make you pay.
“I was just hitting the ball about an inch short all the time and he was making me suffer. But once I got the depth right, things came together.” 

Full Story

World's Best head for Bermuda
Howard Harding previews the Open

A star-studded field, led by eight of the world's top ten players, will
compete in the inaugural five-star Bermuda Open Squash Championship which is being held in the tiny city of Hamilton from 17-20 March.

Young Bermudian professional Nicholas Kyme, ranked 92 in the world, will have an ideal opportunity to test his mettle after being drawn to meet England's world No3 Peter Nicol in the first round of the $56,000 event which is presented by Logic & Hewlett-Packard, and hosted by Endurance.

Bermudians will no doubt support their rising young star, but wild card entry Kyme would face a daunting task against any of his fellow competitors in a tournament where the lowest-ranked player in the main draw is world No14 Ong Beng Hee, the former world junior champion from Malaysia! Even the cut off for qualifiers is 38 in the world.

Top seed Thierry Lincou, who became France's first ever world No1 in January, will face off against England's new world top ten debutant Nick Matthew, while Egypt's newly-crowned world champion Amr Shabana is drawn against Ong Beng Hee.

Perhaps the toughest first round match will be the battle between Scotland's new world No1 John White and the in-form James Willstrop. The 20-year-old reigning world junior champion from England caused a major upset in January's Kuwait Open when he beat White en-route to his first major final. The Scot, however, claimed his revenge last month, beating Willstrop in the quarter-finals of the Tournament of Champions in New York. White went on to reach his first ToC final, but the victory ensured that he would become world No1 for the first time in his career.

England's Lee Beachill, the Qatar Classic champion who is now ranked four in the world, takes on a qualifier in the first round, as does former world No1 Jonathan Power, the Canadian who is the most successful north American squash player of all-time. Australians Joseph Kneipp and Bermuda-based David Palmer are also drawn against qualifiers.

Gawain Briars, Executive Director of the PSA, and Robert Edwards, PSA World Tour Technical Director, recently completed a site visit of the tournament venue and expressed their delight with preparations made by the Bermuda Open organisers at a press conference held under swaying palm trees at the city's Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel. Bermuda is anxious to prove that it is an ideal location for premier squash, and is already looking at ways of enhancing the tournament in future years.

Tournament Director Ross Triffitt added: "The key to success in any tournament is obtaining the support of sponsors and the Bermuda Squash Rackets Association has been fortunate in obtaining tremendous support from Bermuda's business community and the Bermuda Department of Tourism. In addition to Logic & HP, and Endurance, these include the Department of Tourism, The Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel, The ACE Group of Companies, Capital G, Miles Market and the HWP Group."

Chaloner Impressed
PSA President Mark Chaloner talks to
the Royal Gazette's Dan Rutstein

“People are going to see some of the fittest and most unbelievably athletic sportsmen compete in some wonderful games of squash this week,” said Chaloner, a 31-year-old who has visited the Island three times before including a first round defeat to this year's number eight seed Joseph Kneipp in last year's Logic Open exhibition tournament.

“Anyone who has any sporting background or sporting knowledge is going to be thoroughly entertained. Squash at this level is a game that can really grab the attention and I think people are going to be amazed by what they see.

“It is an incredible venue and I think it will provide a superb atmosphere for squash.”

Chaloner, who arrived on the Island on Friday, is one of an increasing number of top players in the sport who believes Bermuda provides the perfect venue for this kind of event - and even larger ones.

“Bermuda is a very popular stop among the players,” he continued.
“We get looked after very well here and the people are so friendly. The hospitality is amazing and everyone feels very welcome.
“But it is also a very relaxing place. When you go to some places, like Hong Kong, everything is an effort because there are so many people and everything there is so frenetic.

“Every player looks to prepare for tournaments in different ways, but the aim is not to do anything too tiring and some places, like big cities, are just tiring in themselves. You find yourself just seeing a hotel, a venue and the journey in between, nothing more.

“But Bermuda is a beautiful place and it seems like an easy place to relax.”

