Power Retirement Leads To Bermuda PSA Masters Redraw
The shock of squash world number one Jonathon Power's retirement announcement last week was felt nowhere more strongly than in Bermuda where he would have been No1 seed in this year’s Virtual Spectator Bermuda PSA Masters 2006, scheduled to be played from 2-8 April at the BHS Jesse Vesey Sports Centre in Hamilton.
Tournament Director Ross Triffitt said: "This did cause quite a problem for us and the PSA because Jonathon, the defending champion, had not officially withdrawn from our tournament until Monday of this week, and as top seed it meant the whole draw would have to be re-done. We were naturally disappointed to hear that Jonathon had retired because he has been one of the most exciting players on the professional circuit, but he leaves at a time when there is an abundance of exceptionally talented players at the top."
The Professional Squash Association (PSA) swung into action this week, adjusting the seedings and finalising the new draw. The new No1 seed is the current World Open Champion, Amr Shabana of Egypt, who is on brilliant form at the moment, and the No2 seed is Anthony Ricketts of Australia, winner of last year’s British Open. Both of these players will be hard to beat, but will be hard pressed by a world-class field all eager to take the title.
Under normal circumstances the replacement for Power would automatically be the world No32 player because all those above him are already in the tournament, but that position is held by England's former Bermuda Open and former World Junior champion, Simon Parke, who is committed to compete in the Irish Open - as are Renan Lavigne and Davide Bianchetti, the players next in line. The newly-available place in the draw will now go to Australia's Dan Jenson, a former world No4.
Tournament organisers in Bermuda had been delighted with the original draw which saw local qualifier, Nick Kyme world No71, facing Bermuda-based Australian, David Palmer, now the third seed, who is also the current No1 ranked player as of the March PSA rankings. Palmer enjoys a tremendous following on the Island, and by complete coincidence these two have been drawn against each other again, so Bermudian squash fans will get to cheer both of their favourite players, and even if Palmer manages to squeeze past Kyme he will still be guaranteed ardent support from the “vocal locals” as he progresses through the tournament.
Triffitt added: “Despite the retirement of the greatest player ever from North America, we still have a tremendous wealth of superb players competing in the Virtual Spectator Bermuda Masters 2006. We look forward to a spectacular feast of squash next month.”
Revised 1st round draw:
 Amr Shabana (EGY) v Joey Barrington (ENG)
 John White (SCO) v Mohammed Abbas (EGY)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Shahier Razik (CAN)
 Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Graham Ryding (CAN)
 Thierry Lincou (FRA) v Adrian Grant (ENG)
 Stewart Boswell (AUS) v Bradley Ball (ENG)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Alex Gough (WAL)
 Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v Peter Barker (ENG)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v Mansoor Zaman (PAK)
 Peter Nicol (ENG) v Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
 Shahid Zaman (PAK) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
 David Palmer (AUS) v Nicholas Kyme (BER)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Joseph Kneipp (AUS)
 Lee Beachill (ENG) v Dan Jenson (AUS)
 Ong Beng Hee (MAS) v Wael El Hindi (EGY)
 Anthony Ricketts (AUS) v Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)