Title holder Ramy Ashour is on a semi-final collision course with Britain’s two-time champion after today’s draw for the $275,000 AJ Bell World Squash Championship in Manchester.
But Ashour, bidding for a third world crown in five years, insists: “The draw will not decide whether you are going to win the World Open.”
However, while Matthew, British number one and world number four, faces a qualifier in his first match, Ashour must tackle dangerous Dutchman, Laurens Jan Anjema, in his opening game.
“It is important but the draw is not the main thing that will make you win or lose, ” added Ashour.
“I will still go on court and no matter who I face I will play as best as I can.”
Anjema is a former top 16 player and has fallen only to number 18 in the recent Dunlop PSA world rankings.
“Most players are eager to get in the top 10 and I don’t think there is a big gap between the top 10 players and the top 20 players, ” added Ashour.
“All are pretty close and anything can happen on court.”
World number one Ashour, unbeaten since losing to Matthew in last season’s British Open final-a run of 41 games and eight tournaments, says of a potential meeting with Matthew: “Nick is a great athlete and a great person.
“He deserves to have a bigger profile in the UK; the same too for James Willstrop. They put so much effort into their game and into raising Britain’s flag everywhere in the world it is something exceptional.”
Willstrop, runner-up in 2010 and seeded three, also tackles a qualifier in his first game. But the Yorkshire star is in a tough section which could see him face Spaniard Borja Golan in the last 16 and Mohamed El Shorbagy, the 2012 runner-up, in the quarter-finals.
Chelmsford’s Ben Coleman, the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card event, didn’t get his wish to meet four-time champion, Amr Shabana, on his AJ Bell World Championship debut. Instead, the British Under 23 champion was handed an opening encounter with compatriot Tom Richards, the world number 22.
The draw was made by officials representing stakeholders; Manchester City Council, England Squash & Racketball and UK Sport. “It’s a great draw and should provide interest in every round,” said Lee Beachill, chief operating officer of the Professional Squash Association. “We can’t wait for the action to start now.”
The draw for the first round of the AJ Bell World Squash Championship is:
Ramy Ashour (Egy) v Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
Qualifier v Alan Clyne (Sco)
Mohammed Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas) v Mazen Hesham (Egy)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) v Cameron Pilley (Aus)
Alister Walker (Bot) v Qualifier
Joe Lee (Eng) v Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
Qualifier v Henrik Mustonen (Fin)
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) v Peter Barker (Eng)
Amr Shabana (Egy) v Adrian Grant (Eng)
Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy) v Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
Qualifier v Leo Au (HKG)
Gregoire Marche (Fra) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
Omar Mosaad (Egy) v Chris Gordon (USA)
On Beng Hee (Mas) v Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng) v Max Lee (HKG)
Qualifier v Nick Matthew (Eng)
James Willstrop (Eng) v Qualifier
Ben Coleman (Eng) v Tom Richards (Eng)
Qualifier v Shawn Delierre (Can)
Chris Simpson (Eng) v Borja Golan (Esp)
Simon Rosner (Ger) v Qualifier
Qualifier v Abdullah Al Muzayen (Kuw)
Julian Illingworth (USA) v Omar Abdel Aziz (Egy)
Adrian Waller (Eng) v Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
Karim Darwish (Egy) v Qualifier
Qualifier v Olli Tuominen (Fin)
Qualifier v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
Qualifier v Daryl Selby (Eng)
Tarek Momen (Egy) v Qualifier
Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy) v Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
Qualifier v Mohammed Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
Qualifier v Gregory Gaultier (Fra)
The 2013 AJ Bell World Squash Championship takes place from October 26 to November 3 and forms part of UK Sport’s Gold Events series. Tickets are now available from Ticketmaster by ringing 0844 847 2508 or visitingwww.AJBellworldsquashchamps.co.uk
For more information contact – firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)161 850 0012
AJ Bell World Squash Championship: 26th October to 3rd November 2013
This will be the second time Manchester has played host to the event; the first being during the World Sport 2008 series of events that were a legacy from the Commonwealth Games in 2002.
The heat stage of the event will be held at the National Squash Centre, Sport City with the final weekend at Manchester Central. Tickets are now on sale phone 0844 847 2508 or visit the website at www.AJBellworldsquashchamps.co.uk
AJ Bell was formed in 1995 and is one of the largest providers of low cost, online investment platforms and stockbroker services in the UK, with assets under administration exceeding £19.3 billion and more than 78,000 clients.
AJ Bell is owned by its management team and two institutional investors in Invesco Perpetual and Miton Group plc.
AJ Bell’s customer proposition – Market leading, low cost, transparent, service, value, choice, leading functionality, integrity, award winning.
AJ Bell’s business – Helps people to invest, market leaders, growing, innovative, profitable, don’t provide advice or investment management.
Manchester continues to strengthen its impressive reputation for attracting major international sports championships. In 2012, the City was named 5th in the Ultimate Sports City List, and No.1 city with a population of under one million. In 2013 Manchester will host several major sports events, including the Men’s World Squash Championship, the Rugby League World Cup Final, NBA Europe Live and the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup. These events raise the city’s global sporting profile, whilst bringing long-term social and economic benefits to Manchester and its residents. The City’s excellent range of accessible sports venues and facilities, combined with its school and community sports development programmes, provide the springboard for Manchester’s sporting stars of the future.
Visit www.manchester.gov.uk/sportsevents for more information.
England Squash & Racketball is the national governing body, responsible for the development and promotion from grass roots to elite performance. Nearly 500,000 people play squash on a regular basis and ESR promotes squash and racketball with national campaigns around the country, junior development and also leading international tournaments such as the British Junior Open, British Open and PSA World Men’s Championship in 2013. Sport can make lives better for individuals, families and whole communities and through the Squash and Racketball Foundation, there is the chance to play squash and racketball at the heart of their community.
The Big Hit is a national campaign by England Squash & Racketball running throughout 2013 to encourage more people to get involved and play squash and racketball both for fun and fitness.
The Big Hit Tour visits 10 cities across the year including Manchester, Birmingham and London giving you the chance to try squash and racketball for free. Thebighit.net website is the place to go to find your nearest session and get all of the latest news and special offers.
UK Sport’s Gold Event Series distributes approximately £5 million of Lottery funding each year to support the bidding and staging costs of major events on home soil, as well as providing specialist support to organisers. Events are supported for their likely performance impact, but also to maximise the wider sporting, social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits.
The Gold Event Series will aim to bring over 70 of the world’s most prestigious sporting events to the UK, including 36 World and European Championships. This ambitious programme will support British athletes’ preparation and qualification for Rio 2016, while generating approximately £287 million of additional expenditure in host cities and regions and bringing over 250,000 overseas visitors to the UK. Events already secured include 2017 World Athletics Championships and 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. More @ www.uksport.gov.uk/events
The Professional Squash Association (PSA) promotes the interests of men’s professional squash globally. The PSA’s aim is to advance the game by ensuring that the PSA World Tour is the ultimate showcase of the sport’s pinnacle events. The PSA have over 500 members worldwide and stage more than 120 events across five continents. The PSA’s vision is that squash is recognised as the most athletic, demanding and exciting racket sport in the world.
Squash TV is the PSA’s online squash channel broadcasting over 300 live matches in 2012.
Watch PSA squash Live on the Internet: www.psasquashtv.com