Although the top players seem to be sticking to the courts to help with their preparation, a number of the qualifiers seem to be taking a little bit more time to see the Island, with fishing, golf and visits to various Front Street nightspots, albeit just to drink fruit punch, among the activities being undertaken by the visiting sportsmen.

Bermuda's enthusiasm for the event has impressed Chaloner, who believes the commitment being shown by tournament volunteers is one of the reasons that the sport is growing so quickly here.

“I went down to look at the new court and there must have been 30 guys down there, all volunteers with a passion for squash, carrying around seating and various other things for the venue and they were drenched in sweat,” he added.

“But everyone had a smile and seemed to be really keen to get the tournament running and running as well as it could.

“It is that attitude that is going to go a long way to impressing visitors and with people like Ross (Triffitt, tournament director) at the helm, it is no surprise a tournament of this size is being held.”

Full story from the Royal Gazette
Stout Takes Centre Stage

Mark Chaloner

PSA confirms live
streaming from Bermuda

The PSA is continuing with a further web streaming pilot scheme to bring live action from this week's Bermuda Open Squash Championship to squash fans all over the world.

The inaugural five star Bermuda Open will take place in the island's city of Hamilton, from 17-20 March, and has attracted a star-studded field featuring eight of the world's top ten players.

The Bermuda web streaming pilot, produced by the PSA in conjunction with Horizon Software, follows the first test at the Tournament of Champions in New York in February.

Viewers logging on will be able to watch the action between the world's best professional players, live as it happens.

"The PSA is once again underwriting this further pilot, on behalf of squash enthusiasts worldwide," said Chief Executive Gawain Briars. "Despite the teething problems we experienced in New York, we received much positive feedback from the initiative. It demonstrated that this is a facility that we believe the majority of fans would like to see us develop."

The PSA urges viewers to be patient at this early stage in the system's development. "We are backing this initiative with our limited reserves," Briars points out. "No other Association is currently taking on development of this level of technology, so we are leading the whole game forward."

Live streaming is scheduled to begin from Bermuda from the first round from Wednesday.

"We also look forward to constructive and helpful comments from our fans," added Briars.

Women join in the Bermudian fun
Dan Rutstein reports in the Royal Gazette
The Bermuda Squash Open, which will see a stellar field compete for more than $50,000 in prize money, will also stage an exhibition match featuring two of the world’s top females.

Aussie superstar Sarah Fitz-Gerald, a five times world champion who beat Lleyton Hewitt and swimming star Ian Thorpe to the coveted Australian Athlete of the Year title in 2002, will take on Scottish champion Pamela Nimmo on finals day of the event.

Fitz-Gerald, from Melbourne, is also a Commonwealth gold medallist and winner of 61 women’s tour events. The 35-year-old has also been involved in the administration of the women’s game and is regarded as one of the top four players in her sport’s history.

Ensuring that the world-class tournament doesn’t outgrow its community roots, organisers have set aside 78 tickets for Bermudian girls to watch both the exhibition match and the showpiece men’s final.

The ‘Partner Re Girl’s Day’ exhibition match is the culmination of Children’s Health Week being organised by the BSRA to run alongside the Bermuda Open.

“This is a programme specially designed to promote a healthy lifestyle to young people, and introduce them to squash,” said tournament director Ross Triffit.

“We have a very successful junior squash programme and some excellent young girls, but if we want to be a dominant force in the Caribbean as we are in men’s squash then we need a larger pool of girls to get involved in our sport.”

As well as the exhibition match, the two top ladies are holding a coaching clinic on the Monday after the Open when they will explain to possible Bermudian squash stars of the future about their training and diet and how to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Kyme feels the pressure
Dan Rutstein reports in the Royal Gazette
With two weeks to go before a world class squash field descends on the Island, Bermuda champion Nick Kyme is already feeling the pressure.

Kyme, now ranked 92nd in the world following his Fast Forward Freight National Championship win, knows expectations are high for his match-up with former world champion Peter Nicol in the first round of the Bermuda Squash Open.

The 23-year-old will carry the nation's hopes into the $56,000 tournament's main draw after being given a wild card on appeal to the Professional Squash Association (PSA).

But despite breezing to domestic honours over fellow professional James Stout last week, Kyme admits he could face potential embarrassment at the hands of Nicol, who has reigned supreme over the sport globally for five years, and who defeated him with the loss of just a point at the last Commonwealth Games.

"This is going to be a tough, tough match for me," said Kyme, whose wild card award came after former golf pro and Senator Kim Swan and former world champion Dave Palmer among others backed his corner.

"This guy is a world-class player and has the potential to make me look silly. People who have seen me play in Bermuda before will see this guy and think he is playing the sport at another level.

"But I know the pressure is on me. A lot of people came up to bat for me when it came to arguing for me to get a wild card place and if I get swept off the court, the PSA are going to say 'I told you so'.

"That will probably mean no more wild cards for Bermudians in the future – so there is a huge amount of pressure on me to perform."

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Nick Kyme
photo from Bermuda Squash


Bermuda prepares:
a touch of Glass

Jonathan Kent reports in the Royal Gazette
BERMUDA is about to host one of the highest-class sporting events in its history in perhaps the most remarkable sporting venue the island has ever seen.

Next month's Bermuda Open squash tournament will almost certainly be the first time that the top ten athletes in any sport have come here to compete in a top-drawer tournament.

To see some of the world's most highly conditioned male athletes slug it out should be enough to whet the appetite of sports fans. If an added attraction were needed, it's that spectators will be offered levels of comfort hitherto unseen for island sports fans.

The story of how a tiny island boasting a total of four squash courts and a few hundred amateur players has come to be hosting one of the top eight events on the international squash calendar is one of a vision turned into reality through extraordinary hard work, dedication and unerring faith in the project.

The key man in making it all happen is the Bermuda Squash Racquets Association (BSRA) director of squash, Ross Triffitt, who is also the tournament director.

Full story from the Royal Gazette

Edwards promises to
"Blow Bermuda Away"

"I want people to come to the Bermuda Open and say 'I was entertained – I saw something today that I have never seen before," said PSA Technical Director Robert Edwards on a visit to Bermuda to prepare for the forthcoming Open.

"They (organisers) will give me a building (the Bermuda High School gym) which is basically four square walls. It is my job to turn that into a room of magic. I have got to stop you in your tracks and knock you over. And I will do it – I have never failed.

"From a Bermudian point of view it will be great for your tourism industry. Bermuda always needs publicity and you will get it with our show from Bermuda – we will show off the island. You will have about 375 million viewers all across the world. It will be spectacular – it has to be because TV will not take it if it is ordinary. You can't bore people. We do it big – after all this is entertainment. What we do is severe – it is a shock and a burst of energy. We did the World Open for India and half a billion people watched it.

"My role at the PSA is to travel the world putting on the major shows. I fly in wherever and work with the existing team. And in Bermuda's case they have really done a good job. I have been very impressed with the organisation here. But I will try and turn it into what you understand of squash to what we understand of squash. This is going to be the first event in your history where the world's top 20 plus players will compete here."

Full story from the Royal Gazette

Kyme relishes a third shot at Nicol
The draw for March's $55k Bermuda Open features all the world's top players - unsurprising given the prize money and the setting.

Local wildcard Nicholas Kyme has been handed a match against Peter Nicol, but the 23-year-old Bermudan, who has just turned professional, is not fazed by facing the man who has dominated the top of the world rankings for five years - he's played him before!

The last time they met – at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester – Nicol sent his opponent packing briskly, 9-1, 9-0, 9-0, surrendering only the first point of that match.

"Last time we were in England on his home turf," Kyme told Gayle Alleyne of the Royal Gazette. "Hopefully, this time I won't be anywhere near as nervous as I was back then and, hopefully, with the crowd support and being at home, it will make a huge difference.

"Tactics-wise I'll have the same plan but I'm a different player from two years ago and I think I'll be able to pull off more magic," said an optimistic Kyme.

"There's no-one in the top eight who is a pushover but if I had to pick someone I'd probably have picked Peter. He is a very nice guy but he'll never give me anything so I know if I walk out with anything I've earned it. I'm looking forward to it actually."

Full story from the Royal Gazette

Spotlight on Bermuda as
World's best prepare for Open

Spread across the pages of sports magazines and internet sites, the Bermuda Open, which has Logic Communications, Hewlett Packard and Endurance as its three principle sponsors, is gaining widespread attention and in the words of current world champion and Bermuda resident David Palmer, is "one of the most exciting tournaments to hit the world tour in years". Full story from the Royal Gazette

Bermuda Open to be
Launched in 2004

Bermuda will provide an idyllic setting for world class squash next year when the Bermuda Squash Racquets Association hosts The Bermuda Open 2004 from 15-20 March. The event, presented by Logic and HP, will attract a star-studded line-up of the world's top professional players and has been fully sanctioned by the Professional Squash Association (PSA) as a five-star tournament.

Tournament Director Ross Triffitt enthused: "Even at this early stage the world's leading players have shown great interest in participating in the 16-man tournament, with 11 places going to the world's best, one place being reserved as a wild card entry, and an additional four places chosen from the 16-man qualifying tournament."

The Tournament will be televised with a potential viewing audience of 375 million through Fox Sports and other sports networks.

Bermuda has been hosting international squash tournaments since 1969 and claims to have hosted the first "softball" tournament ever held on the western side of the Atlantic, but the 2004 Bermuda Open is far more ambitious than any of the Island's previous ventures. Although the qualifying matches will be held at the BSRA's Devonshire courts, the main tournament will take place in the tiny capital city of Hamilton on a specially-imported all-glass court, together with theatre-style seating.

In addition to the PSA five-star tournament, a host of other activities will be available to the international visitor. The professional men's event will run concurrently with an amateur tournament, the Bermuda Open Graded Championships. This tournament will provide players of all standards from all over the world the opportunity to compete in the event. Prior to the squash competition, coaching clinics by world champion coaches Mike Way and Shaun Moxham will be available for players wanting to improve their game. The physical activities will be accompanied by Bermuda's famous hospitality with many social activities on offer throughout the event.

"This is a major event for the small Island of Bermuda, with a total population of just under 65,000, located 700 miles off the eastern coast of the US," Triffitt added. "Bermuda is one of the world's premier tourist destinations, with its magnificent pink beaches, pastel coloured houses and snow white roofs (despite snow being unheard of on this Island paradise!), numerous golf courses, and its long history as a British colony. Hamilton is a thriving centre for International business, and believe it or not, well dressed businessmen do walk the streets wearing Bermuda shorts."

2003 has been a banner year for squash in Bermuda, with the Bermuda Men's Team sweeping all before them in the recent Caribbean Squash Championships. The team was unbeaten in team competition, and both of the finalists in the men's singles were from Bermuda.

An event of this magnitude would be impossible without generous local and international sponsorship. BSRA President Stephen Young commented: "We have been very fortunate indeed to have secured sufficient sponsorship to guarantee the event thanks to the support of presenting sponsors Logic and Hewlett Packard, Endurance as host sponsor and additional sponsorship from our primary sponsors, Bermuda Department of Tourism and the Fairmont Hamilton Princess.

"We are looking forward to an exciting tournament and have plans to expose our own youngsters and our local community to squash at the highest level."

PSA Chief Executive Gawain Briars added: "After initial soundings through PSA President Mark Chaloner, David Palmer and Shaun Moxham, I am delighted that Bermuda has taken the brave step of promoting a new five star PSA tournament, the Bermuda Open, in March 2004.

"The event organiser, Ross Triffitt, and his team on the island have applied themselves in the most professional manner in relation to their forward planning for the event; and I am confident that they will deliver a first class major new addition to the growing PSA world tour.

"Whilst the famous island's attractions are obvious to all, this will be a first for them in bringing PSA's top guns to compete for world ranking points, and I am sure Bermuda's industry and commitment will be well rewarded when our players demonstrate that it is only in PSA events that the requirement for 100% effort in competition is a must.

"PSA thanks Ross and the Bermuda Squash Rackets Association, together with their President Stephen Young, for this commitment and we also gratefully acknowledge the support provided at this early stage of their presenting sponsors Logic and Hewlett Packard as well host sponsor Endurance, together with the Bermuda Department of Tourism and the Fairmont Hamilton Princess."